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China-France Ties: Foreign ministers agree to step up cultural exchanges
Nov. 29, 2023

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his French counterpart Catherine Colonna were at Peking University on Nov. 24. They led the sixth meeting of the China-France high-level dialogue mechanism on people-to-people exchanges. The two sides agreed to step up cultural and people-to-people exchanges. CGTN's You Yang reports. 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China and France have a long history of cultural exchange and close cooperation, adding that the two major civilizations of the East and the West are like two bright lights illuminating each other. 

He made the remarks during the sixth meeting of the China-France high-level dialogue on people-to-people exchanges held on Friday at Peking University in Beijing. 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry noted it was the first time in recent years for China to hold such a meeting with a European country. 

Wang Yi said: "The world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation. Promoting exchanges and dialogue among different civilizations, eliminating barriers and prejudices, creating a good atmosphere of openness, inclusiveness, and harmonious coexistence in international relations, and sowing the seeds of respect, understanding, and friendship in the hearts of the people of the world - these are the correct paths to peace and the correct directions for historical progress."

The Chinese senior diplomat outlined four proposals on the future development of cultural exchange between the two sides. 

They include accelerating the restoration of various exchange and cooperation mechanisms, taking the Paris Olympic Games as an opportunity to strengthen athlete exchanges and sports industry cooperation, as well as speeding up the resumption of flights between the two countries. 

He also said Beijing will implement a 15-day visa-free-policy for short-term French visitors to China. 

For her part, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna noted that in the face of challenges brought by global separatist conflicts and unilateralism, the necessity and importance of enhancing mutual understanding have been further highlighted. 

Catherine Colonna said: "We will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between our two countries. And we appreciate you for providing convenience for French people to visit China. The French side will continue to prioritize cultural exchanges in bilateral cooperation, promote mutually beneficial exchanges, and enhance the friendship between the two peoples."

The two sides also unveiled the logo for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral ties, which takes place next year, as well as the logo for 2024's China-France Year of Culture and Tourism. 

Meanwhile, the two also attended the inauguration of a Chinese-French Center for Carbon Neutrality at Peking University. 

Wang Yi said the move sends a strong signal that China and France intend to strengthen green technology cooperation while working together to address climate change. 

Colonna noted that the launch of the center highlights the ambition and achievements of both sides to expand cooperation in innovation and low-carbon transformation. She added that the French side is willing to continue to strengthen communication and coordination with China to promote the success of the upcoming COP28 climate conference in Dubai. 

2024 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France. It's also the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism. Earlier, China's foreign ministry said the two countries are planning a series of events and activities to promote cultural learning and people-to-people friendship.