Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Saturday he is confident about the long-term development of the Sino-French relations while urging France to make "positive signs" on issues of major concern to China.
The recent problems in the two countries' relations were not the responsibility of China, said Yang at a press conference on the sidelines of an annual parliament session.
He urged for "positive signs" from France on issues of major concern to China, saying China has always highly valued the promotion of Sino-French ties.
He reiterated the Chinese government's opposition to the auction of looted Chinese cultural relics when asked to comment on Christie's sale of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) bronze rabbit and rat heads sculptures.
"The sculptures are cultural relics looted from China and China has the right to recover them," Yang said.
The two bronze sculptures were looted from Yuanmingyuan, or the Old Summer Palace, by Anglo-French allied forces during the Second Opium War in 1860.
China had tried repeatedly to dissuade Christie's from auctioning them. But the efforts failed.
Such an auction was "adding salt to injury" and it was "immoral", he said.
Meanwhile, he added that he'd like to emphasize that he is confident about the long-term development of the Sino-French ties, which is "in the common interests of the two sides and in accordance with the aspirations of their people".
(Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2009)