Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed a commitment to “break new ground” in China-France relations, offering a fresh impetus to the partnership. This comes in the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron’s significant visit to India, where the two nations unveiled an ambitious defense roadmap and strengthened collaboration in the strategic Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific region.
Macron’s visit coincided with the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and France, prompting President Xi to emphasize the importance of jointly forging a path of peace, security, prosperity, and progress for human development. Xi conveyed his readiness to work with Macron to leverage the milestone as an opportunity to enhance the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France.
China’s commitment to bolstering ties includes an offer to increase imports from France, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi stating that China aims to unleash market demand, expand the import of high-quality products and services from France, and create a fair, just, and predictable business environment for Chinese companies.
Recognizing the significance of technological cooperation, Chinese official media highlighted the achievements in joint research and development between France and China, particularly in areas such as aerospace, nuclear industry, and renewable energy.
The heightened focus on China-France relations comes as Macron advocates for Europe to play a pivotal role as a third bloc, balancing between the United States and China. Beijing is keenly observing these developments, especially as Paris emerges as a crucial defense partner for New Delhi, aligning with broader efforts by the US and the European Union to engage India as a counterweight to China.
During Macron’s discussions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the two nations unveiled a comprehensive defense industrial roadmap and strengthened cooperation in the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific region. The joint statement issued after the visit emphasized the cornerstone role of defense and security partnership in the Indo-Pacific, causing concerns for China as it seeks to expand its influence in India’s vicinity.
The intensified collaboration between India and France in the Indian Ocean aligns with the broader global discourse, involving the US, India, and other world powers, advocating for a free, open, and thriving Indo-Pacific, counteracting China’s assertive military maneuvers in the region’s resource-rich territories.