BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing Monday evening.
Xi said Macron's visit to China, as his first visit to Asia at the start of year, showed that he was "paying high attention to the China-France relationship."
France was the first Western power to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.
"Chairman Mao Zedong and General Charles de Gaulle made a historic decision with remarkable political foresight to forge diplomatic ties in 1964," Xi said. "The decision not only changed the world pattern at that time, but also has effects on the world development nowadays."
"In the new era, we should follow the spirit of being responsible for history, stick to the right path so as to move toward a bright future of China-French ties," Xi said.
Stressing that there are many uncertainties in today's world, Xi said China advocated the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, while France had similar views.
"The two countries can enhance political mutual trust and fully tap the potential of cooperation transcending differences on the social system, development stage and culture," he said.
China stands ready to work closely with France to enhance cooperation including that under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi said.
He said that China attached importance to coordination with France on major international issues in the hope of promoting world stability and prosperity.
Macron said he was willing to exchange views with Xi on France-China relations and major international issues, during his first state visit to China.
He said he hoped to increase mutual trust and advance France-China relations and EU-China relations via the visit.
"France would like to take an active part in the Belt and Road Initiative," said Macron, adding that France would work with China to address common challenges of the international community such as climate change.
He said he believed that his visit to China would be a new milestone in the history of France-China relations.
Xi's wife Peng Liyuan and Macron's wife Brigitte Macron also attended the meeting.
The French president is paying a state visit to China from Monday to Wednesday. He arrived in Beijing Monday afternoon after a half-day visit to China's northwestern city Xi'an.