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Congratulatory note sent to French victor

By ZHANG YUNBI and AN BAIJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-09 03:53

French president-elect Emmanuel Macronand his wife, Brigitte Trogneux, celebrate on the stage at his victory rally near the Louvre in Paris on Sunday. BENOIT TESSIER / REUTERS

Xi's telegram to Macron encourages renewed work on ties

China is ready to work with France to bring their comprehensive strategic partnership to "a higher level", President Xi Jinping said in a congratulatory message to French president-elect Emmanuel Macron on Monday.

Macron won Sunday's runoff vote of the presidential election and is set to lead the major European country at a time when China has been France's largest trade partner in Asia. Bilateral trade amounted to $47.1 billion last year.

Officials and observers from both countries have voiced high hopes throughout the election cycle for the smooth transition of ties, as both countries are major players on global affairs and they both support free trade.

Xi noted that as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and countries with great international influence, both China and France have "special, important responsibilities in world peace and development".

France was the first major Western country to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, in 1964.

Xi said that the relations have "significant strategic importance and international influence".

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said later on Monday that Beijing always has attached great importance to China-France ties and has "full of confidence" over future prospects.

Macron told Xinhua this year that if he won the election, he would deepen cooperation with China in fields such as nuclear energy and tackling climate change.

Developing ties with China "has become a consensus" that transcends differences between political parties and individuals, Chinese Ambassador to France Zhai Jun said in a speech on April 19.

Feng Zhongping, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, observed that Macron has unleashed a slew of messages of goodwill toward China during his term as economy minister and while on the campaign trail.

Macron has demonstrated a great understanding of the links between the two countries in the past, and he mentioned China's role in tackling global climate change and other major global and regional issues, which "illustrates the great importance he attaches to developing ties with China", Feng said.

"The new administration probably will stress cooperation with China when it deals with its domestic economy and seeks France's greater role in Europe and the world," Feng said.

Cui Hongjian, director of the Department for European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said the two countries have a shared mission of championing free trade amid rising trade protectionism in the world.

Macron, then France's economy minister, defended a Chinese-led consortium's capital injection into Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in southwestern France in an interview with newspaper La Depeche du Midi in 2015, Xinhua reported.

Asked about remarks against a Chinese company's acquisition of the airport stake, Macron said, "Our country must remain attractive because it is good for growth and, hence, employment."

Contact the writers at zhangyunbi@chinadaily.com.cn

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