French President’s China visit is of high significance

Indeed, French President Emmanuel Macron’s China visit is seen as a significant step in strengthening ties between Europe and China, and it could have far-reaching impact on regional and global politics. One of the major outcomes of Macron’s visit was the emphasis on enhancing cooperation between China and the European Union. The EU and China have had some good relations in recent years. However, Macron’s visit signaled a renewed effort to address these issues and work towards a more constructive relationship.

China is a major player in international politics, and its stance on this issue can have significant implications for the global order. By calling for a political settlement to the Ukrainian crisis, China is indicating its desire to play a constructive role in resolving international conflicts and maintaining global stability.

Overall, Macron’s visit to China has the potential to contribute positively to EU-China relations, regional and global politics, and the resolution of international conflicts.

BILATERAL COOPERATION

It is clear from the statements made by both leaders that the bilateral ties between France and China will be strengthened further in various fields of cooperation. Both countries have expressed their commitment to maintaining close communication and holding meetings under the three high-level dialogue mechanisms, which include the strategic dialogue, economic and financial dialogue, and people-to-people exchanges.

China has expressed its willingness to deepen cooperation with France in sectors such as agriculture, food, space, aviation, and civil nuclear energy. Additionally, China has identified new cooperation areas, including trade in services, green development, and innovation in science and technology. China has also expressed its desire to support the joint development of a carbon neutrality center and joint cultivation of talents.

France has acknowledged the mutual benefits achieved through wide-ranging cooperation with China, despite differences in their development models. France has expressed its readiness to work with China on the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Both countries have also emphasized the importance of economic and trade cooperation, which has not only contributed to the economic development of both countries but has also improved people’s well-being and contributed to the stability of the global economy.

Finally, both leaders have stressed the need to remain open, inclusive, and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation while upholding independence and safeguarding common interests to promote the common development of the world. The improved relations between China and France are likely to have a positive impact not only on bilateral ties but also on regional and global politics.

SETTLEMENT OF UKRAINE CRISIS

It is significant that Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the ongoing Ukraine crisis during their meeting. Xi reiterated China’s consistent and clear position on the issue, which is to facilitate peace talks and a political settlement. He expressed China’s willingness to issue a joint call with France for the international community to exercise restraint and avoid actions that might cause the crisis to further deteriorate or spiral out of control.

Xi also emphasized the importance of strictly abiding by international humanitarian law, avoiding attacks on civilians or civilian facilities, and protecting women, children, and other victims of the conflict. He called for the resumption of peace talks as soon as possible, observing the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, accommodating the legitimate security concerns of all parties, and fostering a balanced, effective, and sustainable European security architecture.

Macron shared France’s view on the issue and commended China’s important role in the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. France also calls for the resumption of political negotiations and a settlement of the crisis through diplomatic means to achieve lasting peace in Europe. Macron expressed the hope to increase communication and make joint efforts with China toward peace.

It is noteworthy that both leaders have expressed their commitment to working together to reduce the negative impact of the Ukraine crisis on the world, especially on developing countries, in areas such as food, energy, finance, and transportation. The joint call by China and France for the international community to exercise restraint and work towards a peaceful settlement of the crisis could have a significant impact on the regional and global politics.

FUTURE OF CHINA-EU TIES

On the same day, Xi held a trilateral meeting with Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Beijing.

Xi pointed out that China and the EU share extensive common interests. Cooperation and common ground between the two sides outweigh competition and differences. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. China is prepared to work with the EU to fully resume exchanges at all levels and revitalize mutually-beneficial cooperation in various fields, thus injecting fresh impetus into China-EU relations and global peace, stability and prosperity.

Xi called on China and the EU to jointly uphold global stability and prosperity, and stand against hegemonies, unilateralism and attempts to decouple economies or sever supply chains.

He said the two sides need to step up macroeconomic and financial policy communication and coordination, deepen their green partnership, and increase dialogue and cooperation on green financing, environment-friendly technologies and clean energy.

Von der Leyen said the EU and China are each other’s important trading partners and the two economies are highly intertwined. Decoupling from China is neither in the EU’s interests nor the EU’s strategic choice. The EU sets its China policy independently. It would like to restart the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue and advance steady and balanced growth of economic and trade ties with China for mutual benefit.

Macron said the EU and China should work with each other to stay away from the trap of economic decoupling and severing supply chains, carry out mutually-beneficial cooperation on an equal footing, tackle pressing global challenges such as climate change, and keep deepening the EU-China comprehensive strategic partnership.

It is true that many EU countries are seeking to deepen their ties with China and increase cooperation in various fields. While there may be challenges and differences between the two sides, it is important for them to maintain open communication and work towards mutual understanding and respect. This will contribute to global harmony, development, and prosperity, as well as advance the goals of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership.

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.