BEIJING — China has always advocated multipolarization of the world and will firmly uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Nov 20.
In a phone conversation with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Wang said that this year has seen the development of China-France relations against the odds of COVID-19.
The fact that Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron have talked on phone on several occasions and have recently attended the third Paris Peace Forum to jointly uphold multilateralism and promote international cooperation fully demonstrates the high-level mutual trust between the two leaders and the high-level comprehensive strategic cooperation between the two countries, Wang said.
It has also shown the responsibility of China and France, as two major countries, to jointly meet global challenges, which has had a positive impact on the world.
China is relieved to see that after a rebound, the COVID-19 situation in France has improved, Wang said, expressing the belief that under the leadership of Macron, the French government and people will prevail over the epidemic.
China has recently noticed Macron's call for the European Union (EU) to adhere to its strategic independence, which reflects France's diplomatic tradition of independence and is in line with the fundamental and long-term interests of Europe, Wang said.
China has always advocated having a multi-polar world and supported Europe to stay independent and self-reliant as a pole of the world, Wang said, adding that this is China's consistent strategic thinking.
China and the EU have different social systems, which are the choices made by the people of both sides based on their unique historical and cultural traditions, Wang said.
France was the first major country in the West to establish formal diplomatic relations with China and has a better understanding of China's historic changes as well as its reform and development process, Wang said.
Mutual respect is crucial for China-France relations to overcome difficulties and maintain the momentum of development, Wang said, noting that the two sides should continue to carry forward this tradition, treat each other's differences in an open and inclusive manner, and accommodate each other's legitimate concerns.
As a defender of the current international order, China will firmly safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core and practice the basic norms of international relations in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, Wang said.
China has always followed the path of peaceful development and achieved its own development through mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation with other countries, Wang said, adding China has enshrined in its Constitution its commitment to peaceful development and will continue seeking peaceful development.
For his part, Le Drian expressed his heartfelt thanks to Xi for attending the third Paris Peace Forum via video link, which showed his strong support for France.
France highly values the anti-epidemic cooperation between the two sides and is willing to maintain close high-level contacts with China to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields; France also firmly supports multilateralism and has always believed that the EU and China should develop friendly relations based on the principles of mutual respect and trust, he said.
The French side maintains that no matter how the international situation changes, the EU will not alter its position on strategic autonomy, he added.
The two sides agreed to strengthen communication and coordination, actively prepare for the next stage of high-level exchanges between the two, deepen civil nuclear energy cooperation, continue to support each other, and ensure the successful holding of the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming as well as the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress in France's third largest city Marseille.
The two sides also exchanged views on advancing the negotiation of the China-EU Investment treaty. Both sides believe that it is in the interests of China and the EU to speed up the completion of the negotiation, agreeing to reach an agreement as soon as possible through consultation.