Five Decades of Sino-French Relations: Foundations for a New Relationship

China International Studies | 作者: Ju Yi | 时间: 2014-03-11 | 责编: Li Xiaoyu
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by Ju Yi[1]


China and France celebrated the 50th anniversary of the es-tablishment of their diplomatic relations on January 27, 2014. Over the past fifty years, having been through ups and downs,China and France have forged a comprehensive strategic partnership with a solid foundation featuring extensive cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win result. After conducting domestic adjustments while facing a historic opportunity nowadays, the two countries are turning a new page in their bilateral relations and they would jointly construct a new type of relationship with characteristics of the times.


I. Sino-French Relations with Solid Foundations


China and France have a long history of contacting with each other. The sociopolitical bases for the development of Sino-French relations are not only similar and close but also with innovation and strategic features in both states.


1. Similarity

Though far away from each other geographically and having differences in terms of sociopolitical system, humanism and value systems, China and France have many similarities as well. For example, both states have a long history, a culture of great splendor, a glorious past and a dream for a beautiful future; both have creative gifted artists and their cuisine are famous throughout the world.Politically, both countries uphold a policy of independence while pursuing the great power status and calling for multi-polarity in the world. Ku Hung-Ming, a Chinese scholar from the late Qing Dynasty depicted similarities between the Chinese and the French people this way: “The French, —well the French are the people, it seems to me, who can understand and has understood the real Chinaman and the Chinese civilization best. The French, it is true, have not the depth of nature of the Germans nor the broadness of mind of the Americans nor the simplicity of mind of the English,—but the French, the French people have to a preeminent degree a quality of mind such as all the people I have mentioned above as a rule, have not,...a quality of mind viz: delicacy, for, in addition to the three characteristics of the real Chinaman and Chinese civilization—depth, broadness and simplicity, I must here add one more, and that the chief characteristic, namely delicacy.”

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), China has been practicing a political system different from that of France; however, such difference did not prevent them from following some common political values.

One of such common ground is that both nations follow an independent foreign policy. A foreign policy of independence has been the cornerstone of diplomacy set by the founder of the PRC—Mao Zedong and the founder of the French Fifth Republic—Charles de Gaulle. It is also an important component of the Mao Zedong thoughts and Gaullism. During the Cold War era, discontented with the US’ and the Soviet’s manipulation and control of the Western and the Eastern blocs, China and France, like the Monkey King who created havoc in heaven, took disruptive and rebellious actions in their respective camps. The US, the Soviet Union and the UK concluded the Partial Test Ban Treaty(PTBT) in August 1963, but the treaty had not been signed by China and France. As Premier Zhou Enlai said to Edgar Faure—the French envoy who came to China to negotiate on the establishment of Sino-French diplomatic relations, France did not accede to the Partial Test Ban Treaty and China was also opposed to the treaty. Though the two sides did not exchange views on this matter in advance, their actions had turned out to be the same. This was because both China and France wanted to maintain their independence and sovereignty and each was opposed to any foreign interference or encroachment. They both held that a few big powers must not be allowed to monopolize international affairs. Leaders from both countries cherished the same “great power mentality” then, with Mao hoping to “revitalize the Chinese nation” and “stand rock-firm in the family of nations”, and with de Gaulle seeking to “spread the spirit of freedom and be the vanguard of mankind”. When meeting a French parliamentary delegation in January 1964, Chairman Mao Zedong said: “We share fundamental common ground in two aspects: the first is not to allow any big power to pee or shit over our head — we will not allow any big power, capitalist or socialist, to control or oppose us; the second is to promote cultural and economic exchanges between us.” With the evolution of the international situation, both the Chinese and the French leaders have successively upheld and developed their independent foreign policy. Even in the transition of the regime from the Rightists to the Leftists, France has never abandoned its independent foreign policy. In 1981, the Leftist Socialist Party came to power. President Mitterrand stated clearly that “my policy has inherited that of General de Gaulle.” Taking independence as the primary principle of French foreign policy, Mitterrand declared that “we need independence in terms of the relationship with the strongest country in the world.”

