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Why Is Hollande Visiting China?
French president looks to promote environmental issues ahead of Paris climate conference
Edited by Li Fangfang | Web Exclusive


French President Francois Hollande (FILE)

French President Francois Hollande will start his state visit to China on November 2-3 following German Chancellor Angela Merkel's eighth visit on October 29-30. Hollande will mainly discuss carbon emission and environmental protection issues with Chinese leaders ahead of the United Nations (UN) climate conference in Paris in December.

Before their leaders' visits, the French and German ambassadors to China jointly published an article in People's Daily , China's flagship newspaper, stating that, "Today's action for the climate is key to our common future. France and Germany firmly believe that the world must develop a sustainable way, green and low-carbon."

This year's UN climate conference in Paris will make a global action framework aimed at increasing compatibility between development and nature. The goal is to control the temperature increase within two degrees Celsius of the Earth's temperature based on the temperature during the Industrial Revolution by establishing a "Paris Climate Federation", according to the People's Daily  article.

During his China visit, Hollande will discuss the preparation work for the upcoming Paris climate conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He shared his opinions this September on the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference. He thinks the leaders' meeting should convene at the beginning of the conference, rather than the end. "It's hard to lobby and make decisions since it's too late for some discussions," he said. He hopes that country leaders can arrive in Paris in the first week of the Paris conference to help give full authorization to the panels.

So far, a total of 149 countries, including developed and developing countries, have submitted a paper on their national contribution to combating climate change that lays out their efforts to cut carbon emissions. These countries' emissions account for 87 percent of the world's total. Their contribution shows the global society's confidence in reaching a common climate agreement in Paris, the People's Daily  article says.

Chinese negotiators say the Paris agreement's general frame is finished and lays out a good foundation for further negotiation. As a representative of developing countries, China plans to launch its national carbon trading system in 2017. The carbon trading system, embedded with a strategy to transform to a low-carbon economy, will cover main industries, including iron, electricity, chemical engineering, construction materials, papermaking and non-ferrous metals.

Besides the climate issue, some other topics including tourism, aviation and agriculture may also be touched upon.

France and Germany have established a comprehensive strategic partnership with China that has last for several years, according to the ambassadors. They define both their countries as China's core partners in the European Union (EU). This partnership has never been more important than today in terms of its role in addressing some urgent European, Asian and even global issues.

Both countries believe China has huge potential for growth, which can be achieved by strengthening the opening-up and deepening market reform. Under such circumstances, France and Germany will give their full support to the negotiations between the EU and China on the ambitious and comprehensive bilateral investment agreement.

As for the hot issues in France's and Germany's cooperation with China, the ambassadors think sustainable development is a core one. France and Germany are two key partners in China's economic and technical cooperation. They are also initial members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), with a combined share as high as eight percent, far more than the rest of the members'. The two countries are looking forward to AIIB's first batch of projects.

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