France, China fete 50 years of ties with fast-track visas
PARIS (AFP) - Chinese visitors to France - the world's top tourist destination - are to get fast-track visas as part of celebrations marking the 50-year anniversary of Paris establishing full diplomatic ties with Communist Beijing.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced the measure on Monday as he unveiled year-long events feting the Jan 27, 1964 date on which France broke ranks with the US to open ties with the then-government of Mao Zedong - a decision that paved the way for China to gain global recognition.
Fabius told a press conference that former French president Charles De Gaulle's "pioneering" decision "gave France a special position in China" which had been buttressed over the years.
De Gaulle's decision caused diplomatic shockwaves at a time when the United States was still insisting the nationalist regime that had escaped to Taiwan should be considered the legitimate government of all of China.