Sarkozy to meet Hu, attend Expo (2)

08:20, April 28, 2010      

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A new round of UN sanctions against Iran is expected to make the agenda, though. Sarkozy is among the global leaders backing the sanctions, but China has maintained calls for dialogue in lieu of more sanctions. Iran is China's third-largest supplier of crude oil, following Saudi Arabia and Angola.

The visit marks Sarkozy's fourth visit to China.

"The upcoming visit will create a good atmosphere for the future economic and cultural cooperation between the two nations and lay the groundwork for normalizing relations between them," said Chen Zhimin, vice director of the Center for European Studies at Fudan University. "Sarkozy is not utterly against China, and he had largely inherited the foreign policy of former president Jacques Chirac after taking office in 2007. In fact, many of his unfriendly actions, including meeting with the Dalai Lama, were prompted by … pressure from all political forces in France."

Feng Zhongping, dean of the Center for European Studies at the China Institutes of Contem-porary International Relations, told the Global Times that the meetings between leaders of the two countries are a good start for warming relations, but a tangible outcome is unlikely.

That's different than during his last visit, when Sarkozy struck billions of dollars' worth of deals with China, including the building of two reactors in Guangdong Province and an order for 160 Airbus planes worth $20 billion.

A staff member of the French Chamber of Commerce, who declined to be named, said Tuesday that the business sector in France is looking forward to the upcoming meetings.

The employee said they are hoping the friendly gesture by Sarkozy brings more tangible benefits and business opportunities in the future, as relations between the two countries begin to thaw.

China's foreign ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said last week that the "China-France relationship is facing new development opportunities. And China is willing to work with France to promote the sound and stable development of bilateral relations."

Yang Guozheng, a professor in the French department at Peking University, told the Global Times that in seeking relations with France, "Harmony should always be a priority, but there are some areas in which China won't bend."

"China is unlikely to compromise on core issues," he said.

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