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Xi Jinping Holds Talks with French President François Hollande, Opening up the New Era of a Close and Enduring China-France Comprehensive and Strategic Partnership

On March 26 local time, Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with French President Francois Hollande in Paris. The two heads of state reviewed achievements and experience for the past 50 years since the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between China and France, and blueprinted the future development of bilateral relations, reaching important consensus. They agreed, by standing at a new historical starting point, to open up the new era of a close and enduring China-France comprehensive and strategic partnership. Xi Jinping stressed that, as long as China and France join hands with each other, we will surely be able to achieve a great cause and create new bright prospects under the current complicated and changeable international situation.

Prior to the meeting, Hollande held a grand welcome ceremony at the Esplanade des Invalides for Xi Jinping. Xi Jinping and his wife Mme. Peng Liyuan, upon their arrival, were warmly greeted by Hollande. Accompanied by the sonorous march, the two heads of state walked into the plaza. The military band played the national anthems of China and France. Both heads of state inspected the Republican Guard and the three-service Guard of Honour. The heads of state then came to the center of the plaza and watched the match-past. Xi Jinping introduced to Hollande the principal officials of the Chinese side and shook hands with the principal officials of the French side, exchanging greetings.

Sitting in the same car, the heads of state, escorted by the 146 mighty cavalrymen of the Republican Guard, went along the perfectly straight and wide avenue and passed through the Pont Alexandre III, slowly heading towards the Elysée Palace. It was filled with a deep atmosphere of friendship along the way, with the national flags of the two countries fluttering in the wind and the ringing clatter of horses' hoofs fluctuating and reverberating in the air. Covering Paris with a splendid festival attire, France welcomed the Chinese head of state with a grand ceremony.

Soon afterwards, the heads of state held talks.

Xi Jinping said, it is quite a pleasure to visit France at this important and special moment of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-France diplomatic relationship. 50 years ago, Chairman Mao Zedong and General Charles De Gaulle together made the historic decision to establish diplomatic relationship between the two countries. France was the first major country in the West that established the diplomatic relationship with the People's Republic of China. For a long time, China-France relations, which are characterized by distinct features of being strategic, epochal and global, have always been at the forefront of China's relations with Western countries and guided the development of China-Europe relations.

Hollande expressed that, on this occasion of the grand celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of France-China diplomatic relationship, France welcomed in the warmest way President Xi Jinping to pay a state visit to France. He believed that this visit will inject new vitality into bilateral cooperation and push forward the bilateral relations onto a new stage, making it a new important milestone in the history of France-China relations.

Xi Jinping pointed out, as regarded as successful experience of the development of bilateral relations, the first is to adhere to the principle of independence and the idea of world multipolarization; second is to respect each other and to properly handle the issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns; third is to keep creating new patterns of cooperation and to realize mutual benefit and win-win results; fourth is to expand exchanges and to learn from each other, in order to enhance recognition of cultural identity. Our meeting today is of epochal significance that serves as a link between past and future. We should draw a blueprint and lay a sound foundation for the future China-France relationship to develop at higher levels, so as to open up together the new era of a close and enduring China-France comprehensive and strategic partnership.

Xi Jinping proposed for the two sides that, first, the two sides should always regard each other as the preferred strategic partner, enhance mutual trust, support each other for the development concept and development path, and respect each other on core interests and major concerns. The two heads of state should maintain annual meeting and frequent contacts, and the two sides should strengthen strategic communication and cooperation with mechanisms such as strategic dialogues and high-level economic and financial dialogues.

Second, the two sides should get hold of new opportunities to advance their respective economic structural reforms, and deepen practical cooperation. They should inject new driving force into cooperation in traditional fields of nuclear energy and aviation through joint research and development, joint investment, joint production and joint development of the third-party market. Expand cooperation in emerging fields of agriculture, finance, sustainable urban development, health care and ocean. Adhere to openness and join hands for anti-protectionism. The Chinese side is willing to continue to increase imports of agricultural products from France and encourage Chinese enterprises to expand investment in France. The Chinese side hopes that the French side will keep pushing EU to completely solve the case of wireless telecommunication equipments.

Third, the two sides should facilitate people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Ensure the success of the 300 plus events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship. Enlarge the scale of exchanging students from each other. Reinforce tourism cooperation, trying to reach a total number of 1.2 million in the year 2016 for French tourists traveling to China and Chinese tourists traveling to France as the first destination. Set up high-level people-to-people and cultural exchange mechanism, and make it the third institutional pillar for China-France cooperation.

Fourth, the two sides should strengthen cooperation in international and regional affairs, push forward the reform of global economic governance system, and jointly promote world peace, stability and prosperity. The Chinese side supports France for hosting the 2015 Global Climate Change Conference.

Hollande noted that, France and China share the same views on the world. Both advocate to abide by recognized norms of international relations, and pursue an independent foreign policy. France-China relations are playing an important role in promoting power balance in the world and safeguarding world peace and stability. The bilateral relations now enjoy sound development momentum. During his visit to China last year, both sides reached a series of important consensus which are yielding positive results. The French side is firmly committed to developing a close and enduring comprehensive and strategic partnership with China. He fully agreed with President Xi Jinping on his proposals for developing the bilateral relations. The French side hopes to maintain close high-level exchanges with the Chinese side, to deepen political dialogues, to enhance all-round cooperation, and to achieve close communication and coordination in international and regional affairs. The French side condemns the recent serious terrorist attack incident in Kunming, and is willing to intensify anti-terrorist cooperation with the Chinese side.

Both sides also exchanged views on Ukraine, Syria and Iranian nuclear issue.

Following the meeting, both sides announced Joint Statement between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of France as well as Medium- and Long-term Plan for China-France Relations.

The heads of state witnessed together the signing of bilateral cooperative documents, covering various fields of economy, trade, nuclear energy, aerospace, industry, automobile, energy, finance, agriculture, sustainable development, scien-tech and quality inspection.

The heads of state jointly met the press. Xi Jinping said, 50 years ago, China and France broke through all obstacles and realized historic handshake, writing an indelible stroke in the history of international relations and of exchanges between the East and the West. This historic event demonstrates the spirit of mutual respect, mutual trust, equality, openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and win-win results. It is of important epochal significance until today. President Hollande and I jointly charted the course and marked the key points for the development of bilateral relations. We decided to take the development of China-France relations as the priority for each other's foreign policy. We will join hands to open up the new era of a close and enduring China-France comprehensive and strategic partnership, and continue to lead China-Europe relations and China's relations with Western countries. I am fully confident in the future development of China-France friendship.

Hollande said that, France and China developing a close and enduring comprehensive and strategic partnership marks that France-China relations have reached a new high. He and President Xi Jinping reached a series of important consensus, and both sides signed a number of important agreements. He believed that this will consolidate the three pillars of politics, economy, and people-to-people and cultural exchages in bilateral cooperation, creating broader prospects for France-China relations.

Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu, Yang Jiechi and others were present.

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