In times of adversity, the greatest strength comes from cooperation and the most effective way to overcome the difficulties is through solidarity, President Xi Jinping stressed in his speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference last week.
That appeal was again to the fore in the message President Xi sent to Emmanuel Macron on Monday congratulating him on his re-election as French president.
Saying that stable and healthy relations between China and France have increasing strategic significance and their win-win cooperation benefits people in both countries and the whole world, President Xi was among the first group of world leaders to send a congratulatory message to Macron, highlighting the special place France holds in China's diplomacy.
Thanks to efforts from both sides, bilateral ties showed great promise during Macron's first five years, through the enhancing of mutual respect and the deepening of cooperation in many fields, including in technology, agriculture, aviation and nuclear energy. In 2021, bilateral trade hit new highs to top $80 billion, as China's imports of agricultural products from France increased by 40 percent year-on-year.
With the world grappling with multiple challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukraine crisis and climate change, China and France have everything to gain from maintaining the positive, healthy and upward trajectory of their bilateral ties.
Deepening China-France cooperation could also contribute to the healthy development of China's ties with the European Union and Europe at large.
As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and staunch supporters of multilateralism, China and France share similar views on many pressing global and regional issues, and have actively pushed for concerted efforts to address issues such as the Iranian nuclear deal.
Sharing the belief that countries should not come to the point of meeting on the battlefield, the two countries have also thrown their weight behind diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine at an early date, urging the warring parties to resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiation. The conflict has reinforced the need for the strategic autonomy of the European Union that Macron has been advocating for.
As a country that has always viewed China-France ties from a strategic and forward-looking perspective, China is ready to work with the French side to push bilateral cooperation to a new level.
Xi and Macron have maintained contact in various ways during the pandemic, and relations between China and France have made new progress based on the consensuses they have reached. Enhancing their close communication and coordination on major issues will help maintain the direction of the China-France relationship and inject more stability into the world.