China-France ties strengthen

By Lu Shaye Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/1 18:43:40

Health cooperation ushers in new era for bilateral relations

Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye Photo: Courtesy of the Chinese Embassy in France

Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron jointly participated in the video conference of the 73rd Session of the World Health Organization's (WHO) World Health Assembly not long ago.

The two heads of state unanimously called for international cooperation to fight the pandemic and consistently affirmed the important role of the WHO, calling for more support for the world organization and saying a novel coronavirus vaccine should become a global public good. Both leaders made great contributions to the successful launch of the assembly and have sent out a joint voice promoting global resistance to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the face of the pandemic, China and France have once again joined hands to advocate the concept of multilateralism, and the special and exemplary nature of China-France cooperation has once again been strongly demonstrated.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, President Xi and President Macron have spoken on the phone three times, and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has spoken on the phone four times each with French President's Foreign Policy Advisor Emmanuel Bonne and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. Such frequent high-level communication is rare in China's interactions with other major countries.

The two sides have coordinated and maintained close communication on bilateral and international cooperation to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, and actively participated in the G20 moratorium of debt repayments for the world's poorest countries. 

China, France and African nations are actively exploring trilateral cooperation to help African countries improve their capacities to fight the pandemic. In today's international situation of great uncertainty, China and France, as permanent members of the UN Security Council and major responsible countries, have injected important positive energy into the international fight against COVID-19.

China and France, both at the center of the pandemic, immediately came to one another's aid. France provided three batches of medical supplies at the critical moment of China's fight against its epidemic. Many Chinese people were touched by a statement from Consul General for France in Wuhan Olivier Guyonvarch: "My place is here."

The Chinese government and the Chinese Embassy in France also provided several batches of medical supplies when the virus situation was severe in France. China fully supports France in building an "air bridge" to purchase urgently needed supplies from China, and will do its best to provide care and convenience. 

Local governments in the two countries, especially those of sister cities, have been helping one another. The business community has been collecting materials from all over the world. Ordinary people have instilled love and strength into the situation by donating money and materials, writing letters and recording videos showing China-France friendship and solidarity in the fight against the pandemic. 

They are vivid illustrations of the China-France relationship, "Unis nous vaincrons - united, we shall overcome."

The sudden outbreak has made us more aware of the importance and urgency of global public health security. China-France cooperation on emerging infectious diseases has always been a model of international health cooperation. The Wuhan P4 laboratory is the result of high-level cooperation in health research between the two countries. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, health cooperation between China and France has strengthened. Scientific institutions in the two countries have jointly developed rapid diagnostic reagents and are jointly developing drugs and vaccines. The Chinese Academy of Sciences has held exchanges and discussions with a number of French medical and scientific institutions, including the Merieux Foundation and the Pasteur Institute.

After months of hard struggle, China has won the battle against COVID-19, and France has also ushered in the dawn of victory. The pandemic has made us realize that the world is a community with a shared future, and solidarity and cooperation are key to tackling the crisis and overcoming challenges.

In the post-pandemic era, common tasks for China and France are transcending ideology, social systems and regional and cultural differences, continuing to adhere to multilateralism, improving global governance, and advancing the new type of globalization toward a more open, inclusive, reciprocal and well-balanced approach.

Wuhan has a deep bond with France. It is the Chinese city with the largest number of French people and the highest French investment density. It has been called the "most French Chinese city" by its French friends.

As a key project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), one of the important routes of the China-Europe freight trains connects Wuhan at one end and Lyon, France at the other - one of the terminuses of the ancient Silk Road.

The trains, which had been suspended due to the outbreak, have now resumed operations, with containers of medical supplies arriving in Lyon in April. We believe that through the test of the pandemic, the China-Europe freight trains and the BRI will roll forward, and China-France cooperation will enjoy even brighter prospects.

The author is the Chinese Ambassador to France

Posted in: ECONOMY

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