By Shweta Desai
PARIS (AA) - French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the global pandemic and Europe’s investment deal with Beijing in a telephone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to a statement by the Elysse.
Ratification of the International Labour Organization convention ratification, responsibility on financial debt in Africa and the Franco-Chinese partnership were also discussed during the talk on Thursday.
It was the first call between the men this year. Last year, the two leaders had five telephone conversations, according to a Chinese statement.
Macron asked Xi to contribute to strengthening the international response in terms of health care, via vaccines under the World Health Organization’s ACT-A initiative.
“The fight against the pandemic requires more than ever resolute action by the international community to strengthen healthcare systems as well as support for the development and distribution of tests, treatments and vaccines,” said the statement from the Elysse.
China produced the Sinovax and Sinopharm vaccines and has upped vaccine diplomacy by supplying doses to “more than 50 developing countries” in Asia, Africa and the Gulf.
It “stands ready to work with France to support the World Health Organization's role in international cooperation against the pandemic, and actively participate in the ACT-A initiative and the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX),” according to the statement from the Chinese foreign ministry.
Macron has been advocating vaccine equity for poor and developing nations, pleading with EU countries and the US to donate a portion of vaccine doses to Africa.
France also raised the issue of A moratorium on debt for poor and vulnerable African countries by the G20 and underlined the collective responsibility of all financial actors in Africa.
The G20 agreed last year to suspend eight-month interest payments on all official loans owed by 73 low-income nations, including 44 from Africa.
China, amongst the largest bilateral creditors, in a major shift joined the G20 program and suspended debt service payments worth $2.1 billion.
On the Europe-China trade agreement signed last year accelerating the scope of investments from both sides, France covertly raised the issue, objecting to the deal concerning Beijing’s forced use and exploitation of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Attractiveness for France cited China’s refusal to ratify the International Labor Organization (ILO) convention prohibiting forced labor and said it was a red line for Paris
During the call, Macron stressed the need to make progress on ILO conventions, however, expressed concern about the military situation in Myanmar and agreed to strengthen the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
All points, however, found no mention in the Chinese readout.