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Visit to China

Published on December 3, 2007
Preliminary statement made by Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, at his joint press conference with M. Hu Jintao, President of China, at the Great Hall of People

Beijing, November 26, 2007

(…) I came to China to deliver several messages. First, France wants to build a close partnership for the future with China. We want to advance in two directions: reciprocity as principle, tangible and concrete progress as result. I also come as a European with a European message: Beijing will be receiving the representatives of the Eurogroup tomorrow, and on Wednesday Messrs Socrates, Barroso and Solana. We want to move towards a new partnership and cooperation pact between Europe and China. France, who will hold the EU presidency starting in July 2008, will be the driving force. Lastly, I wanted to say that China’s spectacular development is a chance for the world. We are basically watching the greatest adventure in modernization in the history of mankind. This development is unprecedented in scope and speed. Naturally the Olympic Games will be the high point in this development, and I’d be delighted to come in response to an invitation from President Hu.


China has global power status; this creates special responsibilities and duties for her in all areas, economic, political and environmental. That’s why I proposed that the G8 become the G13. The group of the world’s major countries needs China. I wanted to make the environment and climate change the focus of my visit, coming as it does a few days before the Bali conference. It is the first time China is due to sign a joint declaration with a State on this question, and it’s extremely important. We hope China’s growth continues to be strong but becomes low-carbon and environment-friendly. This is in the interest of China and the world. We are moreover ready to transfer clean technologies and cooperate with our Chinese friends. These new Chinese responsibilities should also be exercised in two other international areas.


I’m thinking first of the relationship between currencies. It’s essential to arrive at harmonious and fair exchange rates that will benefit the global economy. This means, for China’s own sake, accelerating the appreciation of her currency against the euro.


I also discussed African development assistance. China’s involvement in Africa is welcome but it must not result in these countries’ new indebtedness when we have cancelled their debt.


At the bilateral level, we signed many agreements and contracts, and others will be signed this afternoon. I’d like to thank President Hu for his personal involvement. We have deals worth about €20 billion, plus some €15 billion for the recycling plant. I’m particularly glad about the two EPRs [European Pressurized Reactors] and the order for 160 Airbuses.

With respect to rail transport, I insisted on the relevance of the Alstom project for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail link. I wanted to be involved behind the French small and medium companies wishing to work in China. (…)


Finally, President Hu discussed the question of Taiwan. France’s position with respect to Taiwan is clear. As far as France is concerned, there is only one China, and Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory. I note that this is also recognized by the vast majority of the international community. The vicissitudes of history have led to the situation we see today. It is a matter that must be resolved through negotiation. (…)./.

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