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French on visits to mend ties

[ 2009-03-26 13:56]     字号 [] [] []  
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Several high-ranking French officials will visit China next month to repair the two countries' relations, sources told China Daily.

Former French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin will lead a delegation of executives from 10 major French companies to attend the China-France Economic Seminar in Beijing in early April.

National Assembly of France president Bernard Accoyer also planned to visit China in late April. It will be the first official visit to China by a National Assembly president since 1982.

In addition, media reported former French presidents Jacques Chirac and Valery Giscard d'Estaing may also visit Beijing separately in April.

Sino-French relations soured after French President Nicolas Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama in Poland in early December, despite strong protests from China. Sarkozy was the first leader who met the Dalai Lama while holding the EU's rotating presidency.

In response, China called off the Sino-EU summit scheduled for that month in Lyon, France. It also cancelled high-level Chinese officials' visits to the country. Premier Wen Jiabao skipped France during his European tour earlier this year.

Earlier this month, China renewed its call on France to take steps to mend bilateral relations.

Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei said on Monday that President Hu Jintao does not plan to meet Sarkozy on the sidelines of the G20 summit in London early next month.

Hu will meet eight leaders, including US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"It comes as no surprise Sarkozy is not on Hu's list," Pang Zhongying, of Renmin University of China's school of international relations, said. "The reason is so obvious."

But Pang also said: "It's possible (Hu and Sarkozy) may engage in some kind of interaction at the summit", although no bilateral meeting has been arranged.

Minister Counselor of the French Embassy in China Nicolas Chapuis said on Tuesday in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, that it is still possible the two might meet at the summit.

China did not rule out a meeting but rather said it "now has no plan" for one, the Oriental Morning Post quoted him as saying.

Pang said Hu and Sarkozy may meet at July's G8 meeting in La Maddalena, Italy, if they do not at the G20 summit.

"China and France share common interests on issues such as IMF reform and the financial crisis," Pang said. "It would be a loss for both countries if they don't cooperate."

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

French on visits to mend ties

French on visits to mend tiesBrendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.