Na­tions to jointly tap nu­clear mar­kets

France also vows to sim­plify visa pro­ce­dures to at­tract Chi­nese tourists, busi­ness­peo­ple

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO YI­NAN zhaoy­i­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and France will jointly ex­plore the in­ter­na­tional nu­clear power mar­ket, while push­ing ahead with ex­ist­ing nu­clear projects.

This was an­nounced by Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang and vis­it­ing French Prime Min­is­ter Jean-Marc Ayrault on Fri­day at a news brief­ing af­ter they met.

“We agreed to jointly ex­ploit third-party nu­clear en­ergy mar­kets. China hopes the two coun­tries can find broader space in the mar­kets,” Li said.

He also urged Chi­nese and French busi­nesses to ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion in ar­eas such as ur­ban sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, new en­ergy, health­care, mod­ern agri­cul­ture and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy.

He said he hopes that France will play a con­struc­tive role in the ne­go­ti­a­tion of a China-Europe in­vest­ment agree­ment.

Li said he ex­pects France to make ef­forts to push the Euro­pean Union to stick to the free trade prin­ci­ple and be cau­tious in us­ing trade rem­edy mea­sures.

Ayrault, who ar­rived on Thurs­day for a week-long visit to China, told re­porters that France will stream­line visa pro­ce­dures to two days from next year for Chi­nese tourists and busi­ness­peo­ple mak­ing short-term vis­its to the coun­try.

He said he would wel­come more Chi­nese tourists vis­it­ing France, adding that it aims to host 50,000 Chi­nese stu­dents by 2015.

Ayrault said the two coun­tries have had sub­stan­tial re­sults in joint work on food and agri­cul­ture. “Chi­nese con­sumers will soon taste French pork and other prod­ucts,” he said.

It is Ayrault’s first visit to China in his cur­rent ca­pac­ity, and the sec­ond by a French leader this year, af­ter Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande’s in April.

Vice-Pre­mier Ma Kai said when meet­ing Ayrault that nu­clear en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion has been high­lighted in bi­lat­eral ex­changes. He told the French guests that con­struc­tion of new nu­clear re­ac­tors will fol­low the high­est in­ter­na­tional safety stan­dards.

He also sees plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for Chi­nese and French com­pa­nies to co­op­er­ate on nu­clear re­ac­tors, re­cy­cling of nu­clear fuel and nu­clear safety su­per­vi­sion.

Lu Chun­hua, an engi­neer at the Shang­hai Nu­clear Engineering Re­search and De­sign In­sti­tute, said Chi­nese nu­clear com­pa­nies are con­fronted with tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers when go­ing global, and co­op­er­a­tion with France can make up for the tech­ni­cal dis­ad­van­tages.

Jean- Christophe Niel, di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the Nu­clear Safety Au­thor­ity, an in­de­pen­dent agency su­per­vis­ing civil nu­clear safety in France, said ex­changes be­tween the au­thor­ity and China’s Na­tional Nu­clear Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion are go­ing well.

“A key prin­ci­ple in nu­clear safety is that each coun­try is re­spon­si­ble for its own safety. But we are will­ing to ex­change good prac­tices and learn from each other,” Niel said.

He said he is look­ing for­ward to dis­cussing up­graded safety stan­dards for newly es­tab­lished re­ac­tors with his Chi­nese coun­ter­parts.

The lat­est Sino- French nu­clear co­op­er­a­tion project, in Tais­han, Guang­dong prov­ince, is ex­pected to be­come op­er­a­tional next year.

Ayrault said, “In Tais­han, our co­op­er­a­tion on nu­clear power is reach­ing new heights.” He said work is pro­gress­ing steadily and he hopes it will pave the way for a deal for another two re­ac­tors.

A joint in­vest­ment of 50.2 bil­lion yuan ($8.13 bil­lion) has been made on the first phase of the plant by China Guang­dong Nu­clear Power and Elec­tricite de France.

In another de­vel­op­ment, Pre­mier Li also met vis­it­ing Ukrainian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych on Fri­day. Both lead­ers pledged to deepen co­op­er­a­tion.

WU ZHIYI / CHINA DAILY

Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang and French Prime Min­is­ter Jean-Marc Ayrault un­veil a logo on Fri­day at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple in celebration of next year’s 50th an­niver­sary of diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

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