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France and China Begin Strategic Nuclear Partnership

France and China have agreed to form what they are calling a "strategic" partnership in civilian nuclear power.

The announcement came on November 4 as Chinese President Hu Jintao opened a three-day state visit to France.

The opening day of the visit included the announcement of more than $20 billion worth of new deals between France and China, including in the nuclear sector.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the two countries plan to work together on nuclear reactors, fuel recycling and uranium extraction from mines, and will consider selling the products of this cooperation to third parties.

Sarkozy said France envisions a "strategic collaboration" with China in the nuclear sphere "without limits."

Sarkozy, who has been criticized for not confronting China about its human rights shortcomings, said at a state dinner in Paris on November 4 that there would be no "taboo subjects" that could not be discussed with Beijing.

"All this is at the heart of a Franco-Chinese dialogue which has no limits, no borders and no taboo subjects. We will speak about all the subjects, together, and in confidence, without wanting to teach each other lessons, so that we can better understand things and progress together better in a spirit of constant mutual respect," Sarkozy said.

Under the announced cooperation plans, the French energy firm Areva has signed a contract to supply $3.5 billion worth of uranium to China. Another deal covers the provision of more than 100 European-made Airbus planes to China.

By. RFE/RL

Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.




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