SHENYANG, April 22(Xinhuanet)-- French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said here Friday that France is optimistic about the economic prospects of China's northeast region and wants to step up cooperation with the area.
The northeast region is China's old industrial base, consistingof Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces.
At a seminar, Raffarin told local officials and entrepreneurs that the northeast China has advantages in industrial infrastructure and personnel. France's cooperation would involve ground transportation and environmental protection, he said.
Senior officials from the region, including Governor Zhang Wenyue of Liaoning Province, Governor Zhang Zuoji of Heilongjiang Province and Executive Vice-Governor Tian Xueren of the Jilin Province, briefed Raffarin on each province's background, inviting France to take part in China's plan of rejuvenating the old industrial base.
Prior to the seminar, Raffarin visited the Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty(1644-1911) in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province.
Raffarin arrived in Beijing Thursday for a three-day official visit to China. On Thursday morning, China and France signed 20 agreements and contracts with a total value of three billion euros,following hour-long talks between Raffarin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
Also in the French prime minister's itinerary is China's economic hub of Shanghai, where he is expected to deliver three speeches to local business leaders and university students, and attend an illuminating ceremony at the city's Oriental Pearl TV Tower, a landmark structure of the metropolis.
As part of the celebrations for the Year of France in China, the tower will be illuminated in blue, white and red-- the colors of the French national flag.
Raffarin is due to leave Shanghai Saturday at the end of his China visit, the second since 2003. Enditem