(2015-11-03)French President Francois Hollande's visit to China on Monday and Tuesday has attracted much attention as the latest example of intensified dialogue between China and Europe's leaders.
The French president's visit follows Chinese President Xi Jinping's tour to the United Kingdom and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's various meetings with the Chinese leadership in less than two weeks, observed David Gosset, founder of the Euro-China Forum.
"All this creates a new momentum to take EU-China relations to another level," said Gosset.
Recent years have seen important visits between China and France. President Xi visited France as part of his Europe tour in March last year, when Xi and Hollande announced a decision to elevate bilateral relations to a close and lasting comprehensive strategic partnership.
Leading a large business delegation, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls paid an official visit to China in early 2015, seeking to expand new areas of cooperation in such sectors as tourism and food processing.
During Chinese Premier Li Ke-qiang's visit to France in June this year, the two countries agreed to cooperate jointly in third-party markets in the areas of infrastructure, nuclear energy, aviation, agriculture, health and climate change.
"The visit of the French president has to be put into a larger perspective, it is about economy and business but more importantly it is about global politics," said Gosset when talking about Hollande's stay in China.
At the end of the month, Paris will host the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, a crucial meeting for the future of the planet. "France and China are working together so that the international community can reach an agreement on climate change," said Gosset.
He said this is of the highest importance since, as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said of the upcoming meeting: "... we don't have a planet B".
China's climate pledges include a decision to launch a national carbon cap-and-trade system in 2017 to help contain emissions and a 20 billion yuan ($3.1 billion) fund to help other developing countries combat and adapt to climate change.
In the same month the French president comes to Beijing, the Chinese president goes to Paris, united by the same sense of global responsibilities, said Gosset.
China has become a keyword in recent European diplomacy, as a consensus on expanding pragmatic cooperation with China has been reached among many politicians there, analysts said.
Likewise, China has consistently valued the European Union, not only in terms of a bilateral relationship, but also for its potential to contribute to global stability and economic growth, said Keith Bennett, a veteran China watcher and deputy chairman of the 48 Group Club, an independent business network committed to promoting relations between Britain and China.
Britain last month rolled out the red carpet for Xi, the first Chinese head of state to have visited the country in a decade.
During what was dubbed as a "super state visit," Xi witnessed the signing of deals worth about 40 billion pounds ($61.5 billion).
Bennett was looking forward to a Free Trade Agreement between China and the EU, which he said would not only have a bilateral impact, but would also immeasurably strengthen the Belt and Road Initiative, fortifying its eastern and western flanks respectively.