An article signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping titled “Carrying forward the spirit that guided the establishment of China-France diplomatic relations, working together for global peace and development” was published Sunday in the French newspaper Le Figaro after his arrival in Paris for a state visit. To France.

Here is the full text of his article.

Carrying forward the spirit that guided the establishment of China-France diplomatic relations, working together for global peace and development

Xi Jinping

President of the People’s Republic of China

I am pleased to make my third state visit to France, at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron.

France has a special fascination for us Chinese. This country has produced a galaxy of philosophers, writers and artists with global appeal who have inspired all of humanity. More than 150 years ago, French citizens helped China found the Fujian Naval Shipyard and the Fujian Naval Academy. France was also the first country to welcome government-sponsored Chinese students. A century ago, several young Chinese traveled to France to continue their studies. Some of these young patriots made notable contributions to the founding and development of New China. France was also the first major Western country to establish formal diplomatic relations with New China.

The year 2024 has a special meaning. I will visit France bringing with me three messages from China.

—China will work with France to carry forward the spirit that guided the establishment of their diplomatic ties, build on past achievements and open up new prospects for China-France relations.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of China-France relations. Six decades ago, General Charles de Gaulle, with a strategic vision based on the trends of the time, decided to establish diplomatic relations with New China. It was not easy to make this independent decision at the height of the Cold War, but it proved to be wise and far-sighted. With the establishment of China-France relations, a communication bridge was built between East and West, and international relations were able to evolve towards dialogue and cooperation.

In these six decades, China-France relations have kept up with the times. Our two countries have taken the lead in establishing a comprehensive strategic partnership and launching institutional strategic dialogue in China’s relations with Western countries. We lead cooperation in aviation and nuclear energy and in third-party markets. We were among the first to mutually open cultural centers and initiate cultural year activities, providing guidance for mutual learning between civilizations. China-France cooperation contributed to the conclusion of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, strongly boosting the implementation of the global climate agenda.

History is our best teacher. We live in a world that is far from peaceful and is once again facing a multitude of risks. China stands ready to work with France in the spirit that guided the establishment of our diplomatic ties to forge a stronger comprehensive strategic partnership between our two countries and make new contributions to stronger global community cooperation.

—China will further open up to the world and deepen cooperation with France and other countries.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. Over 75 years of hard and persevering work, the Chinese people transformed China from an impoverished country into the world’s second largest economy. Several hundred million people in rural areas were lifted out of poverty, a miracle in human history. The Chinese economy recorded growth of 5.2 percent in 2023 and is expected to grow by around 5 percent in 2024, with further progress towards high-quality development. China will continue to be a source of global growth and create opportunities for all countries.

One thing that made China’s development possible was our firm commitment to openness. We welcome more quality French agricultural products and cosmetics into the Chinese market to meet the Chinese people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. We welcome investment from French companies and other countries in China. To this end, we have fully opened up China’s industrial sector and will move more quickly to expand market access for telecommunications, medical services and other services. We also have a 15-day visa-free policy for visitors from many countries, including France, and have taken additional measures to facilitate travel and payments for foreigners in China.

While opening up, China is also encouraging Chinese companies to go global. France is advancing reindustrialization based on green innovation, while China is accelerating the development of new quality productive forces. Our two countries can deepen innovation cooperation and jointly promote green development. Some Chinese companies have set up battery factories in France. The Chinese government supports more Chinese companies to invest in France. And we hope that France will ensure that they operate in a fair and equitable business environment.

—China will strengthen communication and coordination with France to uphold world peace and stability.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Seven decades ago, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai first laid out in full the five principles – “mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit , and peaceful coexistence.” Over 70 years, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have been widely accepted and recognized by countries around the world. They have become an important norm governing contemporary international relations.

China has faithfully practiced the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. In the more than 70 years since its founding, New China has never provoked a war or occupied an inch of foreign land. China is the only country in the world that includes in its Constitution a commitment to the path of peaceful development, and China is the only country among the major nuclear weapons states that is committed to not first using nuclear weapons.

In recent years I have proposed the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative. As part of China’s efforts to help improve global governance and resolve difficult human development issues, the three initiatives have gained support from more than 100 countries and international organizations.

China understands the repercussions of the Ukrainian crisis on the people of Europe. China did not start the crisis in Ukraine, nor is it a party or participant in it. However, China has played a constructive role in the struggle for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. I made many calls, among others, observing the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, and addressing the legitimate security concerns of all parties. I stressed that nuclear weapons must not be used and that a nuclear war must not be fought. China has delivered many shipments of humanitarian aid to Ukraine and has often sent its special representative to mediate between the countries involved. The longer the crisis in Ukraine drags on, the greater the damage it will cause to Europe and the world. China hopes that peace and stability will return to Europe as soon as possible. We are ready to work with France and the entire international community to find a reasonable way out of the crisis.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict also touches our hearts. The fundamental solution lies in the establishment of an independent State of Palestine. History has repeatedly demonstrated that the recurrent Palestine-Israel problem is essentially rooted in the failure to effectively implement relevant UN resolutions, the continued erosion of the foundations of the two-state solution and the derailment of the Middle East peace process. China and France have a lot in common on the Palestine-Israel issue. It is therefore essential that we strengthen cooperation and help restore peace in the Middle East.

Confucius noted that “a man of true moral integrity is one who is friendly but independent, and who does not compromise his principles, and who is independent without any prejudice or taking sides. How unshakably steadfast is he in his strength!” French writer Romain Rolland said that “it is much easier to let yourself be guided than to think for yourself. This abdication is the essence of evil.” Both China and France value independence as two great countries. Our interactions throughout history have released tremendous energy that has rocked the trajectory of the world. Now we are at another historical starting point. Let’s join hands in this new journey towards greater progress in China-France relations for the benefit of our two countries and the world!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *