by Zheng Kaijun
BEIJING, March 25 (Xinhua) -- At the annual Chinese Spring Festival gala on Jan. 30, French star Sophie Marceau, in an elegant red long dress, performed Edith Piaf's La Vie En Rose with Chinese musician Liu Huan.
The beautiful duet is a vivid embodiment of the blossomy China-France relationship. Just three days before the show was the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Fifty days after that, Chinese President Xi Jinping is now set to further consolidate bilateral amity by visiting the first major Western country that forged formal ties with the People's Republic of China in 1964.
Indeed, the friendship between the two permanent members of the UN Security Council is an example of candid and constructive relations between Eastern and Western countries in the modern world.
Frequent high-level visits, various people-to-people exchanges and prolific cooperation in such areas as nuclear energy, aviation and automobile manufacturing have bonded the two countries and peoples closer.
In a historical rarity, France's president and prime minister both visited China last year. In April, President Francois Hollande signed with China a major Airbus jets deal. Eight months later, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault vowed in China to facilitate bilateral cooperation in civilian nuclear power and to simplify visa procedures for Chinese citizens traveling to France.
As Xi arrives in Lyon on Tuesday and kicks off a state visit to France, the China-France relationship is presented with a golden opportunity to move further forward.
In order to achieve a more friendly, fruitful and resilient relationship, the two sides need to bear in mind that mutual respect is an indispensable component of friendship.
China-France ties went astray when Paris decided to sell arms to Taiwan in the early 1990s, and when former French President Nicolas Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama in 2008 while his country chaired the European Union.
Fortunately, the overall development of the China-France relations has been kept in the right direction.
As colorful cultural events are being held throughout the year to commemorate the milestone in China-France relations, Beijing and Paris are walking hand in hand into a new era of bilateral interaction.
To that end, more patience, more wisdom, more respect and more mutual understanding are of the essence.