France and China reassert mutual support for the ‘irreversible’ Paris climate agreement

France and China have reasserted their mutual support for the “irreversible” Paris climate agreement, just days after the US made its first formal step to withdraw from the accord.

Speaking at a joint press conference on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping also maintained their “strong commitment to improving international cooperation on climate change.”

Macron did not specifically mention the United States in his speech, but said he “deplored” the decision by “some other” countries to withdraw.

The US is currently the only country to withdraw from the deal.

“I want to see them as marginal choices,” he said, adding: “Beacause when China, the EU, Russia — which ratified the Paris Agreements a few weeks ago — are firmly committed, the isolated choice of one or the other is not enough to change the course of the world.

“It only leads to marginalise it.”

Meanwhile, a Chinese official told a news briefing that Macron’s three-day state visit to China had led to the signing of bilateral agreements totalling $15 billion (€13.5bn).

Such deals were signed in the aeronautics, energy and agriculture industry, while China also approved imports of poultry, beef and pork from 20 French companies.

Xi later said he hoped the meetings would boost multilateralism and free trade by sending “a strong signal to the world about steadfastly upholding” the agreements, and to work together “to build open economies.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan greeted Macron and his wife Brigitte at the entrance to the Great Hall of the People, near Tiananmen Square, where a welcoming ceremony was in full swing.

The French president had previously said that he hoped his visit would foster “a stable partnership” between the EU and China “on the big questions of the world in a world that is more and more destabilised.”

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