Foreign Minister Wang Yi tells French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian the two sides should ensure ties ‘continue to develop in a healthy way’
Meeting comes after Paris angers Beijing by sending a warship through the sensitive Taiwan Strait
South China Morning Post
Date: 27 Apr, 2019
By: Zhenhua Lu
France and China should value their strong relationship and not take actions that disrupt it, China’s foreign minister told his French counterpart on Thursday, just days after Beijing expressed its upset at Paris for sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait earlier this month.
Speaking at a meeting on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Wang Yi told Jean-Yves Le Drian that the two nations “should cherish their hard-won and good relations”.
“[We should] avoid unnecessary disruptions and ensure that bilateral relations continue to develop in a healthy and progressive way,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued on Friday by the Chinese foreign ministry.
Le Drian responded by saying France was willing to cooperate with China to “maintain the growth momentum of bilateral relations”, according to the statement.
The French frigate Vendémiaire passed through the Taiwan Strait on April 6. It had been expected to take part in a naval parade on Tuesday to celebrate the 70th anniversary of China’s navy, but Beijing withdrew the invitation in response to the action.
The defence ministry in Paris said this week it had been “in close contact with the Chinese authorities” about the incident.
A spokesman for the European Union said the trading bloc was committed to a rules-based maritime order based on international law, including freedom of navigation, and that it was in regular contact with the member states.
Chinese academics said that after the transit by the French warship it was likely that more Western countries would make their presence known in the region and that Beijing should remain vigilant. [FULL STORY]