By He Yin
Chinese President Xi Jinping met via video link with President Charles Michel of the European Council and President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission in Beijing on the evening of April 1.
Providing guidance and charting a course for the healthy and sustained relationship between China and Europe, President Xi stressed that China and the EU should act as two major forces upholding world peace, two big markets promoting shared development, and two great civilizations promoting human progress. He also shared his views on how to settle the Ukraine crisis under the current circumstances.
When President Xi paid a historic visit to the EU headquarters in March 2014, he suggested that China and Europe work together to foster a China-EU partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization, which has endowed the China-Europe comprehensive strategic partnership with new connotations.
This vision remains unchanged today and is of practical significance under the current circumstances. As the world has entered a period of new turbulence and transformation, China and the EU should offset uncertainties in the international landscape with the stability of China-EU relations, deepen economic globalization through open cooperation, and meet global challenges through solidarity and collaboration.
China and the EU are two major independent forces that share broad strategic consensus and common interests. Dialogue and cooperation remain the mainstream of China-EU relations, and mutual benefit is the keynote of China-EU cooperation. It’s a consensus between the two sides that they need peace, multilateralism and dialogue, instead of war, unilateralism, and confrontation.
China and the EU should perceive their relations from broader strategic and more profound historical perspectives. Xi said they should take the lead in defending the international system with the UN at its core, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and jointly reject the resurrection of rival-bloc mentality and oppose attempts at a new Cold War, with a view to maintaining world peace and stability.
Xi called on the EU to form its own perception of China, adopt an independent China policy, and work with China to promote the steady and sustained growth of China-EU relations and to add stabilizing factors to a turbulent world.
China and the EU are important trading partners of each other. They carry out cooperation in a wide range of fields and their interests are interwoven.
China has remained the largest trading partner of the EU for two consecutive years, and the trade volume between the two sides reached a record high of more than $800 billion last year. The trade structure between them is constantly optimized, with prominent growth observed in aerospace, biology, optoelectronics, and electronics.
China’s solid efforts to deepen reform and expand opening up have created important opportunities for European business investment. The China-EU agreement on geographical indications has further facilitated bilateral trade, and the China-Europe freight trains are also contributing to the stability of the international industrial and supply chains.
As two major economies, China and the EU enjoy strong resilience and huge potential in economic and trade cooperation. The cooperation between them is conducive to not only their own development, but also the economic recovery of the world.
Facing increasing global challenges, China and the EU need to follow true multilateralism and advocate a vision of global governance featuring the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.
From jointly making important contributions to the reaching of the Paris Agreement to leading cooperation on biodiversity, and from offering mutual assistance in the fight against COVID-19 to further enhancing anti-pandemic cooperation for narrowing the global immunity gap, China and the EU enjoy a solid foundation in strengthening cooperation.
China welcomes the EU’s support for and participation in the Global Development Initiative. The two sides’ efforts to promote world peace, economic growth and common prosperity will contribute wisdom and strength to improving global governance.
Concerning regional and global peace and stability, the situation in Ukraine is receiving high attention from the international society. During the meeting with President Michel and President von der Leyen, President Xi called on the global community to encourage peace talks, prevent a humanitarian crisis on a bigger scale, foster lasting peace in Europe and the Eurasian continent, and prevent the regional conflict from magnifying. His proposals fully demonstrated China’s major responsibility to always stand on the right side of history and play a constructive role in safeguarding world peace and the common interests of mankind.
Promoting peace talks, keeping the situation under control, preventing larger-scale humanitarian crisis and spillover of the Ukraine crisis are a consensus reached between China and the EU. Both of the two sides are unwilling to see the world divided, and oppose a new Cold War in any form.
There is no conflict of fundamental interests between China and the EU. Cooperation far outweighs competition, and consensus far outweighs disagreement. The two sides should maintain their mutual understanding, and adhere to mutual trust, dialogues and cooperation for win-win results, so as to make constant progress of China-EU relations, and make their contributions to world peace and development as two major forces, big markets and great civilizations.