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Beijing, Paris to put ties back on track

[ 2009-04-02 13:50]     字号 [] [] []  
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China and France have pledged to restore high-level contacts following a spat over Tibet, with the two nations pledging cooperation to tackle the global financial crisis.

"Both sides reaffirm the high importance of Sino-French relations and are willing to strengthen the all-round strategic partnership on the basis of mutual respect and paying attention to each side's basic interests," said a joint communiqué issued by the countries' foreign ministries following many rounds of talks.

China suspended most contacts and called off a major summit with the European Union following a December meeting between French President Nicholas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama.

Yesterday's statement said that France fully recognizes "the importance and sensitivity of the Tibet issue" and reaffirms that Tibet is an integral part of the Chinese territory.

The position, in accordance with the decision made by General Charles de Gaulle, "has not changed and will remain unchanged".

Based on this spirit and the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs, France refuses to support any form of "Tibet independence", it said.

"Both sides are willing to strengthen communication and coordination to jointly deal with the global challenge of the international financial crisis," it added.

The two sides also decided to engage in high-level contacts and a strategic dialogue at a proper time to enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields and promote the harmonious and steady growth of China-France relations, the statement said, without elaborating.

President Hu Jintao and Sarkozy are due to attend the G20 summit in London today.

Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television reported that Chinese Ambassador to France Kong Quan was heading for London and "according to common diplomatic practice, that indicates Hu will probably meet Sarkozy at the summit".

Xing Hua, a scholar on European studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said the joint communiqué suggests that Sino-French relations have recovered from "the severe damage last year".

Zhao Junjie, a senior researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said he did not find the statement surprising.

"Sarkozy has been plagued by domestic problems resulting from the economic slowdown at home and has looked to the international arena to get him out of the doldrums," he said.

"He has quite refreshing ideas on reforming the global financial system and fighting climate change, and urgently needed Chinese cooperation.

"So the French side needed to break the impasse in bilateral relations," he said, adding it is "highly possible" that Hu and Sarkozy meet at the summit.

"That will mark a formal ending of soured relations," he said.

Feng Zhongping, chief of European studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said after the latest twists and turns, France would have realized that disrespecting China's core interests is bound to hurt France's interests.

"We hope the French government learns a lesson from it."

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Beijing, Paris to put ties back on track

Beijing, Paris to put ties back on trackBrendan 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.