France and China share desire to step up their close dialogue

China – Bilateral relations – Statements by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, during his joint press conference with Mr Wang Yi, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs (excerpts)

Beijing, 14 April 2017

(…) We discussed our shared desire to step up the close dialogue between France and China on all global matters. A trustful dialogue between two permanent members of the Security Council. Moreover, after Britain’s exit from the European Union France will be the Security Council’s only European permanent member. We’re members of the G20 and we haven’t forgotten China’s excellent presidency at the last G20, and we know that in the international context, a hallmark of which is unprecedented uncertainty, it’s even more important than ever to bolster our ties, exchanges and cooperation.

This meeting also provides an opportunity to discuss the growing threat of North Korea’s military nuclear programme. We – both China and France – are determined to bring about the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The international community is unanimous. The time has come for Pyongyang to honour its own commitments.

On Syria, we also share a priority – the fight against terrorism – and a desire – to see a political process help restore peace and security in Syria, in the framework of Security Council Resolution 2254.

On global issues, we reaffirmed our joint commitment to supporting the implementation of the Paris climate agreement, which is essential for the future of us all.

On the economic front, our trade increased in 2016 to nearly €70 billion, i.e. double that in 2005. We talked about the importance of promoting more balanced trade relations to shield our economies from future crises and the temptations of protectionism. But we’ve got further progress to make when it comes to our respective markets’ level of openness, the guarantee of shared prosperity.

From this point of view, the lifting of China’s embargo on French beef [announced] at the beginning of March is excellent news, which must now be translated into action.

The recent successes of the Franco-Chinese civilian nuclear power partnership are really very encouraging, as are those of the partnership in third-party markets – there are many projects, the Franco-Chinese economic relationship is therefore working well and making good headway, and there are many prospects when it comes to Chinese investment in Europe, and also Paris, the European continent’s financial market, the leading Euro Area market for the yuan, which may also provide a future prospect for Chinese investment in Europe.

I also welcome the strong activity in the tourism sector, with 1.6 million Chinese visitors last year. And we’ve opened nine new centres for issuing visas in 48 hours across China. And France is taking great care to improve security even further for Chinese nationals on our territory, whether they’re staying a short time or are residents. This is a priority for us. I wanted to repeat this firmly here.

The agreement our two countries signed at the end of March to gradually increase the maximum number of daily flights by the respective flag carriers from 50 to 126 by 2020 is going to significantly improve these exchanges, not just in tourism but economic, cultural and scientific exchanges too. And all this further strengthens our relationship. So I really welcome the agreement. (…)./.

Published on 19/04/2017

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