China, France host high-level meeting on people-to-people exchanges

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his French counterpart Catherine Colonna jointly hosted the sixth meeting of the China-France high-level dialogue mechanism on people-to-people exchanges at Peking University in Beijing on Friday.

The two sides agreed to take the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism as an opportunity to unleash greater vitality and achieve more results in people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

Wang said that the high-level dialogue mechanism on people-to-people exchanges is one of the three pillars of China-France dialogue, which has laid a solid public opinion foundation for the development of bilateral ties and accumulated useful experience for countries with different civilizations and systems to coexist harmoniously.

As the world has entered a period of turbulence and change, promoting dialogue among different civilizations, eliminating estrangement and prejudice, creating an atmosphere of openness, inclusiveness and harmonious coexistence in international relations, and spreading the ideas of respect, mutual understanding, friendship and mutual benefit to people around the world are the right path to peace and direction of history, Wang said.

He urged China and France to comprehensively deepen people-to-people exchanges, enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, and set a positive example for China-EU and global people-to-people exchanges with new developments, new achievements and new heights.

Wang put forward four proposals to plan people-to-people exchanges between the two countries in the next stage, including organizing key activities to carry forward their traditional friendship, increasing personnel exchanges such as resuming various exchange and cooperation mechanism and flights between the two countries, enhancing mutual understanding by encouraging cooperation among think tanks, scholars, media, local governments and cooperation in language teaching and protection of cultural heritage, and strengthening cooperation on innovation such as expanding cooperation in aerospace, green and low-carbon, artificial intelligence and digital technology and encouraging universities and research institutions of both sides to establish partnerships.

Colonna said that, faced with challenges of conflicts and unilateralism, the necessity and importance of enhancing mutual understanding have been further highlighted. France and China have a long history of cultural and people-to-people exchanges, which have become a strong bond for the development of bilateral relations, he noted.

Colonna thanked the Chinese side for facilitating the travel of French people to China, and said France will continue to make people-to-people exchanges a priority in bilateral cooperation, promote mutually beneficial exchanges and enhance the friendship between the two peoples.

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