BEIJING, Jan. 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday exchanged congratulations with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Attaching great importance to the development of bilateral ties, Xi said he stands ready to work with Macron to take the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to open up a new future and make China-France comprehensive strategic partnership more solid and dynamic, further contributing to improving the well-being of the two peoples and of humanity.

Deep bonds forged between two peoples

Over the decades, the people of China and France have forged deep bonds in their friendly exchanges and shared cultural exploration.

This winter at the distinguished Harbin Ice and Snow World, a landscape inspired by the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism is a vivid proof of these exchanges. It incorporates two world-famous cultural heritage sites, the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The two ice sculptures, which represent China and France, are connected by a bridge symbolizing friendship.

The sculptures were unveiled by French Tourism Minister Olivia Grégoire when he officially declared the commencement of the 2024 China-France Year of Culture and Tourism at the Harbin Ice and Snow World on January 5.

Echoing Xi’s congratulatory message, Macron said in his message on Saturday that he looks forward to working with the Chinese president to promote bilateral economic, cultural, and youth exchanges. Macron also said he looks forward to continually deepening France-China comprehensive strategic partnership with Xi, so that both sides can infuse renewed vitality into bilateral relations for the next 60 years.

Promoting closer people-to-people ties

In a video speech to a reception in Beijing celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and France, Xi urged the two sides to expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and promote closer people-to-people ties by taking the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism and the Paris Olympic Games as opportunities.

In November 2023, the 6th meeting of the China-France high-level dialogue mechanism on people-to-people exchanges was held in Beijing when the foreign ministers of both countries witnessed the signing of cooperation documents in fields such as education and scientific research, cultural tourism and health, with the release of a list of high-quality cultural exchange activities between the two countries in 2024.

In the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, the Chinese Olympic Committee will set up a “China House” during the event to host sports achievement displays, Chinese sports culture displays, and foster interactions between athletes in Chinese and French sports circles, among other activities to add more excitement to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games, Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye told China Media Group on Friday.

Lu also noted that people-to-people exchanges between China and France have warmed up in the post-pandemic era. “Nearly 46,000 Chinese are studying in France and around 1,000 primary and secondary schools in France have opened Chinese language courses, with over 100,000 students learning Chinese.”

Meanwhile, China rolled out a 15-day visa-free entry policy for ordinary passport holders from six countries, including France, further facilitating people-to-people exchanges.

“If the China-France relationship is a big tree, the friendship between the two peoples is the firm and solid foundation,” said Lu.

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