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60 years on, China-France relations continue to benefit world peace, stability
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60 years on, China-France relations continue to benefit world peace, stability

The year 2024 marks the 60th anniversary of China-France diplomatic ties. The relationship has weathered numerous challenges and has benefited both nations and the world as a whole.

The unique history of China-France relations has shaped the "China-France spirit" featuring independence, mutual understanding, foresight, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, as said by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday in a video speech at a reception in Beijing celebrating the 60th anniversary.

The inception of diplomatic ties between China and France six decades ago marked a pivotal moment in international relations. With extraordinary wisdom and courage, Chairman Mao Zedong and General Charles de Gaulle opened the door for exchanges and cooperation between China and the West, bringing hope to the world amid the Cold War.

Since then, despite disparities in social systems, historical backgrounds, and cultures, China and France have consistently shown mutual respect, engaged in reciprocal learning, and fostered cooperation founded on the principle of finding common ground while setting aside differences. Their enduring partnership serves as a model of peaceful coexistence and mutual benefit.

In the last six decades, China-France relations have marked numerous historic milestones.

France is the first major Western nation to formalize diplomatic relations with China, catalyzing a shift toward global dialogue and cooperation.

From pioneering the inaugural civil air route between China and the West to embarking on joint ventures to explore third-party markets, these groundbreaking initiatives exemplify the enduring "China-France spirit" and its transformative impact on bilateral ties.

In an interview with Xinhua, former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius said that China and France are both committed to independence as well as multilateralism and peace.

"We do not want a bloc policy, with the risks of conflicts that this entails," he said.

With the guidance of the "China-France spirit," economic cooperation and trade exchanges between the two countries have become closer. France is already China's third-largest trading partner and the third-largest source of investment in real terms in the EU. China is France's largest trading partner in Asia and the seventh largest globally.

French-made Airbus in-service planes in China had risen to over 2,100 aircraft, according to the company's official website, representing more than 50 percent of the market by the end of the first quarter of 2023, while French consumers increasingly favor Chinese mobile phones, electric vehicles and other products.

People-to-people exchanges have also reached a new high as China announced on Dec. 1 last year that it would implement a 15-day visa-free policy for French short-term visitors to China, and France later also announced that Chinese holders of master's degrees who have studied in France could receive five-year visas.

Such steps will surely enhance cultural exchanges between the two civilizations of East and West.

Chairman of the France-China Friendship Group of the French National Assembly Eric Alauzet said that 60 years of togetherness between France and China will provide the foundation for developing the next six decades of ties.

Today, the world is at a pivotal moment. China and France must uphold their shared diplomatic principles as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. They are responsible for charting a collective course toward peace, security, prosperity and human progress.

It is hoped that over the next 60 years, China and France will work together to strengthen their bilateral relations, promote a multi-polar world, and contribute to global peace and stability. 

XinhuaGu Yetao

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