China, France agree to boost ties as French PM visits

Chinese President Xi Jinping and French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve agreed in Beijing on Wednesday to boost bilateral ties and cooperation in global affairs such as climate change.

In their meeting, Xi said a healthy China-France ties meet the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples, and are conducive to world peace and development.

Xi hailed the progress of ties since the two countries launched a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2014, citing efficient cooperation in various areas and enhanced cultural exchanges.

"The most important reason for smooth growth of China-France relations is that we always respect each other, understand and accommodate each other's core interests and major concerns, and support one another on major issues," Xi said.

He urged both sides to implement key cooperation projects, keep up momentum on cooperation in emerging areas, promote the docking of "Made in China 2025" plan with France's "Industry of the Future" plan.

China welcomes France's participation in the Belt and Road initiative and supports companies of both countries to cooperate in this framework, he said.

China hopes to cement law-enforcement and security cooperation with France, Xi added.

He called on the two countries to jointly promote peaceful settlement of global and regional hot issues, fight against protectionism in any form and secure progress in global governance including the Paris agreement on climate change.

Xi also urged both sides to beef up cooperation in G20, implement the consensus reached in the Hangzhou G20 summit last year, and promote the progress of G20 Hamburg Summit later this year.

China supports EU integration, Xi said, vowing a stronger China-EU partnership and closer cooperation.

In his turn, Cazeneuve hailed China's great global influence, adding that France is committed to closer cooperation with China in trade, technology, nuclear power, aviation, automobile manufacturing and infrastructure building in the Belt and Road framework.

The two countries should step up cooperation in global affairs, promote multilateralism and safeguard world peace and stability.

France expects greater achievements in ties with China, he added.

China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang also met with Cazeneuve later on Wednesday.

Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), pledged to enhance NPC's exchanges with the French National Assembly and Senate.

Cazeneuve is on an official visit to China from Feb. 21-23. Besides Beijing, he will also visit Wuhan.

Source: Xinhua