Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao said the Chinese government is ready to take the opportunity of the 40th anniversary of establishment of Sino-French diplomatic ties to further boost comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
While meeting with French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin on Wednesday, Hu said Raffarin's visit to China in April last year, when China was fighting severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), showed the great importance the French government attached to Sino-French ties.
Raffarin said the courage by the Chinese people in battling SARS and maintaining the rapid economic development deserves great admiration.
The prime minister pointed out that the successful talks between Hu and French President Jacques Chirac, as well as the joint declaration signed by the two leaders, will guide the future development of Sino-French cooperation.
Hu said Sino-French trade and economic cooperation has great potential to be tapped. China is willing to continue its cooperation with France in the fields of energy, transportation and aviation, he said.
China and France also have great potential in agricultural cooperation, particularly in cultivating good breeds, raising the quality of agricultural products and promoting intensive processing, Hu noted.
He expressed the hope that the French government would help small and medium-sized enterprises to gain access to the Chinese market.
China attaches great importance to restructuring traditional industries by making use of high technologies, and hopes that the French side would take a more open attitude toward technology transfer, Hu added.
Raffarin agreed with Hu's suggestions, pledging that France will encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to go to China and seek business opportunities. The French enterprises are willing to play a more active role in China's economic development.
After the talks, Hu and Raffarin attended the signing ceremony of nine documents on bilateral cooperation. Raffarin later hosted a welcoming banquet in honor of Hu.
(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2004)