The second aspect in common is that both countries cherish the same dream, which is to build a multipolar and diversified world. When de Gaulle was in office, with the rapid rise of Western Europe, Japan and China, the world was transforming from a bipolar system to a multipolar one. In de Gaulle’s view, the bipolar structure imposed on Europe was not in line with France’s policy of “independence” and its “great power” status. Therefore, de Gaulle took the initiative in advocating détente with the Eastern camp, aiming primarily to break up the “Yalta system”. In his words, “in order to create a new order to replace the Cold War structure, if there were one voice to be heard and one action to be effective, apparently that would be France’s voice and France’s action.” When elaborating his views about the world system, President d’Estaing believed that “the world should be viewed as a globe divided into several vast areas, including the United States, Europe, the Soviet Union and China.” President Chirac declared that France’s goal was to build “a multipolar, harmonious and united world.” In China, Deng Xiaoping articulated that the world was changing towards multi-polarity. He declared, “The old pattern is in change[...]and the new pattern has not been formed.[...]In the so-called multipolar world, China is one of the poles.”


2. Closeness

Both China and France have a long history and a rich culture, leading the two peoples to have favorable impression of each other and affect each other profoundly, which has enriched the foundation for their non-governmental and political contacts.

As early as in 1698, sent by French King Louis XIV, ten French missionaries, including Joachim Bouvet, Joseph Hennry Premare, Dominique Parrenin and Jean-Baptiste Regis, traveled to China by “Amphitrite”, the first merchantship ever sailing from France to China in history. Arcadio Huang, a Chinese travelling from Putian County in Fujian Province to France in 1702 to teach Sinology, was later named as the translator for King Louis XIV. According to incomplete estimation, there were almost 40 Chinese who traveled to France in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Western and the Chinese learning spread by Western missionaries and Chinese visitors played a positive role in promoting social progress at that time. With a Chinese craze emerging in France, many French philosophers and thinkers were inspired by oriental cultures. Leaders of the French Enlightenment, like Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot, paid close attention to China and explored from the Chinese history and reality to learn and to take lessons. Voltaire called himself “a pupil of Confucius” and hung portraits of Confucius in his room. Learning from Confucius who stressed on the real life and human affairs, Voltaire enriched his humanistic views. He mentioned China in over 80 of his works and 200 letters, singing high praise of China’s long history, its old and rich civilization while criticizing the European-centered views. Through these philosophers’ learning and commentaries, China “played an indispensable role in promoting the dramatic changes in France in the 18th century.” From the end of the 19th century to the early 20th century, Chinese capitalist reformists and revolutionaries conducted profound study of the French Revolution, and engaged in heated debates about the purposes, directions, ways and means to revitalize the Chinese nation while exploring the experiences of the French Revolution as well as its significance for China. Zou Rong, a member of the revolutionaries, advocated in his book “The Revolutionary Army” that “we should hold the banner of those great philosophers like Rousseau and wave it over our divine land.” In 1918, Li Dazhao also praised the French Revolution in his article “A Comparison of the French and Russian Revolutions”, saying that “not only France’s but also the whole world’s civilization in the 19th century, such as political or social organizations, all stemmed from the French revolution.”

After the outbreak of the “May 4th Movement”, many patriotic Chinese youth took arduous trips to France to work and study. Zhou Enlai, Zhu De and Deng Xiaoping embraced Marxism and Leninism there and founded a revolutionary group—the Chinese Socialist Youth League in France. The “red journey” taken by China’s older-generation leaders to France enhanced the Chinese people’s “naturally-felt closeness”to France. The first Western state Deng Xiaoping visited in 1975 was France. President Chirac, renowned in France for his admiration of the Chinese culture and for being a “China hand and a pro-China leader”, visited China four times while in office and issued three joint communiques with the Chinese government. He also forged close personal friendship and working relations with the Chinese leaders as well. Chirac took a series of bold and innovative actions to improve ties with China. For instance, he was the first Western leader to propose “giving up confrontation and engaging in dialogue” with China on human rights issues; he was the first to openly oppose “Taiwan independence” while supporting the policy of “one country, two systems”; he was the first European leader to openly advocate and insistently promote the lifting of EU arms embargo against China. When China was suffering from the SARS epidemic in 2003, leaders from other countries either cancelled or postponed their planned trips to China, but the French Prime Minister Raffarin visited China as scheduled instead. Although his trip to China took only about 40 hours in 2013, President Hollande met and talked with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a total of over 7 hours.


