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French Senate president willing to increase dialogue with China to improve relations
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08:47, April 25, 2008

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French Senate President Christian Poncelet said his country was willing to increase dialogue with China to improve the relationship between the two countries when meeting with local reporters here on Thursday.

Heading a delegation of the French Senate, Poncelet was paying his third trip to China as the legislative leader from April 21-27at the invitation of top legislator Wu Bangguo.

The 80-year-old conservative said he had repeatedly reiterated during his visit that France was willing to maintain and deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. This was a long-term diplomatic policy decided by the governments of both sides.

Before talking with reporters, Poncelet was met by President Hu Jintao who stressed China hoped the French could face squarely the current problems and work to eliminate future disturbances and properly handle the new situation and issues of the bilateral ties.

Poncelet suggested both sides should hold discussions on the basis of the comprehensive strategic partnership, adding France would not implement any preconditions to open the dialogue.

He emphasized his delegation could represent French public opinion since the visiting senators came from different political groups around the country.

The elder statesman told reporters it should not be forgotten that France was one of the first major European countries to establish a diplomatic relationship with China in 1964.

"The comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries has a substantial basis of friendship," he said. "I am very confident of the future of Sino-French ties."

Poncelet said Paris city council's decision to make the exiled Dalai Lama an honorary citizen of the French capital didn't represent the foreign policy of the national government.

On Monday, he made a special visit to Jin Jing, the female wheelchair fencer, who was manhandled while carrying the Olympic torch through the streets of Paris, upon his arrival in Shanghai. He conveyed French President Nicolas Sarkozy's sympathy note over the incident.

"All of my delegation members have visited Jin Jing and I was deeply moved."

Source: Xinhua

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