Chinese premier urges France to support ‘spirit of free trade’ in Europe

France has been urged to encourage the European Union to uphold free trade by Chinese Premier Li Qiang.

“China is willing to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with France, and join forces to cope with global challenges such as climate change,” Li told visiting French foreign minister Catherine Colonna at a meeting in Beijing on Friday.

“We hope France will actively encourage the European side to uphold the spirit of free trade.”

Li praised the “sturdy and stable development” of the relationship between the two countries saying it had given the world “certainty and a positive impetus”.

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Colonna said France is willing to boost exchanges and cooperation with China in various areas, help combat global challenges such as climate change, and play a significant role in world peace and development, according to the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Later on Friday, Colonna met her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at Peking University, where they outlined plans to mark the 60th anniversary of the two countries establishing diplomatic relations next year, and the Franco-Chinese Year of Cultural Tourism.


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Earlier this year Macron visited Beijing and the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, kicking off a series of exchanges between the two countries.

In turn, Li visited Paris for a conference on a new global financing pact, with further talks between the two sides taking place in July and October.

“With China we are working to find answers to global challenges”, she posted on X, formerly Twitter, citing climate change, biodiversity and debt.

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She added that the two countries hoped to “deepen and rebalance” their economic relationship.

Colonna also met Education Minister Huai Jinpeng to discuss “strengthening our universities’ relations, to facilitate an increase in the number of French students [in China]”.

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