A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman has hailed the China-France relationship ahead of the kick-off of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two sides.
Hong Lei said on Tuesday that the relationship had pioneered relations between China and European countries.
Noting that France was the first Western nation to establish diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level, Hong said the two sides' relations have entered a new phase of rapid development with fruitful results in various fields through cooperation.
He said China is willing to work with France to handle bilateral relations with a strategic view and abide by the principle of mutual respect, equality and accommodating each other's core interests in a bid to further promote the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership.
According to an agreement between the two states' leaders, China and France will launch celebrations throughout 2014. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Minister of Culture Cai Wu will give a press conference on January 17 at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts to introduce the schedule of events.
(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2014)