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French FM: Hu's Visit to Strangthen Paris-Beijing Ties

The upcoming state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to France will strongly mark the partnership between the two nations, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous said on Jan. 23.

"We do want to highlight the very special character of this visit, which coincides with the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China," he said.

Hu is to pay a visit to France from Jan. 26 to 29, accompanied by his wife and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Zhaoxing and Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng.

A wide range of issues will be discussed during the visit and a joint statement will be issued following meetings between Hu and his French counterpart Jacques Chirac on Monday, said Ladsous.

"The convergence between France and China has never been so strong. It is witnessed firstly in the political field on all major international issues," he said.

"The two nations have reinforced their political consultations in recent years, sharing attachment to the strengthening and renovation of the multilateral system," he said.

"France and China have marked their willingness to work together to meet the challenges of globalization. It was proved by the participation of President Hu at the Group of Eight summit in Evian" last June, said the spokesman.

"The two nations have also highlighted their determination to strengthen the relations between the European Union and China," he added.

However, the spokesman said that if the partnership has been particularly strong in political and cultural fields, more efforts are needed to promote economic and industrial cooperation.

On the referendum that Taiwan leader Chen Shuibian plans to launch on the island in March, the spokesman reiterated that France has always adhered to one-China policy.

"France opposes any unilateral act that will cast negative impact on the status quo across the Taiwan Straits," he said.

On Tuesday, Hu and Chirac, accompanied by their wives, will visit the exposition of Confucius at Guimet Museum and have a private diner in a restaurant in downtown Paris, said Ladsous.

The two couples will then visit the Eiffel Tower, one of the great symbols of France, which will be lavished with oriental decorations and lanterns for one week starting from Saturday evening and will host a series of Chinese cultural events.

Hu will deliver a speech at the National Assembly, lower house of the French parliament on Tuesday. He will also meet with French entrepreneurs and visit the headquarters of the Foundation of Charles de Gaulle before having a diner with French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

France does not propose a speech to the deputies to all visiting heads of state. The gesture is seen as a sign of the good terms of the Paris-Beijing ties.

(People's Daily January 24, 2004)

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