Chinese, French presidents meet on bilateral ties (2)

08:03, November 05, 2010      

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Chinese President Hu Jintao (R front) shakes hands with French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L front) in Paris, France, Nov. 4, 2010. Hu Jintao held talks with Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on Thursday. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Since China and France set up diplomatic ties 46 years ago, their bilateral relationship has played a leading role in relations between Western countries and China because of its pioneering nature and strategic significance.

France is China's important trading partner in the European Union. Their two-way trade was registered at 38 billion U.S. dollars in 2008.

Although bilateral trade fell to 34.4 billion dollars in 2009 due to the international financial crisis, it has increased significantly since the beginning of this year. In the first nine months, the trade volume was recorded at 33 billion dollars.

Hu paid his first state visit to the European nation in January 2004, during which Hu and French leaders agreed to lift bilateral ties to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership.

Hu met Sarkozy in Beijing last April when the French leader was on his second state visit to China. The two leaders had "candid, friendly and productive" talks on deepening the China-French comprehensive strategic partnership, and reached "many important agreements."

"China is satisfied with the overall development of bilateral relations, but we believe that our ties should reflect the change of the times," said Fu.

As France will take over the chair of the Group of Twenty (G20) in mid-November, Fu said, the two leaders will exchange views on the upcoming Seoul summit and the future development of the G20 mechanism.

According to President Hu's schedule, he will travel to Nice, the fifth largest city in France, Friday, to continue his tour of the European country.

The Chinese leader will also pay a state visit to Portugal following his France trip.

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