BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on Wednesday agreed to deepen cooperation between China and France, as well as to advance China-EU relations.
In a telephone conversation in the afternoon, Macron conveyed new spring greetings to Xi and the Chinese people for the Year of the Tiger, and extended congratulations on the splendid and successful opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Noting that it is a quite demanding task for China to host the event as scheduled under the current circumstances, he said the French side has always supported and will continue to fully support the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
The Chinese president extended new spring greetings to Macron and the French people, and offered congratulations on the achievements of French athletes.
Xi pointed out that the fact that the Beijing Winter Olympics has unfolded smoothly as scheduled demonstrates that the international community yearns for peace, unity and progress.
He recalled that in 2021 he and Macron held two phone conversations, attended two China-France-Germany video summits, and actively promoted the development of bilateral ties.
Those efforts have yielded fruitful results, he said, noting that bilateral trade exceeded 80 billion U.S. dollars last year, and China's total imports of agricultural products from France increased by 40 percent year on year.
The first China-France seminars on artificial intelligence and agri-tech cooperation were held in succession, and the first guidelines for collecting joint laboratory projects were released as scheduled, he added, pointing out that all those efforts were of pioneering significance.
In the new year, Xi said, China and France should keep up with the positive, healthy and upward trajectory, adhere to the principle of mutual respect and equality, strengthen dialogue and exchanges at all levels, enhance mutual understanding and trust, and push for new achievements in bilateral cooperation.
He noted that since taking over the rotating EU presidency this year, France has made quite some efforts to enhance solidarity within the bloc and strengthen Europe's strategic autonomy.
Xi said he has repeatedly stressed that China and the EU should uphold a correct understanding of each other, and stick to mutual respect, dialogue and cooperation, and mutual benefit.
The two sides should work together to build the greatest common ground and steer China-EU relations towards new development, he added.
China, he said, stands ready to work with France to make a success of the China-EU leaders' meeting and the new round of high-level dialogues on strategic, economic and trade, green, digital and people-to-people affairs, and advance the ratification and implementation of the China-EU investment agreement, so as to bring tangible benefits to the people on both sides.
Macron said that as the current international situation is fraught with tension and turbulence, such a backdrop has strengthened France's hope to deepen its comprehensive strategic partnership with China.
France, he added, is satisfied with the major achievements the two countries have made over recent years in bilateral cooperation in such fields as technology, agriculture, aviation and nuclear energy.
He said his country is ready to work with China to explore ways to overcome the impact of COVID-19, strengthen personnel exchanges, enhance friendship and mutual trust, and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation.
During its EU presidency in the first half of this year, France will make every effort to advance the positive agenda between the EU and China, and work with China to ensure the success of the EU-China leaders' meeting and push forward the development of EU-China relations, he added.
The French president also expressed his hope for progress in the ratification and implementation of the EU-China investment agreement.
The two heads of state reached multiple important agreements on bilateral cooperation for the next stage.
First, push for early implementation of cooperation on agricultural technology and between agricultural industries with local advantages. The Chinese side encourages more French agrifood enterprises that meet China's requirements to register in China.
Second, deepen the China-France green manufacturing partnership initiative and each provide a fair, equitable and non-discriminatory business environment for enterprises from the other country.
Third, support more French banks and financial infrastructure in joining the RMB Cross-Border Interbank Payment System. The Chinese side will review in a positive manner French banks' applications for financial qualifications in accordance with relevant procedures and standards.
Fourth, support aviation enterprises of the two countries in deepening cooperation in various forms, and promote mutual airworthiness certification for aircraft.
Fifth, accelerate the implementation of the list of the fourth batch of demonstration projects in third-party market cooperation.
Sixth, hold the space and cyber sub-group meetings of the China-France Strategic Dialogue at an early date, carry out polar and maritime dialogues, and strengthen military dialogue and exchanges at all levels.
Macron presented his view on the current situation in Ukraine.
Xi stressed that related parties should stick to the general direction of political settlement, make full use of multilateral platforms including the Normandy format, and seek a comprehensive settlement of the Ukraine issue through dialogue and consultation.
The two sides also exchanged views on other issues of mutual concern. ■