China ties a priority for France, says French foreign minister
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said ties between the two countries are a "priority" ahead of his official visit to China this coming week. This comes just weeks after France joined the United States in demanding the release of political prisoners jailed after the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen democracy protests in China.
Speaking in an interview in Paris on Friday, which was published by the state-run news agency on Sunday, Fabius also called for more cooperation in the nuclear power and aerospace sectors.
"The relationship with China is a priority for the new French government.
We are driven by a new ambition for our bilateral relationship," Fabius was quoted as saying.
He said the two countries could also cooperate on environmental protection and urban planning, Xinhua reported, but gave no details.
"We do not seek to impose our views on China or other countries, but we wish to have with your country a substantial and respectful dialogue," Fabius said.
On 4 June, China dismissed a demand by France for the release of political prisoners jailed after the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen democracy protests, saying it was strongly opposed to such "interference".
The French minister will meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice Premier Li Keqiang -- widely expected to be the country's next premier -- among others in official meetings on Monday and Tuesday.