Media Releases

CGTN|France and China: Pioneering roads for peace and progress

Apr 30, 2024

The national flags of China and France are hoisted in Beijing. /CFP



By David Gosset


Editor's note: David Gosset, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is the founder of the China-Europe-America Global Initiative. He is the editor of China and the World in three volumes, and the creator of the Inspiring Series, a collection of books that aims to introduce China to the world. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.



In early May, Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to embark on his first overseas trip this year, and France will be President Xi's first stop.


France and China possess a deep-seated mutual appreciation, stemming from their acknowledgment of each other's extensive historical depth and vibrant cultural heritage. This admiration goes beyond surface-level recognition; it is deeply ingrained, reflecting centuries of interaction and exchange between the two countries.


At first glance, it may seem paradoxical, but Franco-Chinese cooperation truly thrives because both nations cherish their independence. Unlike partnerships compelled by external pressures, this collaboration arises from shared interests and a commitment to multi-polarity. Both countries recognize the value of working together based on their respective visions of global governance.


This cooperative spirit enables them to pursue initiatives that align with their strategic goals while fostering a sense of mutual trust and understanding. As sovereign states, they engage in cooperation as equals, enhancing diplomatic relations and contributing to a more balanced and inclusive international order.


Today, as the world faces complex challenges ranging from geopolitical tensions to environmental crises, the need for Franco-Chinese synergies has never been more apparent. In an era where mistrust often defines interactions between the West and China, the enduring partnership between France and China stands as a beacon of hope, demonstrating that trust and collaboration are not only possible but essential for progress and prosperity.


Guests unveil the ice sculptures fashioned after Beijing's Temple of Heaven and Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, at Harbin Ice and Snow World in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, January 5, 2024. /Xinhua



As France and China translate their affinities into concerted action, they forge pathways for enhanced synergies between the EU and the world's second-largest economy. This collaboration also signals to the U.S. that the Western world can engage in strategic partnerships with China. It is imperative to recall that then French leader Charles de Gaulle's visionary decision in 1964 to establish diplomatic ties with China served as an inspiration for American politician Henry Kissinger and then U.S. president Richard Nixon's diplomatic engagement with Beijing.


Efficient Franco-Chinese synergies not only unlock immense potential between the two nations but also pave the way for broader opportunities between the West and the Global South. The harmonization of these partnerships is crucial, as failure to do so would result in long-term losses for both the Western world and the Global South. By fostering collaboration and mutual understanding, Franco-Chinese initiatives set a precedent for constructive engagement on a global scale. This alignment not only benefits the immediate stakeholders but also contributes to sustainable development, prosperity, and stability across regions, ensuring a more equitable and interconnected international community.


At the United Nations and various multilateral forums, France and China work together to uphold peace and to promote inclusive and sustainable development. Their collaboration extends beyond diplomatic arenas, encompassing sensitive areas such as nuclear energy and virology. In addition to their current collaborative efforts, France and China have the potential to embark on joint initiatives in emerging fields like artificial intelligence, space exploration, and green technology. Embracing innovation and fostering a spirit of openness and cooperation can unlock fresh opportunities for economic growth, social advancement and scientific progress.


One should not underestimate the reality that diplomacy is truly an art, necessitating both creativity and courage from those who have elected to engage in it. Diplomats must navigate the intricacies of our contemporary crises while anticipating and addressing the complexities yet to arise. With ingenuity and foresight, they can forge innovative solutions to the pressing issues of our era, laying the groundwork for a more stable and prosperous future. For French and Chinese diplomats, the task is made easier by the fact that they can draw inspiration from the vision of their predecessors who paved the way decades ago.


President Xi's visit is an opportunity for both sides to envision new dimensions and responsibilities for their relationship. By exploring innovative approaches and forging new cooperation, France and China can effectively address the complex challenges of the present era while nurturing their longstanding bond.


Considering the resources available to both nations and the nature of their relationship, discontinuing their groundbreaking collaboration would not only be a grave error but also a moral failure in a time when humanity faces existential threats such as high-intensity wars, nuclear proliferation, and climate-related catastrophes. As the world continues to evolve and confront new challenges, the partnership between France and China will remain essential in shaping a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future for all.


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