A major Chinese non-governmental friendship organization held a reception in Beijing Friday to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France.
Chen Haosu, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), said the two countries have a long history of friendly exchanges, and people of the two sides created brilliant cultures and made active contributions to humankind.
He said that in 2003, Sino-French relations achieved remarkable results, which is also an outcome of the overall development of bilateral relations. Last April, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin visited China as scheduled though China was still fighting severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). His visit showed the understanding and support of French people for China, Chen said.
The China culture year, a year-long show of Chinese culture in France, was successfully launched in Paris last October, he said, adding that it is China's largest cultural exchange program in a foreign country.
He said the consolidation and development of the Sino-French relations had provided better chances for friendly exchanges. In the past year, the CPAFFC received a lot of French guests, and organized Chinese delegations to France. These contacts promoted the communication and cooperation between the two sides in the areas of politics, culture and trade, Chen said.
French Ambassador to China Jean-Pierre LAFON expressed the hope that the France and China will enhance bilateral ties and friendly economic and cultural exchanges in the future. He also hoped the two countries' communication in social fields, such as higher education, tourism and young people exchanges, will be strengthened and become a new focus of the overall bilateral relations.
(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2004)