Macron's visit an important engine to restart China-France relations, to create new pattern for bilateral ties: Chinese Ambassador to France
Published: Apr 04, 2023 01:21 PM
China France Photo:VCG

China France Photo:VCG

In the face of profound international changes, the stalemate in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and an uneven global economic recovery after the pandemic, the upcoming visit of French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to China from Wednesday to Friday has drawn worldwide attention.

In an interview with the Nouvelles d'Europe, Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye noted that this visit sent out "a positive signal to the outside world that the two countries are closely cooperating in various fields and jointly responding to global crises, injecting new impetus into the development of China-France and China-EU comprehensive strategic partnerships in the new era."

"It's believed that President Macron's visit will become an important engine for restarting China-France relations in the post-pandemic era and create a new pattern for the development of China-French relations," Lu said.

At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron will pay a state visit to China from April 5 to 7. This is President Macron's third visit to China and the first in his second term. 

According to Lu, former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, President of the French Constitutional Council Laurent Fabius, several French ministers and members of parliament as well as more than 60 leaders of large enterprises and over 20 cultural representatives will reportedly accompany the President during his visit.

During the visit, leaders of two countries will hold talks on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern. The two sides will also hold a number of economic and cultural activities, Lu said.

He also pointed out that President Macron has a tradition of visiting other areas outside of Beijing during prior visits to China. 

The China-France and China-Europe relations have experienced some setbacks and difficulties over the past two years. Lu analyzed that there are three reasons for this.

"First, the US has escalated its containment of China and forced its European allies to take sides. Second, the EU's positioning of China has deviated, and certain individual EU countries and institutions have taken wrong actions on the Taiwan question and Xinjiang-related issues one after another, seriously damaging China's core interests. Third, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely hindered personnel exchanges, deepening estrangement and misunderstanding between the two sides," Lu said.

"But in fact, China and France, and China and Europe are separated from each other on the Eurasian continent, and there is no fundamental conflict of interest or contradiction between the two sides. Strengthening cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual trust conforms to the common interests of both sides and is also conducive to world peace and stability," he stressed.

Observers point out that while both China and France promote dialogue and peace talks to address the Ukrainian crisis, the position of both sides are not the same. Asked whether the two sides will find more common ground on the Ukraine crisis during President Macron's visit, Lu noted that both China and France are major countries with global influence and important forces for maintaining peace. 

"In the face of complex and profound changes in the international situation, the strategic value and special significance of China-France relations have been further highlighted… China is willing to communicate with France on the Ukrainian crisis, promote all relevant parties to seriously reflect on the profound lessons of the Ukrainian crisis, adhere to the correct direction of peace talks, and truly build a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture," Lu said.

During this visit, economy will also be an important focus. Lu said that both sides will sign a series of cooperation agreements to promote cooperation in aerospace, civil nuclear energy, agriculture, and to maintain stability of global industrial and supply chains. Both sides can create more cooperation highlights in emerging fields such as new energy and electric vehicle..

According to Lu, the scale of Chinese investment in France is much smaller than the scale of French investment in China. Chinese companies are willing to expand investment in France and make a contribution to boosting French economy and creating local jobs. He urged the French side to overcome the third-party influence and actively provide Chinese companies with an open, fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment, especially in the fields of telecommunications and high technology.

Meanwhile, China has huge market and will provide small and medium French enterprises with broad space for development. "We welcome French SMEs to actively invest and start businesses in China," he said. 

Over recent years, China-French economic and trade exchanges have maintained a good momentum of growth. The latest statistics from France showed that the bilateral trade in goods exceeded the 100 billion euro mark for the first time in 2022, reaching 101.8 billion euros, a year-on-year increase of 14.6 percent, showing strong continued momentum.

France was the first country to establish a third-party market cooperation mechanism with China. Currently, the two countries are implementing a number of important projects in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and other places, involving infrastructure construction, environmental protection, new energy and other fields. 

"President Macron's visit to China will further help the two countries expand third-party market cooperation, create more favorable conditions for enterprises of the two countries, and promote the implementation of more demonstration projects," Lu said.