China on Tuesday said the proper handling of sensitive issues was crucial to stronger Sino-French ties, and proposed deeper political trust and wider pragmatic cooperation.
"Both countries should properly deal with sensitive issues, enhance political trust, expand pragmatic cooperation in an effort to bring bilateral relationship to a new high," Chinese President Hu Jintao told visiting French Prime Minister Francois Fillon Tuesday afternoon.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) meets with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, on Dec. 22, 2009. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
Fillon's visit was seen by observers as a symbol of the recovery of bilateral ties that were frozen in 2008 caused by frictions over Tibet and other issues concerning China's core interests.
France in April pledged not to support "Tibet independence" in any form.
"I've met twice with President Sarkozy on the sidelines of international conferences this year," Hu recalled, referring to the first one in London in April and the other in New York in September.
"We've reached important consensus on consolidating and developing China-French relationship and bringing it back to the track of sound and stable growth," Hu said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R Front) meets with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon (L Front) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, on Dec. 22, 2009. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)
Fillon, on his first visit to China since taking office in 2007,said bilateral relations was in rapid development after the meetings between the two presidents.
Reviewing the past, Hu said the 45-year China-France diplomatic relations had overcome difficulties and moved forward despite vicissitude in international arena.
"The establishment of China-France comprehensive strategic partnership in 2004 provided a broad prospect for bilateral relations in the 21st century," Hu said.
Fillon echoed Hu's views, saying both countries would have a promising prospect in the cooperation on nuclear energy, trade, science and technology, education and culture.
China and France unveiled their biggest nuclear energy joint venture and inked two deals on aviation cooperation during Fillon's three-day visit.
Wu Bangguo(R1), chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, the country's top legislature, meets with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon (L1) in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 22, 2009. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
The venture, with a registered capital of about 16.7 billion yuan (2.5 billion U.S. dollars), will annually generate 26 billion kilowatt-hours on-grid energy when completed in 2014.
During their hour-long meeting at the Great Hall of the People, Hu and Fillon also exchanged views on international issues.
"As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China and France share same or similar views on many major international and regional issues, enjoy common interests and assume important responsibilities on international affairs," Hu said.
Fillon expected both countries to jointly oppose trade protectionism, weather the impacts of global economic downturn and restructure international financial system.
Wu Bangguo (R), chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, the country's top legislature, meets with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 22, 2009. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
Before their meeting, top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo also met with Fillon on bilateral relations.
As Fillon's entourage included some French legislators, Wu called for more legislative exchanges at different levels in a bid to lay a more solid public foundation for China-France relations.
Fillon will fly back home late Tuesday night. Source: Xinhua