Chinese ambassador sets priorities for further progress in ties with France

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China and France should work on three priorities for further development in bilateral relations in the new year, Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye said on Monday.

In an end-of-year message published on the embassy website, Lu said the two countries have deepened their comprehensive strategic partnership and played an exemplary role in China-West ties in the extraordinary year of 2020.

China and France have maintained close cooperation and moved forward hand in hand in the past year, which is reflected in four key areas, the ambassador said.

First, a higher level of mutual political trust. During the past year, the two heads of state have had many telephone conversations, during which they had in-depth exchanges and reached important consensus on the international situation, major hotspot issues and bilateral relations, he said.

"This has further strengthened mutual understanding and friendship, paved the way for the deepening of exchanges and cooperation between our two countries in various fields, and given it new impetus," said the ambassador.

Second, a new chapter in Sino-French friendship. The governments and people of the two countries have shown solidarity and mutual assistance in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have written together a magnificent new chapter in the Sino-French friendship, proving that it is by remaining united that we will win," he said.

Third, further advances in practical cooperation. The two countries have overcome the impacts of the pandemic and redoubled efforts to streamline the material transport channels, facilitate human mobility necessary for the resumption of economic activities and maintain the stability of industrial and supply chains, said the ambassador.

"The China-France High-level Economic and Financial Dialogue has achieved 42 practical cooperation results," he said, adding the two sides have witnessed steady progress in such cooperation fields as civilian nuclear energy, aviation, aerospace, agri-food, and that French companies actively participated in the 3rd China International Import Expo and achieved fruitful outcomes.

Fourth, new results in multilateral cooperation. China and France have maintained close communication and coordination on international cooperation against COVID-19, global governance reform, climate change and biodiversity conservation within such multilateral frameworks as the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Group of 20.

"Together, we sent out a strong signal to preserve multilateralism, reject unilateralism, support the WHO and strengthen international cooperation against COVID-19, which has been welcomed by the entire international community," he said.

The year of 2021 marks the beginning of a new stage in China's development, which will offer new development opportunities to Sino-French ties, said the ambassador, pledging to work on three priorities.

First, maintain the intensity of bilateral exchanges. "We will ensure, through flexible and diverse means, that the two heads of state and the different levels of our two countries maintain close and continuous communication and dialogue. We will also work to facilitate the mobility of people between our two countries," he said.

Second, explore opportunities for cooperation. The ambassador stressed that "we will strengthen the synergy between China's 14th Five-Year Plan and France' economic recovery plan and development strategy, and actively promote the implementation of major strategic and emblematic projects and the creation of new growth points for cooperation."

"With the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism in 2021, the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022 and the Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024, we will seize the opportunities to gradually relaunch exchanges and cooperation between our two countries in culture, tourism, sport, between local communities and in other fields," said Lu.

Third, demonstrate a sense of responsibility as major countries. The Chinese diplomat called for an enhancement of the guiding role of Sino-French relations to promote the evolution of a multipolar world and ensure that China-EU relations will overcome disruptions and maintain healthy and stable development momentum.

"A series of important meetings on global environmental governance will take place next year. We will work to deepen Sino-French cooperation in the field of climate change and biodiversity conservation and promote the reform of the global governance system to inject positive energies into this world full of uncertainties," he said. 

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