3. Innovation

China and France issued a joint communique on the establish-ment of diplomatic relations on January 27, 1964. France became the first Western power to establish formal diplomatic ties with China, triggering significant repercussions in the international community. At a press conference, General de Gaulle said with much confidence that “France’s recognition of China is just a realistic recognition of the world, I believe governments of other countries would follow the lead of France sooner or later.” The establishment of Sino-French diplomatic relations broke the “containment and isolation” policy adopted by the US against China since the end of WWII, thus triggering a domino effect with many US allies following France’s suit and opposing America’s hostile policy towards China. In January 1964, Canadian Prime Minister Pearson went to Washington, DC, asking the US to respond to France’s recognition of China while suggesting President Johnson take a practical stance by allowing the United Nations to accept China on the pretext of “France’s recognition of China”. In the same month, Japan declared that it would set up a permanent trade representative office in Beijing. The consecutive revolt of France, Canada and Japan—three major US allies, caused heated debates in Washington about what should be the proper policy to China. Senator Fulbright, Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered a speech to the Senate entitled “Old Myths and New Realities” on March 25th, criticizing Washington’s obstinate policy towards China. He emphasized that “the new reality should be that there are not ‘two Chinas’, but only one— the Chinese mainland ruled by communists, and it will not change for the indefinite future.” The newly-elected US President Nixon reiterated that “General de Gaulle played a substantial role in the change of the US’ China policy” in his visit to Paris in 1969.

Since the normalization of Sino-French relations, the two countries set many new records in China’s foreign relations. For instance, Air France opened up an air route from Beijing to Paris in September 1973, becoming the first European airline to fly Beijing. The then Vice President Deng Xiaoping visited France in 1975, the first official visit to a Western state by the Chinese leader. China and France signed the “Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology” in 1978, the first inter-governmental agreement on scientific and technological cooperation signed by China with a Western country. The two countries signed the agreement of cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy in 1982 --the first agreement in this field for China. The two countries issued a joint communique in 1997, deciding to forge“a comprehensive partnership facing the 21st century” between them, the first time China formed a partnership with a Western power and it was lifted to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” in 2004. The Chinese Cultural Center in Paris was opened in 2002, the first one set up by China in Western countries. From October 2003 to July 2005, a Culture Year was held in France and China in turn, inaugurating the holding of culture years between China and other countries. China and France signed an agreement on police cooperation in 2004, with China being the first non-EU state with which France signed such agreement. The two sides signed the “China-France Agreement on Legal and Judicial Assistance” in 2005, the first judicial assistance agreement China signed with an EU member state. In September 2008, the Airbus A320 Final Assembly Line in Tianjin started operation, which was the first production line Airbus built outside Europe. Nuclear power groups from China and France would soon jointly build a nuclear power plant in the UK. China deployed security forces to Mali for the first time to participate in the UN peacekeeping operation (UN peacekeeping forces in Mali consist mainly of French troops and are under French command), initiating Sino-French cooperation in a third country.


4. Strategic Orientation

China and France agreed to forge a “comprehensive partnership” in 1997 and they started conducting “strategic dialogue” since 2001. In 2004, upon the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-French diplomatic relations, both agreed to elevate their “comprehensive partnership” to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”. The founding of Sino-French strategic partnership would bring significant impact on both states and on international relations as well.

First, both the connotation and denotation of Sino-French strategic relations have been continuously enriched and broadened. Since the forging of the China-France strategic partnership, no matter how the international situation and their domestic politics have evolved, leaders of both countries have been able to perceive and handle their bilateral ties from an overall perspective and cherish their independent foreign policy while advocating multi-polarization in the world order and democratization of international relations. Meanwhile, both countries have strong will to coordinate on international affairs and at the strategic level.

The main characteristic of Sino-French relations is that it was built on the two countries’ strategic cooperation instead of economic and trading contacts or cultural exchanges since the normalization of their diplomatic relations. The meaning of Sino-French partnership has been demonstrated more apparently in the political and strategic fields than the economic and trade areas since the formation of their comprehensive partnership. The EU’s trade with China has been growing at an annual rate of 15.1% since 1997; on the contrary, Sino-French trade has been growing only at a rate of 8.4% annually. One interesting phenomenon is that, when the ranking of Sino-French trade has lowered in comparison with China’s trade with other EU member states, their political and strategic cooperation has reached an unprecedented high level, indicating that the strategic common interests between the two far outweigh their economic interests. Since the outbreak of the Iraq war, France took the lead in challenging the US’ unilateral actions, arousing Washington’s strong resentment and hostile responses towards France. China firmly supported France in its hard time. Chinese President Hu Jintao decided to accept French President Chirac’s invitation, and attended the “G8+5” summit hosted by France for the first time. France also contributed to advance the EU to take a more positive attitude towards China on the issues like human rights and Taiwan. Impelled by the formation of Sino-French strategic relations, the US, the UK, Germany and the EU have also established strategic partnerships and conducted strategic dialogues with China, opening a new page in China’s “strategic relations diplomacy”.

