Strong China-EU ties to bring more stability to the world

China Plus Published: 2019-04-10 18:11:14
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Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs".

China and the European Union reiterated their commitment to further cementing their partnership and safeguarding free trade and multilateralism during Premier Li Keqiang's annual meeting with his European counterparts in Brussels on Tuesday. The annual meeting marks a new starting point for bilateral relations, and comes after the two sides celebrated the 20th anniversary of this annual series of high-level meetings last year.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C), President of the European Council Donald Tusk (L), and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker meet in Brussels for the 21st China-EU leaders' meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. [Photo:]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C), President of the European Council Donald Tusk (L), and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker meet in Brussels for the 21st China-EU leaders' meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. [Photo:]

President Xi Jinping vowed to further deepen ties between China and the European Union during his first visit to EU headquarters in 2014. After his visit, bilateral trade surged: In 2018, two-way trade hit a record high of 682 billion U.S. dollars. Both sides have also strengthened their cooperation in security, sustainable development, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and technological innovation.

Some European media outlets have described the policy of the European Union towards China as wavering. But leaders on both sides have repeatedly emphasized that there is more cooperation than competition in the relationship. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a recent China-EU strategic dialogue that the two sides share a consensus in areas including support for multilateralism, the leading role of the United Nations in international affairs, and support for an open world economy and a rules-based multilateral trading system.

When it comes to cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, over 10 European countries including Italy, Hungary, Poland, Greece, and Portugal have signed memorandums of understanding with China. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has also expressed her country's willingness to play an active role in the initiative.

The growing cooperation between China and the European Union has raised some voices of concern in Europe. A signed article by Premier Li was published on Monday in the German newspaper Handelsblatt in which he responded to these concerns. "Given the differences in geographical location, history, culture, social system and development path, it is natural for China and Europe to have different views and even differences over some issues," he wrote. But he expressed his optimism that these differences could be managed, adding that "our two sides have the wisdom and capability to properly handle differences, jointly tackle challenges, and expand mutually beneficial cooperation to the benefit of our nearly 2 billion people."

During their meeting this week, Premier Li and his European counterparts agreed to further expand bilateral cooperation in defending multilateralism and free trade and supporting scientific and technological innovation. Consensus was reached on advancing China-Europe investment agreement negotiations and expanding two-way market access. And both sides committed to make decisive progress this year on concluding the ambitious China-EU Comprehensive Investment Agreement in 2020.

In his signed article, Premier Li quoted a European proverb: "Those who work alone, add; those who work together, multiply." It is in this spirit that China and the European Union will continue to develop their partnership and jointly promote global governance in order to forge ties that will be a stabilizing force for global economic development and stability.

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.