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Xi, Macron hold productive talks on key issues

By XU WEI in Belgrade | | Updated:2024-05-09


President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, join French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, in watching folklore dancers at Col du Tourmalet in France on Tuesday. Aurelien Morissard / AP

President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron continued their in-depth engagement over key bilateral and multilateral issues on Tuesday as the two leaders met at Col du Tourmalet in southwestern France.

Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, were welcomed by Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, upon their arrival at the airport in Tarbes on Tuesday morning.

The two couples took separate cars to the Pyrenees mountains, which is dear to Macron as the birthplace of his maternal grandmother. They watched traditional dancers performing under the snowy peaks, took a group photo with them, before sitting down for lunch at a local restaurant.

Xi underlined China's readiness to strengthen people-to-people exchanges with France and Europe, continuously deepen economic and trade cooperation and enhance positive mutual recognition so as to carry forward the bond of friendship at the people level.

Although China and France belong to Eastern and Western civilizations and have different values and social systems, they both value the exchange and mutual learning between civilizations, Xi said.

The two sides can coexist in harmony despite their differences, and, through dialogue and cooperation, make new contributions to world peace, global development and human progress, he added.

Xi told his host that the beautiful scenery and distinctive cuisine at Col du Tourmalet have left a deep impression on him. He extended a welcoming message to have more high-quality French agricultural and food products in Chinese homes, while inviting more French people to visit China.

Meanwhile, the Chinese president said he looks forward to frequent interactions with Macron to lead the healthy and stable development of China-France and China-Europe relations, and to inject more stability and positive energy into a world fraught with chaos and turbulence.

He invited the French president to visit China at his convenience.

Macron recalled fond memories of his last visit to China in April 2023, especially the informal meeting with Xi at the Pine Garden in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

He stressed that the in-depth exchanges with Xi allowed him to gain further insights into China's history, culture, philosophy and development journey, while deepening his understanding of China's positions on important issues.

Macron highlighted the imperative for Europe to maintain its strategic autonomy and unity in the face of a global landscape full of uncertainties, adding that developing good relations with China and strengthening bilateral and multilateral cooperation are essential.

Macron also held a departure ceremony for Xi and his wife at the airport on Tuesday night when they left France for a state visit to Serbia.

The engagement outside Paris came as Beijing and Paris reached key consensuses on bolstering agricultural trade and cooperation during the Chinese president's three-day state visit.

According to a joint statement issued by the two nations during the visit, the two sides agree to explore ways to strengthen scientific and technological cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as crops, livestock, poultry, fruits and vegetables, smart agricultural equipment and climate change adaptation.

The two nations also reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening their agri-food partnership, with the French side expressing appreciation to the "French Farm to Chinese Table" initiative.

China will greenlight imports of pig origin protein feed as well as pork offal from France effective immediately, according to the Chinese customs and the French farm ministry.

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