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Partnership cemented by leaders staying in touch: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-21 19:29

That President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron talked by telephone on Monday underscores the significance that the two heads of state attach to the traditional Sino-French friendship and their resolve to lift that mutually beneficial relationship to a new level.

During their conversation, they not only talked about practical cooperation between the two countries in areas such as trade and investment, and people-to-people exchanges, but also how to strengthen their collaboration in the United Nations and other multilateral institutions so as to improve global governance. Xi assured Macron that China is ready to work with France to jointly address global challenges such as climate change, and he expressed the hope that France will play a constructive role in promoting the positive development of China-European Union relations.

Their frank exchanges were the latest evidence of the close communication the two top leaders have maintained over the past several years, which has injected a positive momentum into the China-France relationship and enabled bilateral cooperation to make new achievements, despite the headwinds that have built up in Europe.

France was the first major Western country to officially establish diplomatic ties with China in 1964, and also the first major Western country to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership with China in 2004. The development of Sino-French relations has withstood the tests of various times. It continues to display its durability.

Amid the current calls for "decoupling" or "de-risking" as part of the Washington-initiated geopolitical game to limit China's access to technology and investment, France has maintained its strategic autonomy in terms of its partnership with China. For example, France extended 5G licenses to Huawei in some cities even after the US called for a complete ban on the telecommunications giant's equipment. France has also said it would welcome more Chinese direct investment in Europe's electric vehicles industry, although the EU has launched an anti-subsidy probe into Chinese EVs for allegedly "distorting" the European market.

France's independent and positive China policy has contributed to the significant achievements their cooperation has made over the years.

France is now China's third-largest trading partner and third-largest source of actual investment within the EU, while China is the largest trading partner of France in Asia. Bilateral trade in goods exceeded €100 billion ($109.5 billion) for the first time in 2022, up 14.6 percent from 2021.

China's efforts aimed at leveling the domestic playing field and expanding market access to foreign businesses as part of its pursuit of high-quality development and high-level opening-up will only bring French companies more opportunities and create broader prospects for the development of friendly relations between the two countries.

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