We need to replace confrontation and conflict with peace: former French prime minister
Published: Jul 06, 2024 10:08 PM
Former French Prime Minister Dominique De Villepin Photo: Su Yaxuan/GT

Former French Prime Minister Dominique De Villepin Photo: Su Yaxuan/GT

“Because of the insecurity of the world, the movement of ‘derisking’ might continue. One of the important factors we should have in mind is the fact that the political input may create a situation, not only of tension, but of partition of globalization,” former French prime minister Dominique De Villepin told the Global Times at a press conference. We hope to live in a "more stable and secure world," he said.

The opening ceremony of the 12th World Peace Forum (WPF) was held at Tsinghua University on Saturday. The theme of this year's WPF is "Improving Global Security Governance: Justice, Unity, and Cooperation."

“One of the biggest difficulties for the world today is to show that there is an alternative to confrontation. This has to be shown concerning peace," De Villepin said. 

He noted that all the crises facing the world today are deadly. If wars continue to escalate, they could become global wars, which could bring destructive risks to the entire planet. The urgent task is to resolve, predict, and control various crises, such as the Ukraine crisis, the Gaza crisis, and so on. He urged at the opening ceremony to maintain our reputation by avoiding double standards in dealing with the Gaza crisis.

In addition to "peace," another word frequently referenced by De Villepin is "cooperation." When asked about the "overcapacity" issue and current trade protectionism in Europe, the former French leader called for a win-win situation through cooperation between countries. He noted that we should work together and try again to set new situation in which we will show the possibility of finding solutions. 

“There is a strong leadership that China has on some technologies like electric cars and solar panels. They are more technically advanced and they are cheaper in most of the time. And that explains why they are so competitive and why they create fear. That's why we should try to find the best way for everybody to get benefits from these new trends,” he added.

Recently, during the visit of Chinese leaders to France, it was announced that China has decided to extend visa exemption entry for citizens from more countries, including France, on short-term visits to China until the end of 2025, which is a new effort by China to further open-up and strengthen cooperation with other countries.

Regarding the visa-free policy, the former French prime minister said: "I believe that encouraging tourism and encouraging foreign students to go and visit another country is something decisive. In Europe, we've been testing what are the policy that have been working the best in the last years, and I think this is the key for tomorrow." 

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France and is also the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism. 

He said, "when you don't know a country, of course, you have what's written in the press, but in many regards, sometimes it is not always the reality of a foreign country that is expressed. So you need to see by yourself." De Villepin stressed that this would change the global mentality and create direct links.

France was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with China, and both countries have ancient civilizations. “We know that Europeans in China hope for peaceful relations between the two sides, and we must respond to this demand and further explore the possibilities of cooperation and success,” De Villepin said.