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        Beijing, Paris to forge stronger ties

        Xi notes key areas of progress, says nation ready to boost cooperation

        By Xu Wei in Paris | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-07 06:50
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        President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, arrive at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on Monday, with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, after a welcoming ceremony. FENG YONGBIN/CHINA DAILY

        President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the necessity for China and France to uphold independence and autonomy and jointly fend off a new Cold War or bloc confrontation, during talks with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

        The two sides should jointly uphold mutual benefits and oppose decoupling and the building of barriers, while sticking to farsightedness and promoting the equal and orderly multipolarization of the world, Xi told his host.

        During the talks, both leaders also sought to strengthen their partnership and enhance the shared response to global challenges.

        Before the talks, Macron hosted a pomp-filled welcoming ceremony for the Chinese president at Les Invalides, the French military museum, as the two leaders inspected a military band and the guard of honor.

        The landmark meeting in Paris came more than one year after Xi hosted Macron in Beijing and Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in a number of engagements that saw the two leaders strengthen their personal bonds and reaffirmed both nations' shared commitment to global peace and stability.

        Xi, in a signed article published on Monday in the French newspaper Le Figaro, underscored Beijing's readiness to work with Paris, in the spirit that guided the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations 60 years ago, to forge a stronger comprehensive strategic partnership.

        "Both China and France value independence as two major countries. Our interactions in the long course of history have released tremendous energy swaying the trajectory of the world," he wrote.

        Xi mentioned the key areas of progress secured in the bilateral ties over the past decades, including establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership, cooperation projects in aviation, nuclear energy and third-party markets, and the reaching of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

        "We live in a world that is far from being tranquil and is once again facing a multitude of risks," Xi wrote, highlighting the need to reinforce the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership in promoting the stronger cooperation of the global community.

        Meanwhile, Xi assured France that China, as the world's second-largest economy, will open even wider to the world and deepen cooperation with France and other countries.

        "One thing that has made China's development possible is our firm commitment to opening-up," Xi wrote.

        The president underscored that Beijing welcomes more quality French farm products and cosmetics to the Chinese market, adding that China invites more investment by companies from France and other countries.

        He explained that China has fully opened up its manufacturing sector and will move faster to expand market access to telecommunication, medical and other services.

        The president also mentioned the 15-day visa-exemption policy for visitors from many countries including France, as part of broader measures to facilitate travel and payment by foreigners in China.

        Xi also made the case for heightened bilateral cooperation on innovation and the joint promotion of green development.

        He emphasized that Beijing supports more investment in France by Chinese companies, while expressing the hope that France will ensure that they operate in a fair and equitable business environment.

        Xi arrived in Paris on Sunday, the start of a six-day trip to Europe — his first overseas tour this year — that will also include key engagements with the leaders of Serbia and Hungary.

        France is China's third-largest trading partner and third-largest source of actual investment within the European Union, while China is the European country's largest trading partner in Asia and the seventh-largest globally, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

        Official statistics showed that trade between the two nations reached $78.94 billion last year.

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