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510 words - April 30, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
The year 2014 will mark the 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations and 10th anniversary of establishment of comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France.
At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, French President Francois Hollande paid a state visit to China from April 25 to 26. The 36-hour visit, a unusual duration for a state-level one, showed China and France's agreement to step up their partnership to a higher level with the signing of a dozen and more agreement documents ranging from technological innovation, environmental protection, urban sustainable development, culture, tourism, nuclear power, electricity, aviation, finance and insurance, to food safety.
Hailing a long history of friendship between the two nations, Mr. Hollande noted that France and China, both as responsible big nations, should work closer and step up dialogue, coordination and cooperation to address the worldwide challenges and improve global economic governance. On trade and economic issues, France appreciates China's support to Europe and Euro and will play a bigger role in promoting EU-China relationship, President Hollande said.
In an address at the closing ceremony of the China-France Business Forum, his counterpart Xi pledged that China is willing to invest in France and to import more French products. As a result, the Chinese leader also hoped France will contribute to relaxing EU restrictions on exporting high-tech products to China and pushing for reform of global economic governance, at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in particular.
Lastly, the Tibetan Parliament issued a statement on April 29 thanking Mr. Hollande for "raising the issue of Tibet" during his state visit; in a "frank and respectful manner", French diplomatic sources added. "We remain grateful to you for your support and sympathy for the struggle of the Tibetan people and we look forward to your continued cooperation in the future as well," the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile's Deputy Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel wrote in a letter to the French President.
DiploNews found difficult to interpret the short duration of President Hollande's visit, though China has become the second most powerful nation.
One might think this indicated France has some grievances against China, yet Mr. Hollande did not talk about it, at least publicly. The weak valuation of the Remnibi (the Chinese currency), the ceaseless wave of cyber-attacks against French institutions and companies that seem to be launched from the Chinese territory(1) or the differing viewpoints over what is fair competition in line with WTO's standards are some of the points of contention which might jeopardize the "comprehensive strategic partnership," or explain why President Hollande's visit was so brief. Diplomatic sources told DiploNews such explanations are irrelevant, and affirmed the bilateral relationship is good and growing between France and China.
(1) The last known major and most disruptive cyber-attack occurred when François Hollande was elected President of France one year ago. A number of security sources claimed the attack targeted the network of the Elysée, the French Presidency, and was allegedly carried out by the United States.
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