Chinese President Xi Jinping offered to “open new horizons” to give a boost to Sino-French relations, days after French President Emmanuel Macron's high-level visit to India during which the two countries unveiled an ambitious defense roadmap along with intensifying defense cooperation. The strategic Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific region.
Macron's visit to India also coincided with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France.
In his message on the occasion, Xi said, “As today's world once again stands at a critical crossroads, China and France must jointly forge a path of peace, security, prosperity and progress for human development.”
Xi said China attaches great importance to the development of bilateral relations, and he is willing to work with Macron to seize the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations as “an opportunity to uphold basic principles, open new horizons, build on past achievements, and open a new future.” future, and make the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France more solid and dynamic.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China has offered to increase French imports to the country.
“We will continue to unleash consumer and investment market demand, and continue to expand the import of high-quality products and services from France,” he said, expressing the hope that France will also provide Chinese enterprises with a fair, just and predictable business environment.
Read | French President Emmanuel Macron meets with Xi Jinping in Beijing
China gives priority to relations with France, as Macron pushes Europe to become a third bloc, and a balancing force between the United States and China.
Hailing the Sino-French relations, Chinese state media called for strengthening cooperation in high-tech fields.
“Scientific and technological cooperation between France and China has been the cornerstone of their relations. From the aerospace and nuclear industry to renewable energy, the two countries have made great strides in joint research and development,” the state-run China Daily said in an editorial.
President Macron was the sixth leader from France to be the chief guest at India's 75th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26.
Beijing has cautiously watched Macron's visit to India, with Paris emerging as a key defense partner for New Delhi amid efforts by the United States and the European Union to court India as a counterweight to confronting China.
Following Macron's talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the two countries unveiled an ambitious defense industrial roadmap to co-develop vital military equipment along with enhancing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, a key area of concern for China.
“The defense and security partnership is the cornerstone of the Indo-France partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, which includes a comprehensive set of bilateral, multinational, regional and institutional initiatives, especially in the Indian Ocean region,” the joint statement issued after Macron’s visit said. A visit to India.
“They also agreed to intensify their cooperation in the southwest Indian Ocean, building on the joint surveillance missions carried out from the French island of Reunion in 2020 and 2022,” the statement read.
Intensifying cooperation between India and France in the Indian Ocean is worrying China as it tries to make forays into India's backyard.
The United States, India and many other global powers are discussing the need to ensure a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region against the backdrop of increasing Chinese military maneuvers in the resource-rich region.
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