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GUANGZHOU, China — France and China have reached an agreement to work together to deepen military cooperation, as President Emmanuel Macron’s trip to China ends with a joint call for peace in Ukraine.
According to a joint statement by the governments of Macron and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s southern theater – mainly responsible for the South China Sea – will “deepen dialogue” with the Asia-Pacific Command of French forces. . The pledge comes amid rising tensions between US and Chinese forces in the Pacific.
Regarding Ukraine, the statement said: “The two sides support all efforts to restore peace in Ukraine on the basis of international law and the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter.”
It called on Russia to ensure the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. The statement said China and France “oppose armed attacks on nuclear power plants and other peaceful nuclear facilities” and support the IAEA in ensuring “the safety and security of the Zaporizhia plant”.
They also called on “all parties to the conflict” to “strictly observe international humanitarian law”.
An Elysée official downplayed the scale of future cooperation between the Chinese and French forces, saying it would be limited to promoting “respect for the law of the sea”.
“We have a navy that patrols the region, the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea… That means ships passing, which need to respect the law of the sea, respect borders as well as freedom of navigation. That’s what we mean,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Stewart Lau reported from Brussels, Clea Colcott reported from Guangzhou.
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