French foreign minister holds talks in China on climate and global tensions

Ms. Colonna was on an official trip to Beijing ahead of a major U.N. climate conference starting next week

November 25, 2023 03:13 am | Updated 03:13 am IST - BEIJING

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands following a press conference at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China November 24, 2023.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands following a press conference at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China November 24, 2023. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

France and China should work together to reduce global tensions and address issues such as climate change and biodiversity, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Friday.

Ms. Colonna was on an official trip to Beijing ahead of a major U.N. climate conference starting next week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and an EU-China leaders meeting next month. Her visit coincided with the start of a four-day truce in the Israel-Hamas war.

"As big powers, we both share the responsibility to tackle global challenges .... and we can make concerted efforts in alleviating tensions around the world,” she said at a meeting with Premier Li Qiang, China's No. 2 leader.

Today’s tensions range from the wars in Gaza and Ukraine to the competition between China and the U.S. over trade, technology and security.

A delegation of Arab foreign ministers held talks in China and France in recent days as part of a series of meetings with permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to push for a cease-fire in Gaza.

The European Union has been taking a tougher line on China, launching a trade investigation into subsidies given to Chinese electric vehicle makers. EU officials have called for steps to reduce the bloc’s huge trade deficit with China.

Despite their differences, China has been trying to repair its relations with major trading partners including Europe, the U.S. and Australia. The lifting of China's pandemic restrictions last December has helped, making it much easier to hold in-person meetings.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited China in April followed by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in July.

“Relations between China and France are getting better and better in all aspects," Mr. Li said. “In particular, our exchanges at all levels are now becoming more frequent because many of the mechanisms have been restored.”

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