Second, the Sino-French strategic partnership has played a positive role in strengthening the overall development of the bilateral relations between the two countries. Since the establishment of Sino-French diplomatic relations, the two countries have experienced two major setbacks in their bilateral ties, both of which have been turned into new opportunities to strengthen and enhance their ties. The first setback happened after the “Tiananmen Incident”in 1989, when the Socialist government of France conducted “human rights diplomacy” and pressured China on issues like human rights, Tibet and arms sale to Taiwan. The two governments issued a joint communique in January 1994, in which France was committed not to sell weapons to Taiwan anymore. Since then, bilateral ties between the two developed rapidly. President Chirac stated in 1995 that he hoped that France and China could “continue dialogue based on seeking common ground while setting aside differences, respecting each other while recognizing the other’s values…and both states need to enhance cooperation and work hand in hand more than any time.” The two governments decided to overcome their differences in ideology (e.g. social systems and human rights) and short-term economic interests (arms sales to Taiwan) in order to construct a comprehensive partnership. The second setback, which occurred in 2008, caused serious difficulty in Sino-French relations, when President Sarkozy, whose country held the rotating presidency of the EU, linked the Tibet issue with his attendance of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games and met with Dalai Lama in Poland later in the year. The two countries issued a press release in April 2009, in which France reiterated its commitment to the “one China policy” and its refusal to support any form of Tibet independence. Since then, bilateral relations between the two have improved rapidly. During President Hu Jintao’s visit to France in 2010, both sides agreed to render their relationship a new boost so as to build a new type of mature, stable and comprehensive partnership geared to the world on the basis of mutual trust and reciprocal benefit.

The “China threat” theory and the “China opportunity” theory coexist in France. In general, however, France is optimistic about China’s future development and expects to cooperate with it. Therefore, the theory of “opportunity” far outgrows that of “threat”. There has been a “China craze”throughout France. Related closely with the building of Sino-French strategic partnership, this craze has worked to boost bilateral cooperation, bridge differences and enhance mutual trust and reduce suspicion. Through candid exchange of views on bilateral and major international issues of mutual concern, enhancing mutual trust while reducing suspicion, reducing the chance of misjudgment, promoting strategic coordination while avoiding “strategic contingencies”, healthy contacts between the two sides have been fostered. Sino-French cooperation in such areas as economy and trade, technology, education, culture, youth and judicial affairs has been growing rapidly. At present, France is the fourth largest trading partner of China within the EU. According to the statistics released by the General Administration of Customs of China, Sino-French trade totalled $51.02 billion in 2012, and the figure was $37.14 billion in the first three quarters of 2013. Most French companies are manufacturers with their investment in China focusing on energy, auto-making, chemical industry, light industry and food processing. By the end of August 2013, France had invested in 4,577 projects in China with actual investment volume totalling $12.77 billion. During the first eight months of 2013, the real investment of France in China registered 600 million euros, jumping by 33.3% year on year. China has set up 166 non-financial enterprises in France, with an investment leftover of $3.8 billion. There were over 35,000 Chinese students studying in France in 2012, and 8,000 French students in China. France is one of the top destinations for Chinese tourists and over 1.4 million Chinese tourists traveled to France in 2012.


Reflections on Building a New Type of Sino-French Relationship


In recent years, China’s comprehensive power and its international influence have been growing at an unprecedented rate. However, under the consecutive shocks of financial crisis and the European debt crisis, France has been experiencing economic and social hardship and the forces of protectionism are gaining ground, bringing negative impact on French foreign relations and its global influence to some extent. The balance of power between China and France has changed substantially. China’s rise would inevitably lead to the collision with foreign interests, particularly with the strategic interests of traditional powers. In the face of the new situation and new challenges, we need to contemplate how to consolidate and develop the Sino-French comprehensive strategic partnership.


