Chinese President Xi Jinping sent condolences on Friday over the death of former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing, state television reported, calling him a “remarkable French statesman”.
The former president died on Wednesday from Covid-19 aged 94, at his family’s estate.
Xi expressed “deep condolences” to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, state media said, adding that the former president had “loved Chinese culture”.
Giscard “actively encouraged friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and France, and greatly contributed to the development of relations between the two countries”, Xi said.
The Chinese leader said Giscard was “an important promoter of European integration”.
Giscard — who governed for a single seven-year term from 1974 to 1981 — visited China for the first time as president in 1980, just as the country was beginning to open up to the outside world.
The first French president to visit communist China was Georges Pompidou in 1973.