Guangzhou event showcases 60 years of Sino-French friendship

Updated: Jan 29, 2024 By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou Print
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Special guests from China and France gathered and shared their vivid stories of Sino-French exchanges in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, on Friday to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France.

Sino-French exchanges date back over 300 years, when a sizeable three-masted sailboat left France's La Rochelle for Guangzhou in 1698, overcoming numerous difficulties on the way.

The sailboat became the first direct passage from France to Guangzhou, marking the beginning of Sino-French maritime trade.

Zheng Jun, director of the European and American Affairs Division with the Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office, said, "China and France established ambassadorial level diplomatic relations on Jan. 27, 1964, making France the first major Western country to establish diplomatic relations with New China."

Guangzhou and France's Lyon became sister cities 36 years ago. "Lyon's friends proudly tell us the friendship between Guangzhou and Lyon originated from the ancient Silk Road, and they said that Lyon was the endpoint of the Silk Road, and in the exchange between the East and the West, silk making techniques were eventually transmitted from China to Lyon," said Zheng.

In 1844, the Lyon trade delegation visited Guangzhou and submitted detailed samples and reports on China's silk industry to the Lyon Chamber of Commerce, and in 1869, with the opening of the Suez Canal, Lyon purchased a large amount of silk from Guangzhou, Zheng added.

Fabien Pacory, vice president of the French Chamber of Commerce in China, said China and France have maintained friendly cooperation since 1964.

"As the political, economic, and cultural exchanges between the two countries become increasingly close, the friendly relationship between the two countries is also becoming stronger, and it is in this spirit of cooperation that we will continue to strengthen exchanges," he said.

The international situation is constantly changing, and cooperation between China and France is crucial at this time, said Pacory.

"Only with our joint efforts can we inevitably address global challenges such as climate change, international security, and humanitarian crises. And both China and France have the responsibility and obligation to promote world peace, stability and sustainable development," he added.

Zhuang Xitong, a Guangzhou School of Foreign Languages student, said her school has established sister school relations with several schools in France.

"We have established a deep friendship via annual mutual visits and exchanges," said Zhuang.

Chen Ziyuan contributed to this story.

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