Macron’s China visit elevates ties with Beijing, boosts Multilateralism

The Successful three-day China visit by French President Emmanuel Macron has helped bring China-France relations to a new high, and given a new boost to multilateralism and free trade.

Macron once promised that he would travel to China once a year. His just wrapped-up visit is the latest example of the close and constant high-level exchanges and a display of strong political mutual trust between the two countries.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries. Over the decades, Beijing and Paris have seen growing political mutual trust and increasingly fruitful practical cooperation in such domains as nuclear energy, aerospace, artificial intelligence, finance and digital economy.

China-France relations have also been playing a pioneering role in international relations, and made many “firsts” in China’s relations with countries around the world. For example, France was the first Western power to forge diplomatic ties and establish a comprehensive strategic partnership with China. It is also among the first Western countries to work with China in civil nuclear activities.

The project of the No. 1 and No. 2 power units of the third generation Taishan Nuclear Power Plant is one result of such endeavour, and China’s successful issuance of 4 billion euro-denominated sovereign bonds in Paris, the largest issuance of foreign currency sovereign bonds China has made at a single time so far, is another.

During the visit, the two sides also issued a joint action plan to boost bilateral ties and cooperation in various fields, including promoting the synergy of the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative with the European Union’s Strategy on Connecting Europe and Asia, boosting two way trade and investment.

Both countries have also agreed to step up their cultural and people-to-people exchanges, which have been making continuous progress in recent years.

China and France boast rich cultural and historical inheritances. They have also made indelible contributions to the development of human civilisations. There is a lot for the two countries to learn from each other.

During his visit, Macron attended the inauguration of a new branch of the Centre Pompidou. And the two countries will also hold the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism in 2021.

As the world is undergoing changes unseen in a century, China & France, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, should strengthen strategic communication and shoulder more responsibilities as major countries of the international community.

During Macron’s stay in Shanghai, the speeches delivered respectively by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Macron at the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo on Tuesday have sent a strong message to the world about firmly safeguarding multilateralism and free trade, as well as building an open world economy.

Climate was also a major focus during Macron’s Beijing trip. Just days after the United States formally withdrew from the Paris Agreement, China and France on Wednesday released the Beijing Call for Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change, a joint proposal demonstrating the two sides’ firm support for the landmark treaty aimed at fighting climate change.

At their Wednesday meeting, President Xi pledged to President Macron that he will further advance the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership and keep the partnership at the forefront of major country relations.

At the start of the Cold War 55 years ago, then French President Charles de Gaulle decided to reach out to Beijing across the ideological entrenchment. The flourishing relationship and cooperation between the two countries in the following decades have proved Charles de Gaulle’s foresight.

Today, Beijing and Paris, with a shared determination to further tap their huge cooperation potential, will help redefine that pioneering spirit and set an example for major country relations.

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