China to Reconsider Tourist Boycott of France

LJUBLJANA ~ Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said he would look into a French request to end a boycott by Beijing travel agents of French tourist destinations, a French official said.

“The minister showed me his willingness to accept our request,” Alain Joyandet, junior minister in the French foreign ministry, said after meeting Yang on the sidelines of an EU-China meeting.

Paris called on China on Monday to end the boycott of French tourist destinations imposed by Bejing municipal authorities on travel agents, saying it violated the spirit of partnership between the two countries.

Relations between China and France soured in April over a chaotic Olympic torch relay through Paris that was disrupted by human rights and pro-Tibet protesters.

Joyandet said that during the meeting with Yang he asked the Chinese minister to “lift the dispositions of the mayor of Beijing which are a violation of the intergovernmental agreement between China and the EU.”

“He (Yang) said that our ambassador (to Beijing Herve Ladsous) had met the head of the office for tourism in Beijing and they had a frank, very important discussion and that he would continue on the same path,” Joyandet said.

France is the most popular European holiday destination for Chinese tourists, with around 700,000 Chinese travelling to the country last year.

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