China, France sign deals on nuclear energy, science

BEIJING :  China and France  signed agreements on nuclear energy and science during French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve’s Beijing visit.

During talks with Cazeneuve, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China is willing to work with France to deepen cooperation in the whole industrial chain of nuclear energy.

He hoped that the two sides would ensure a smooth implementation of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant program and discuss joint development of the third-party nuclear power market.

Li suggested the two sides explore cooperation in civil aviation and space industries, deepen cooperation in coping with climate change, and speed up the eco-city project in Wuhan, capital city of central China’s Hubei Province.

He also hoped the two countries to explore cooperation in whole industrial chain of agriculture, medicine and health, as well as coping with an aging society.

Li urged the two sides to facilitate bilateral people-to-people exchanges, effectively implement the Sino-French “1000 Interns” program and the mutual recognition agreement of driving license just signed between the two sides.

He called on the two nations to push the social security agreement signed last October into effect as soon as possible, which exempts company employees assigned to work in each other’s countries from the mandatory social security contributions.

The premier hoped that the French side would provide Chinese tourists with better services.

On bilateral relations, Li said China and France both serve as the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and the Sino-French ties have been at the forefront of China’s links with western countries.

He said the two countries should always uphold the principle of mutual respect, equality, cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win and strengthen communication and coordination in international affairs.

He called on the two sides, against the backdrop of the complicated and volatile international situation, jointly send out strong signals of safeguarding world peace and stability and promoting development, so as to respond to uncertainty with stability.

China firmly supports European integration, and hopes to see a united, prosperous and stable European Union(EU), which is not only conducive to China-France and China-Europe relations, but also in the interests of multilateralism and the development of globalization, said Li.

Li urged the EU to comprehensively and thoroughly fulfill its obligations under the Protocol on China’s Accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), so as to create conditions for sound and healthy development of China-Europe pragmatic cooperation.

Under Article 15 of the Protocol on China’s Accession to the WTO, the EU should have ended its “surrogate country system” by Dec. 11, 2016.

For his part, Cazeneuve praised the fruitful cooperation with China in civilian nuclear energy sector, adding bilateral cooperation in agriculture and environmental protection is exemplary.

France is ready to work with China to enhance cooperation in such areas of politics, economic and trade, investment, science, agriculture, nuclear energy, environmental protection and education, he said.

France is willing to make efforts with China to maintain trade liberalization and defuse protectionism, he added.

Noting Europe and China share broad common interests, Cazeneuve said the two sides will find proper solution to the implementation of the Article 15 of the Protocol on China’s Accession to the WTO and France is willing to make efforts in this regard.

When jointly meeting the press with Cazeneuve, Li reaffirmed that China upholds to the principle of openness, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation, opposes to all kinds of protectionism, and safeguards an open international trade system as well as the multilateral framework.

Cazeneuve said France is ready to work with China to oppose trade protectionism and promote the development and prosperity of the two countries.

Cazeneuve is paying an official visit to China on Feb. 21-23. Besides Beijing, Cazeneuve will also visit Wuhan.