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Xi Jinping Holds Talks with French Counterpart Hollande China, France Agree to Continue Developing Their Comprehensive and Strategic Partnership based on Mutual Respect and Mutually-beneficial Cooperation

On April 25, 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his visiting French counterpart Francois Hollande at the Great Hall of the People. The two leaders had an in-depth exchange of views in a frank and friendly manner on bilateral relations as well as major international and regional issues of common concern and reached important consensus. The two decided to push forward the China-France comprehensive and strategic partnership based on mutual respect and mutually-beneficial cooperation.

Hollande, on behalf of both the French government and people, expressed sympathy for the victims of the strong earthquake in Lushan County, Sichuan Province, for which Xi expressed gratitude.

Xi said that China and France, big nations with a strong spirit of independence, are both committed to their national development, their peoples' well-being, as well as multilateralism and multipolarity in the world. The world today is changing fast and has become interconnected and interdependent to an unprecedented degree, he said, noting a large number of emerging markets and developing countries are rising rapidly. China and France should continue to prioritize their strategic partnership, support each other and expand bilateral cooperation in an aim to forge win-win cooperation between countries with different political systems, cultures and traditions, Xi noted. The two sides should also work together to improve the democratization of the international relations, help establish a fair, just international order, promote collective decision-making process with equal consultation on international rules, and push for dialogue and peaceful settlement of international disputes so as to safeguard world peace and stability and boost common prosperity, Xi added.

The Chinese president also stressed that the two nations should strengthen communication and exchange to increase and expand mutual respect and trust, attend each other's core interests and key concerns and support their respective development path both countries have chosen independently. Both sides should take a long-term perspective, uphold innovation and win-win concept, broaden their thinking and expand the sphere based on their respective development strategies. He called on the two sides to expand their trade cooperation, cement cultural exchange to foster friendship between the two peoples and jointly protect cultural diversity in the world. "The two sides should also strengthen coordination when dealing with international affairs and we are looking forward to seeing the development of a new type of China-France comprehensive and strategic partnership in the future," Xi added.

Hailing a long history of the friendship between the two nations, Hollande said the diplomatic aspiration shared by France and China for independence, mutual respect and a multi-polar and balanced world has formed a solid foundation for the two nations to develop ties. Hollande noted that France and China, both as responsible big nations, should work closely and step up dialogue, coordination and cooperation on major issues to address global challenges, improve global economic governance and safeguard world peace and prosperity. France is committed to boosting its comprehensive and strategic partnership with China featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit and stable development, respects its sovereignty and territorial integrity and supports China's development, Hollande said.

To enhance China-France exchanges and cooperation in a comprehensive manner, the two leaders decided:

To maintain annual meeting between the heads of state, enhance strategic dialogue, and establish high-level economic and financial dialogue mechanism;

To improve bilateral cooperation in traditional fields such as nuclear energy and aviation, carry out joint research and development, joint investment and joint production and jointly develop the third-party market; to forge new areas of cooperation in urbanization, modern agriculture and farm produce processing, food processing, industrial energy saving, new energy, sustainable urban development, as well as health care, digitalization, maritime affairs and polar research; to expand mutual investment and balanced growth of two-way trade. China will increase imports from France and France will provide favorable conditions for Chinese companies to invest in the European nation.

The two leaders agreed to boost cooperation in cultural heritage protection, cracking down on cultural relics smuggling and popularization of their language in the other country, increase the number of exchange students, and strengthen cooperation on tourism. The two sides decided to launch a series of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-France diplomatic relations next year.

They also agreed to improve China-France coordination on issues concerning the G20, climate change, food and energy security.

Both sides agreed to promote the continuous development of China-EU relations based on mutual benefit and win-win spirit. China will continue its support for Europe on its efforts to tackle its sovereign debt crisis and France will continue its significant role within the European Union (EU) to help promote China-EU relations.

The two leaders also exchanged their views on regional hotspot issues of common concern.

After the talks, Xi and Hollande also witnessed the signing of cooperation documents between the governments and businesses of the two countries concerning a wide range of areas ranging from technological innovation, environmental protection, sustainable urban development, culture, tourism, nuclear power, electricity, aviation, finance and insurance to food safety.

Both sides issued a joint press communiqué between the two countries.

Prior to the talks, President Xi held a welcome ceremony for Hollande at the Square outside the East Gate of the Great Hall of the People. Xi's wife Peng Liyuan, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) Chen Zhu, State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Luo Fuhe attended the ceremony.

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