Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with President of the French National Assembly Claude Bartolone in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 23, 2014.(Xinhua/Zhang Duo)
BEIJING, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Speaker of French National Assembly Claude Bartolone here on Thursday, calling for a closer relationship between the two countries.
Recalling the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France half a century ago, Xi said the two countries will hold a string of activities to celebrate the historic event and that Bartolone's visit is a good way to kick-off for the celebration.
In 1964, despite all kinds of barriers, Chairman Mao Zedong and General Charles de Gaulle took the groundbreaking decision to establish ambassador-level diplomatic ties. France thus became the first major western power to set up official diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.
During Thursday's meeting, Xi said he hopes China and France will take advantage of the celebration to make 2014 a real "China-France Year" and open a new chapter in the bilateral relationship.
Talking on the future of the bilateral ties, Xi said China and France should respect and trust each other, treat their relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective, and respect each other's core interests and major concerns to make the bilateral relationship even more stable and predictable.
He proposed China and France fully tap the potential for cooperation in nuclear energy, aeronautics and astronautics, urbanization, energy saving, and environmental protection, among others, in pursuit of reciprocal and win-win results.
The two should also take their due international responsibility for promoting multi-polarization and democracy of international relations, safeguarding the outcomes of WWII as well as the hard won world peace, enhance communication and coordination in international affairs and make joint efforts to address global challenges, said the Chinese president.
Xi also called on the two sides to increase people-to-people exchanges to make the China-France friendship more sustainable.
Bartolone said the French side pays great attention to China's reform and measures for development over the past year, and highly appreciates China's increasing role in the world.
Saying he agrees to President Xi's proposals on the bilateral relationship, the speaker noted that the French government, parliament, and political parties all cherish the relationship with China.
The French National Assembly stands ready to work together with the Chinese side to make more contribution to the practical cooperation between the two countries in trade, environmental protection, tourism and other fields, Bartolone said.