Strategic observation

Interview: Breakthroughs made during Macron's visit to China: French expert

2018-01-11 10:58:18 (Beijing Time)         English.news.cn

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PARIS, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Economic, cultural and strategic breakthroughs have been made in the relationship between Beijing and Paris following French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to China, which concluded Wednesday, a French specialist in international relations has said.

"Besides agreements in such strategic sectors as nuclear power, electricity and aeronautics signed Tuesday between China and France, it should be noted that breakthroughs have been made in areas that go beyond the traditional fields of cooperation and other perspectives been have opened up," Emmanuel Dupuy, president of the Institute for European Prospective and Security, told Xinhua in an interview.

During his three-day visit to China, the French president not only visited the Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors, but also witnessed the signing of a number of significant business agreements by French and Chinese enterprises in various sectors.

Dupuy attributed the success of Macron's visit to "good timing," as he was the first European leader to visit China after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, who "reaps the benefits of an entirely favorable agenda."

The expert underlined a memorandum signed by French power group New Areva and China National Nuclear Corporation on a multi-billion-euro project to build a Chinese reprocessing plant for used nuclear materials.

The new project, along with China's two Taishan reactors built together with New Areva, shows that the France-China cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear energy can be very productive, he said.

The partnership in the agri-food sector is particularly beneficial to China, France and the European Union, since China is the largest importer of European agricultural products, and accounts for 10 percent of the world's arable land and is home to 20 percent of the world's population, Dupuy added.

In the retail sector alone, French companies in China cover a wide range of businesses, from luxury group LVMH to sporting goods supplier Decathlon and grocery retailers such as Auchan and Carrefour.

Expanding cooperation in e-commerce could to be the next step, after Chinese online retail giants JD.com and Alibaba announced during Macron's visit that they would sell more French products on their platforms and create logistic centers in France.

"These are very clear signs of mutual interests of the two countries in this booming sector," said Dupuy.

He noted progress in bilateral cultural cooperation, including plans to bring France's iconic Pompidou Center for Contemporary Art to Shanghai, and to carry out joint archaeological projects. "More French politicians are interested in China, but the dynamism doesn't only exist at the state level. The cooperation between France and China now involves many actors," said the expert.