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China, France reach consensus on maintaining strategic ties
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08:13, April 28, 2008

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China and France agreed to "cherish and maintain" bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership after series of unhappy incidents in France and recent visits paid by high-level French officials.

Chinese foreign ministry revealed the five-point consensus reached by Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Jean-David Levitte, a diplomatic adviser of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, during their Saturday talks.

China and France should view and handle two-way relations from a strategic level and long-term perspective. The two countries should make efforts to remove obstacles and strengthen mutual trust so as to promote healthy and smooth development of the Sino-French relations, according to the consensus.

The French side firmly adheres to the one-China policy, reiterates that Tibet and Taiwan are inalienable parts of the Chinese territory, holds that the issues of Taiwan and Tibet belong to China's internal affairs, and France supports the national reunification of China, the consensus says.

The two sides also touched upon the Olympic issue, saying that Olympic Games serve as a grand activity of sports and friendship of all people in the world. The French side supports and wishes a great success to the Beijing Olympic Games.

France spoke highly of China's increasing big role in solving regional and international issues. The China-France comprehensive strategic partnership could play a bigger role in safeguarding the peace and stability of the world, says the consensus.

The Chinese public had been irritated by recent incidents concerning the Beijing Olympic torch relay in some European countries. In Paris, the female wheelchair fencer Jin Jing was manhandled.

Soon after, a petition was initiated to boycott French products and Carrefour. The supermarket giant had been accused by netizens of supporting the Dalai Lama. The company later denied the claim.

Levitte, considered as one of the envoys sent by France to mend the soured ties with China, on Sunday also met with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, assuring France's persistent stance of working for better ties with China.

The week past witnessed a fresh round of shuttle diplomacy between China and France. The two countries have sent envoys to visit each other, conveying messages to respective leaders in the hope of mending the strained bilateral ties.

Christian Poncelet, French Senate President, made a special visit to Jin Jing upon his arrival in Shanghai on April 21, conveying French President Nicolas Sarkozy's sympathy note to her.

Meanwhile, former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin also visited China for a forum on China-EU relations. When he received an exclusive interview with Xinhua, he said that France wanted to be "the best friend" of China.

China for its part, sent a senior diplomat Zhao Jinjun to France as a special envoy of Hu Jintao from April 18 to 22, exchanging views with Sarkozy and other French senior officials on bilateral ties and issues of common concern.

"This was an important diplomatic move taken by China in current situation, and indicated that China valued the traditional friendship with France," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu noted.

After the Olympic Games in August, Beijing will hold the seventh summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting, when France holds the rotating EU presidency and hosts the 11th China-EU Summit.

"China and France would like to make joint efforts to push forward the China-EU relations," says the consensus.

Source: Xinhua

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