France, China fete 50 years of ties with fast-track visas
Published on Jan 13, 2014 10:12 PM
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.
To continue reading, log in if you are a subscriber
Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!