Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron delivered video speeches to a reception in Beijing celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France on Thursday night.

The reception was held in the National Center for the Performing Arts, which was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. On the same night, the opera “Romeo and Juliet” by French composer Charles Gounod also begins its first-day performance at the National Center for the Performing Arts as an inaugural event of the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism.

The performance of the opera is one of the many frequent cultural exchanges between China and France since they established diplomatic relations.

The establishment of diplomatic ties between both countries in 1964 made France the first major Western power to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.

Lauding the wisdom and courage of the late leaders of both countries, Chairman Mao Zedong and General Charles de Gaulle, President Xi said their decision to establish diplomatic ties opened the door for exchanges and cooperation between China and the West, bringing hope to the world amid the Cold War.

Over the past 60 years, China-France relations have always been at the forefront of China’s relations with Western countries, bringing benefits to the two peoples and contributing to world peace, stability and development, Xi added.

Currently, France is China’s third-largest trading partner in the European Union, and China is France’s top trading partner in Asia. In 2023, the bilateral trade totaled $78.9 billion, according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs.

Xi attributed the feat to the “China-France spirit” featuring independence, mutual understanding, foresight, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.

Facing the new era, Xi said China and France should uphold the original aspiration of the establishment of diplomatic relations, unswervingly develop bilateral relations and respond to global uncertainties with the stability of China-France relations, as well as continue to contribute to maintaining world peace and stability and addressing global challenges.

The year 2024 marks the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism and celebrates the Paris Olympic Games.

Xi said both China and France should take the opportunity to expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges and promote closer people-to-people ties, adding that while deepening traditional cooperation, the two sides need to actively tap the potential of cooperation in emerging areas such as green industries and clean energy and make the “pie” bigger for mutual benefit.

Facing the next 60 years, China and France will work together to create greater glories, Xi added.

Echoing Xi, Macron said France will cooperate with China to address global challenges, promote the resolution of international crises, enhance exchanges between both peoples, especially the youth, and lay a more solid foundation for the future of France-China relations.



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