1. The common beliefs ever shared by the two countries remain even though the bilateral relations are facing a new “turning point”.

For France, while actively developing relations with China, the tendencies of relying on and counterbalancing China are growing simultaneously. For the sake of pursuing its political and economic interests, France’s need of and reliance on China keep increasing. In the meantime, France’s suspicion of China’s rise has also heightened. France often criticizes China on its economic development, trade policy, Sino-African cooperation, climate change and Middle East policy. Both former President Sarkozy and the incumbent President Hollande have criticized China’s trade policy and the RMB exchange rates. In 2013, shortly after President Hollande’s visit to China, France, against the general trend in the EU, became one of the few EU states in support of launching anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation against Chinese photovoltaic products. Heightened trade protectionism by France has resulted in more interest conflicts between the two countries. As the demand for restraining and regulating China gets increasingly stronger domestically, France’s China policy is becoming less stable, but more vacillating and ambivalent.

It should be noticed that, as the “cement” of Sino-French relations, the strategic consensus and common pursuit of the two countries have not changed fundamentally. The Report to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China reiterated that China will firmly pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and participate actively in international affairs as a responsible member of the international community to seek to establish more qual and balanced partnerships for global development. As for France, Gaullism has been the basic principle of French foreign policy for all administrations. Since Hollande took office, France no longer relies heavily on its traditional allies such as the US and Germany, but seeks to maintain relative “independence”. In developing trans-Atlantic relations, Hollande has adopted a different policy towards the United States compared to his predecessors. France is not enthusiastic about the forthcoming negotiation on the US-EU free trade zone. It is concerned that, once created, it would impose strong impact on French agriculture, its intellectual property rights, especially its audio-visual products. France resumes its “freedom to act” in the EU, turning from depending heavily on the France-Germany axis to striking a balance among EU members.


2. The two countries’ expectation of strategic mutual reliance and reciprocal demand keeps increasing.

China now is at the critical stage of reform and development, therefore, consolidating and promoting relations with other countries serves as strategic priority in its endeavor to integrate domestic and international politics, maintain a healthy and stable external environment and extend its strategic opportunity period. As for France, the rise of emerging powers forebodes the prospect of the significant change in the world geopolitical and geo-economic structures. As a result, France setting large store by its strategic partnership with China, intensifying strategic reliance upon China and promoting France-China strategic cooperation have always been the mainstream of France’s China policy.

Since the Socialist Party won the Presidential election in May 2012, Leftists came to power again in France after 17 years as an opposition force. The Socialist administration values Sino-French relations. President Hollande calls for building a “stable, sustainable and predictable France-China relationship”. The first foreign envoy Hollande received after taking office was Kong Quan, the Chinese ambassador to France. Meanwhile, Hollande appointed Paul Jean-Ortiz, a China hand, as his foreign affairs advisor while sending Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius to visit China twice within one year. Hollande paid his first state visit to Beijing in April 2013, the first state leader of a Western power received by China’s new leadership. Leaders from both countries attached great importance to Hollande’s visit. As was stated in the “Sino-French Joint Press Communique”, “China-France relationship is extremely important, and it sets a model for two countries with different social systems and cultural traditions to coexist peacefully and pursue mutual benefit, cooperation and joint development.” Though he stayed in China just for 40 hours, Hollande’s first visit to China bore more fruits than expected.

First, the connotation and direction of Sino-French strategic partnership were further clarified. Leaders from both sides stressed the priority of the strategic relations between the two countries, which was a boost to the building of mutual strategic trust between the two. They pledged to advocate multi-polarization process and plural development, work together to promote reforms of the global political, economic and financial systems and exchange views on global and regional hotspot issues of their respective concerns.

Second, the two states sought to build a new type of economic and trade partnership. China and France have a solid foundation for cooperation in some traditional sectors. In areas such as civilian use of nuclear energy, aviation, high-speed railway construction and auto industry, etc., they have engaged in cooperation for more than a decade, with the cooperation in nuclear energy for three decades long. The two are highly complementary in some new sectors as well. For instance, France has advanced technologies in food safety, health care, environment protection, sustainable development and urban construction, etc., for which China has huge demand. Meanwhile, China has a big foreign exchange reserve and invests actively abroad, it is also implementing “Go Global”strategy for Chinese enterprises. This meets the pressing demand of France and other European countries for addressing the debt crisis, attracting foreign investment and creating new job opportunities.

