PARIS, April 23 (Xinhua) -- China and France should further upgrade the level of bilateral cooperation based on the existing sound relationship, said former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.
Fascinated by Chinese culture and history, the former French leader is quite a "China hand" who has not only witnessed but also been dedicated to the friendship between the two countries.
France-China relations have been good or very good over the long run, Giscard d'Estaing said, tracing back the days when General Charles de Gaulle repelled various disagreements to recognize the People's Republic of China in 1964.
"We share a rather similar international vision, based on common principles," he said.
The former French leader urged that France and China, both globally influential countries, should maintain frequent contact and exchanges, deepen their ties on different domains and expand diplomatic, cultural and commercial cooperations.
Politically, "China and France can play a positive role within the United Nations" as permanent members of the UN Security Council and as influence wielders, according to Giscard d'Estaing.
"France is naturally more in contact with Europeans, and to a certain extent with Africans. China, on the other hand, is in contact with Southeast Asia. Each country has its own experience. But they both need to have direct links, to search together for solutions and to avoid the formation of hostile groups," underlined Giscard d'Estaing.
On bilateral trade, the former president noted its lack of balance.
"We do not sell enough in China. We have many companies which have set up subsidiary firms in China and which manufacture there, but there is more to be done. We therefore need to look at the reasons and means which would make it possible to do better," he said.
For Giscard d'Estaing, it would benefit both French and Chinese economies to see more productive investments made by China on French soil.
"It is productive investments that we need, that is to say Chinese firms which manufacture in France, either by buying a French asset or by creating a production tool in France," added the French politician.
As for cultural and people-to-people exchanges, he advocated the development of French and Chinese language teaching in schools and universities of each country. "I am impressed by the good quality of French teaching that is provided in China," he said.
"French-speaking Chinese do so very fluently, without accent and with a great richness of vocabulary, and moreover, they read French literature," he added.
The 87-year-old former head of state welcomed the "Chinese Dream," the ambition that Chinese President Xi Jinping has interpreted as the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Giscard d'Estaing wished that France would develop very close ties with this oncoming China.
Giscard d'Estaing is a French centrist politician and a member of the Constitutional Council of France. He served as French president from 1974 to 1981.