In the eyes of many Chinese, France is synonymous with romance.
The mere mention of the country will conjure vivid images of its
culture, lifestyle and fashion, while French icons such as the
Louvre, Bordeaux wine and Christian Dior are widely admired in
The relationship China has forged with France since the
establishment of their diplomatic ties five decades ago, however,
is not only romantic but also pragmatic and fruitful. One of the
most important driving forces behind this enduring partnership is a
shared commitment to diversity, equality and independence.
The two countries' love affair began in 1964 at a time when many
Western nations remained hostile toward New China. France took the
initiative as it recognized the potential of the East Asian giant.
More importantly, Paris sought to pursue an independent foreign
policy without succumbing to outside pressure, which is also a
cornerstone of China's diplomacy.
The two countries have since engaged in collaboration by making
the most of their respective advantages. For instance, civilian
nuclear power cooperation, which requires sophisticated technology
as well as a high level of mutual trust, has borne abundant fruit.
China and France jointly built the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station
in south China's Shenzhen three decades ago, which supplies
electricity to both the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. Now the two
countries appear poised to replicate their success story in other
countries as they have agreed to explore global nuclear energy
While business ties flourish, an increasing number of Chinese
people have fulfilled their dreams to visit France. More than 1.5
million Chinese tourists poured into France in 2012, and 525,000
French visitors toured the "Middle Country." Tourism, coupled with
cultural and educational exchanges, have cemented bonds between
ordinary Chinese and French.
All-round interactions between China and France show that it is
possible for countries with different cultural traditions and
political systems to develop productive relations. They exemplify
China's vision for a "harmonious world," in which nations following
diverse development paths work together for common prosperity.
Harmony, however, is not necessarily a state of affairs where no
disputes exist. Instead, the new thinking calls on parties to
resolve disputes by consulting with others on an equal footing and
accommodating their legitimate concerns. It will enable the
Sino-French ties to make continuous strides and at the same time
exert a positive impact on the world at large.