The year 2016 "was a great year for France and China," said French President Francois Hollande Wednesday, lauding the outcome of bilateral relations over the past year.
During a reception at Elysee Palace celebrating the Chinese New Year, Holland said France and China have witnessed solid advances in civilian nuclear power in recent months, and expressed his appreciation for China's recognition of 45 appellations of wines from Bordeaux.
"I also hope that we can have more (human) exchanges between France and China," Hollande said, referring to the increase in the numbers of French visas issued to Chinese in the past few years.
In his speech, Hollande also praised his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on defending free trade at the Davos summit held in mid-January.
"President Xi Jinping, during his visit at the Davos summit, defended the principles of regulated trade," said Hollande, adding that France also rejects the "temptation of withdrawal, closure and protectionism."
In his keynote speech at Davos, Xi said: "Whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean that you cannot escape from. Any attempt to cut off the flow of capital, technologies, products, industries and people between economies, and channel the waters in the ocean back into isolated lakes and creeks is simply not possible. Indeed, it runs counter to the historical trend."
Hollande also praised China for reaching an agreement on climate change in Paris, stressing the importance of the joint statement between France and China in fighting against climate change.
"France will not accept the questioning of the achievements of this negotiation or the agreement which commits all countries and surely the biggest of them," said Hollande.