France eyes strategic talks during Chinese state visit

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France and China will discuss ways of deepening their "strategic partnership" when Chinese President Hu Jintao makes a state visit to France next week, the French presidency said on Friday.

"Bilateral relations and the deepening of the Franco-Chinese global strategic partnership will be discussed in particular" during the visit from November 4 to 6, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said.

"The main international issues and global stakes will also be at the heart of the talks, in particular preparations for the French presidency of the G20 and G8" world economic groupings, whose summits France presides over next year.

The leaders will hold talks on Thursday afternoon and Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy will then host a state dinner for Hu and his wife Liu Yongqing, the statement said.

The two leaders will travel to Nice on France's Mediterranean coast the following day for further bilateral talks and a working dinner.

China said on Thursday it hoped to reach agreements with France on nuclear energy and civil aviation during Hu's visit.

Previous reports have said European aviation giant Airbus is in talks for the sale of dozens of A320, A330 and A350 jets to China.

Despite tense diplomatic relations over recent years, the two nations maintain important economic ties and relations have warmed since 2009.

During a state visit in April, Sarkozy called China a "strategic partner".

© 2010 AFP

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