Macron’s first state visit to China ends on a high note

World Today

French President Emmanuel Macron (C) and his wife Brigitte Macron (R-red coat) are presented with a gift from a local elderly iman during a visit to the Great Mosque of Xian in the northern Chinese city of Xian on January 8, 2018. Macron on January 8 launched a state visit to China in Xian — the starting point of the ancient Silk Road — in a nod to his counterpart’s scheme to revive the famous trading route. ( AFP PHOTO Lludovic Marin)

French President Emmanuel Macron has wrapped up his first official visit to China, with plans to deepen cooperation on a number of fronts – including trade and the environment. CGTN’s Sun Ye reports.

Cooperation – even on issues high up in the air. President Macron’s last day in China brought him to the Chinese Academy of Space Technology, where he sang a familiar tune: “We will work together.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed with that sentiment, saying that cooperation is expected of the two countries in the face of an increasingly difficult international environment.

“Human society is facing many challenges,” Xi said. “As world powers with a long historical and cultural heritage and permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and France shoulder special responsibilities and historical missions. We’ll carry on our friendship and start our new work. We’ll safeguard and develop China-France relations.”

Macron carried on in that vein, saying that he thinks China is “an indispensable partner for the future.”

“China needs technology,” Macron explained. “Europe and France can meet this need. France itself also has the need of economic development, cooperation and creating jobs. We can solve the problems of each other.”

There have been some immediate benefits already from cooperation between the two countries – from Chinese e-commerce giant’s plan of $2.4 billion in sales of French goods to better access for French agricultural products. A contract with French aeronautics company Airbus is also in the works.

Both countries plan to deepen cooperation on the transcontinental Belt and Road Initiative.

Macron said he hoped to have France take part in it and build a “green silk road”, while President Xi said he welcomed such efforts under the expanding Framework and hopes the two sides can “join hand in hand” in future developments.

William Keylor on French President Macron’s China tour

For more on Macron’s trip in China, CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with William Keylor, professor of International Relations and History at Boston University.