Third, the full cooperation between the two was fully displayed. The two governments signed more than 10 agreements to boost cooperation in such fields as technological innovation, environment protection, urban sustainable development, cultural exchange, tourism, nuclear energy, electricity, aviation, financial insurance, food processing and food safety, including a memorandum for China to purchase 60 Airbus passenger planes. The two countries also signed a long-term agreement to strengthen cooperation on the research and development of advanced nuclear reactors, nuclear fuel sharing, and operation and upgrading of nuclear power stations. Both agreed to set up a mechanism for high-level economic, fiscal and financial dialogue and enhance bilateral cooperation in railway construction, modern agriculture, industrial energy saving, new energy, urbanization, medical care and digital economy. Both sides confirmed they would deepen cooperation in culture, education, medical care and tourism as well.


3. To actively explore the potential of building a new type of China-France relations.

Facing the change of the times, China and France should push despite difficulties to enhance mutual trust and reduce suspicion; they should consolidate and intensify the political, economic, social, cultural and public opinion bases of the Sino-French strategic relationship, and explore new areas and new highlight of bilateral ties and jointly build a new type of relations among major powers. The following three basic elements should be taken into account for the building of a new type of bilateral relations between two major powers.

First, the two should respect the core and strategic interests of each other. In terms of the new situation, new features and new problems in Sino-French relations, both sides should transcend their differences in ideology and social systems while maintaining and enhancing the similarity, closeness, innovation and strategic orientation, which have been inherited from history and forged in the past 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. They should also highlight the similarity between different systems and their common interests, respect each other’s strategic and core interests and tackle various sensitive issues soberly with objectivity and rationality. China should value France’s security concerns over its peripheral regions such as Africa and the Middle East, while the French side should also understand and support China’s policies on its surrounding areas. They should seek mutual benefit and win-win result through dialogue and cooperation and avoid harms to their overall interests resulted from their competition and frictions in specific issues areas. China recently sent security forces to attend the UN peacekeeping operation in Mali for the first time, and participated in the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali under the command of French troops, thus initiating a new mode of Sino-French cooperation in Africa.

Second, the two should balance their interests to consolidate the material bases of bilateral cooperation. Both China and France now are at the critical stage of deepening reform and accelerating economic transformation. China has been trying to expand domestic demand and increase imports while encouraging its enterprises to “Go Global”, whereas the EU has put forward the “Europe 2020”growth strategy aiming to walk out of the debt crisis and enhance the EU’s competitiveness. French President Hollande adopts pragmatic China policy, advocating “economic diplomacy” with “diplomacy serving the economy”. All these strategies have opened new room for China and France to solidify the basis for Sino-French economic and trade cooperation, expand bilateral trade, promote two-way investment, deepen their cooperation in traditional sectors and expand cooperation in new areas such as urbanization, food safety, sustainable development, environment protection. The Guangdong Nuclear Power Group of China, in cooperation with Electricite De France (EDF), will soon start building a nuclear power station in the Southwestern corner of the UK—Hinckley, this would be a new highlight in Sino-French cooperation at a third country.

Third, the two should enhance communication and cooperation in multilateral and global governance. Both countries should seize the opportunity to explore the connections of the “China dream” and the “France dream” with multi-polarization. They should jointly promote multi-polarization process, the diversified development, and the reform of international political, economic and financial systems and global government. Both states should have regular consultation on global and regional issues of common concern and enrich the Sino-French strategic dialogue mechanism and the mechanism for high-level fiscal and financial dialogue, to build a more inclusive, consistent and stable Sino-French strategic relationship.


III. Conclusion


As a core member of the EU, the consolidation of Sino-French relationship is conducive to the development of Sino-EU relations and of international relations. On the occasion of the two countries celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-French diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of the formation of their comprehensive strategic partnership, and the pending visit by President Xi Jinping to France in the spring of 2014, bilateral relations between the two countries will reach a new climax and enter into a new phase, effectively boosting the building and development of Sino-French comprehensive strategic partnership.


Source: China International Studies January/February 2014 p45-63

[1]Ju Yi is an associate research fellow at China Institute of International Studies.