|Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 6, 2013. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)|
BEIJING, Dec. 6 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Beijing on Friday and pledged to strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
Ayrault arrived in Beijing on Thursday for a five-day official visit to China, which comes as the two countries are set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year.
Xi said the establishment of diplomatic ties was a milestone in the history of interactions between the East and the West, which "opened a door" for the two sides to understand each other.
Recalling French President Francois Hollande's visit to China in April, Xi said the consensus reached by the two presidents is being implemented step by step.
Last month, the two countries held their first high-level economic and financial dialogue as agreed upon by the two presidents during Hollande's China tour.
China stands ready to work together with the French side to enhance political trust, Xi said.
The two sides should continue to respect each other's core interests and major concerns, increase communication, and appropriately address disputes to make the bilateral relationship even more stable and lead it to a new high.
Xi proposed that China and France make use of their special advantages and boost cooperation in nuclear energy, aeronautics, astronautics, agriculture, food security, medicine, telecommunications, the automobile industry, and financial services to improve economic growth and increase job opportunities.
The two sides should take the celebration of the establishment of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to increase cultural exchanges, tourism, and student exchanges to cement the friendship between the Chinese and French people, said the Chinese president.
Xi said the two sides should also increase coordination on global and regional issues in pursuit of the democratization of international relations and sustainable growth of the world economy.
China attaches importance to France's important role in the European Union and hopes France will play a more constructive role in stepping up the China-Europe relationship, Xi said.
For his part, Ayrault said France and China, as major powers, hold the same or similar stances in global and regional affairs, and their cooperation has led to achievements.
The French side is willing to make joint efforts with the Chinese side to expand cooperation in various areas to enrich the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, Ayrault said.
France will continue to promote the Europe-China relationship in a healthy and stable way, said the prime minister.