Xi’s Monaco visit sets trend

A Monegasque worker prepares national flags of China and Monaco at the square of the Prince's Palace of Monaco on Sunday ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the country. (Photo by Li Zhiwei from People’s Daily)

A Monegasque worker prepares national flags of China and Monaco at the square of the Prince’s Palace of Monaco on Sunday ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country. (Photo by Li Zhiwei from People’s Daily)

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Monaco will set an example of friendly relations between countries of different sizes and lead other small-sized nations to cooperate with China, analysts said. Xi attended an official welcome ceremony in Monaco on March 24 and held talks with Prince Albert II, head of state of the Principality of Monaco, on strengthening China-Monaco relations. He arrived in the southern French city of Nice at noon, before heading to Monaco. Monaco was the second leg of Xi’s trip to Europe. The visit was the first by a Chinese President to Monaco since the establishment of diplomatic ties 24 years ago.

 

Prince Albert II of Monaco and Xi had a meeting in the presence of Chinese and Monegasque delegations. Together they will address economic and environmental issues. At the same time, Princess Charlene and Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan attended a short recital by Chinese-Canadian violinist Zhang Zhang. After lunch, they watched a dance performance by the folk group “La Palladienne” and students of Lycée Albert Premier of Monaco who study Chinese interpreted a short play in Mandarin Chinese, the Monaco Embassy in China said on its website.

 

Days before Xi’s arrival, the national flags of the two countries were visible on streets, buildings of government organizations and ports and piers of Monaco. The Monaco side made thorough arrangements on the reception, traffic, and security on Xi’s visit, Xinhua reporters in Monaco said. China and Monaco have set an example of friendly relations between countries of different sizes, Chinese experts noted. The close cooperation between the two sides will attract the attention of countries in the Balkan region and lead to more cooperation between China and small-sized countries in Europe, Zhao Junjie, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of European Studies, told the Global Times on March 24. Prince Albert II, who has visited China 10 times, said in an interview with Xinhua published on Saturday that “China insists on that all countries, big or small, are equal. This has touched me.”

 

Environmental protection

 

During his visit, environmental protection will also be a topic in talks between Xi with Prince Albert II, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao said at a press briefing. Xi’s visit will further deepen the cooperation on environmental protection, especially on ocean resources protection, biodiversity protection, and climate change, Ma Jun, a renowned environmentalist and 2014 Water Awardee of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and also the director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, told the Global Times. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (FPA2) has close cooperation with China Environmental Protection Foundation. The two sides worked together on a project investigating cyanobacterial water blooms in Taihu Lake, China’s second-largest freshwater lake, and the protection of wild Siberian tigers, People’s Daily reported on Tuesday.

 

The Belt and Road Initiative is a sustainable pathway for green development, which the Monaco government has given much attention to. The FPA2 will set a representative office in Beijing, meaning the two countries could launch more sustainable programs in the future, the report said. Ma said that China might not have major cooperation projects with Monaco, but the two countries have close communication on environmental protection. China can learn from Monaco on how it develops tourism without harming the environment and adjust motorcycle races into a more environmentally friendly event, Ma said.

 

China also has a role to play in helping to replace all the country’s hybrid buses with fully-electric models, China Radio International quoted Bernard Fautrier, the deputy director of the FPA2 in a report, as saying on March 23. Borrowing the experience of Monaco, the second-smallest country in size, in fields that they are good at, such as environmental protection, culture, and sports, will facilitate China in constructing the Maritime Silk Road and lead China-Europe cooperation, said Zhao. Data cited by Xinhua showed that trade between the two countries reached $125 million from January to August 2018, with year-on-year growth of more than 876.8 percent.

 

By Liu Caiyu

(Chen Qingqing contributed to the story)

(Global Times)

Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » appearance » Widgets » and move a widget into Advertise Widget Zone