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France optimistic on cooperation, says ambassador

By Yan Dongjie and Pan Mengqi | China Daily Europe | Updated: 2017-10-20 08:33

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will help strengthen cooperation between France and China, says the French ambassador.

Speaking in Beijing on Oct 12, Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert said France is interested in the decisions made at the congress because "it will determine China's international policy in the next five years and set a new framework for the China-Europe cooperation".

According to the ambassador, human exchanges, environmental protection and international trade and investment are areas that France is most concerned with.

France optimistic on cooperation, says ambassador

In terms of human communication, Ripert said he hopes that over the next five years, China can further promote exchanges between students, researchers and teachers.

"This kind of exchange will not only help improve the quality of education in both countries, but also raise the international rankings of institutions of the two countries," Ripert said.

The ambassador noted that, at present, 37,000 Chinese are studying in France.

"They come to France not only to learn the language, but also to study French technology, as France has considerable influence in science and technology," Ripert said. He added that, as China has become a major economy and an innovative nation in technology, more French are studying in China.

"France-China cooperation has played an important role in the Paris Climate Change Conference. I believe that China will continue to stick to protecting the environment."

In the field of environmental protection, Ripert said he hopes China will continue to follow the road of sustainable development and strengthen cooperation with France in the future.

In January, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, proposing to increase trade liberalization and globalization.

Ripert said that French President Emmanuel Macron's recent speech at the United Nations also stressed the benefits of multilateralism and globalization in international trade.

"After the congress, I think China and France can discuss this issue together and jointly push forward cooperation in international trade," he said.

Ripert also said China and France can work together under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

"China has its advantages in financing. It has ample foreign exchange reserves, which makes China capable of financing many projects."

The ambassador emphasized China's ability to finance mega projects and said some institutions in France are preparing to work with China. For example, the French Development Agency and Bpifrance are also willing to support Chinese projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Ripert noted that France sent representatives to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May. It is also one of the initial countries that decided to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

"The current world is full of uncertainty, yet China and the EU are two stable poles," Ripert said, adding that cooperation between China and France could benefit the world.

Ripert said preparatory work for President Macron's visit to China has begun. The visit is tentatively scheduled for January.

Ripert also said a series of ministerial visits are being planned for the end of this year. At the end of November, Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong and French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will preside over a high-level cultural exchange between China and France. Chinese Vice-Premier Ma Kai will meet with French Minister of the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire for a dialogue in investment and trade. In December, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and French foreign policy adviser Philippe Etienne will also hold a dialogue on Sino-French relations.

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(China Daily European Weekly 10/20/2017 page8)

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