Chinese President Xi Jinping on Dec. 7 met with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen who were in China for the 24th China-EU Summit.
The two sides had in-depth exchanges of views on strategic issues critical to the direction of China-EU relations and global issues of mutual interest to draw a blueprint for, identify the focus of and inject impetus to China-EU relations. Both sides sent out a positive message of China and the EU working together for further progress in our relations.
The bilateral relationship between China and the EU has shown a good momentum of recovery and steady progress under the strategic guidance of leaders from both sides.
The two sides have hosted a series of high-level dialogues and reached important consensus on cooperation, which showcased the resilience and vitality of China-EU relations, as well as the strategic significance and global influence of China-EU cooperation.
China and the EU have released a positive signal to strengthen communication, engage in dialogue and cooperation, and constructively handle differences, achieving fruitful results. This has injected stability and positive energy into the turbulent international situation.
There is no fundamental strategic disagreement or conflict between China and Europe. China will keep its Europe policy stable in the long run, continue to see Europe as an independent force in a multi-polar world, and stay committed to a China-Europe relationship that is not targeted at, subjugated to, or controlled by any third party.
China has released three policy papers on the EU, all of which take mutual respect as the primary principle in developing China-EU relations.
The two sides have developed a pattern of all-round, multi-level and wide-ranging cooperation since they established a comprehensive strategic partnership 20 years ago.
Taking stock of history, as long as China and the EU navigate the trend of the world, uphold the apt description of their relationship as a comprehensive strategic partnership, view each other from a strategic perspective, fully leverage the guiding role of the China-EU Summit and the five high-level dialogues, strengthen strategic communication, and increase understanding and properly handle differences through constructive dialogue, they will be able to ensure a stable, sound and long-term China-EU relationship.
China and the EU are partners, not rivals and their common interests far exceed differences. Xi stressed that the two sides need to develop a right perception of each other, promote mutual understanding and trust, honor commitments, do the right thing and be wholehearted in developing China-EU relations. They should not view each other as rivals just because their systems are different, reduce cooperation because competition exists, or engage in confrontation because there are disagreements.
There is a high degree of complementarity between the Chinese and EU economies. The two sides should leverage their complementary strengths in terms of market, capital and technology to upgrade traditional industries and foster emerging ones, explore new modes of cooperation, foster new areas of growth, and jointly improve industrial and supply chains. The two sides should do more to increase the breadth and depth of cooperation and tighten the bond of shared interests.
Recently, China has decided to apply unilateral visa-free policy on a trial basis to travelers holding ordinary passports from countries including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. This has been generally welcomed by relevant countries in Europe.
In the future, China and the EU should also bolster people-to-people exchanges and facilitate personnel interflows.
Xi underscored that Chinese modernization and European integration are strategic choices that China and Europe have made respectively with the future in mind. The two sides should respect and support each other, and leverage the complementarity of their development strategies for common progress. China will continue to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, including by creating synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative with the EU’s Global Gateway to help developing countries grow faster.
At present, the China-Europe Railway Express service reaches 217 cities across 25 European nations, driving economic development and improving people’s livelihoods in countries and regions along the routes. This has promoted win-win cooperation between Asia and Europe.
According to the latest statistics, the total volume of goods transported by the service in the first 11 months of this year already exceeded the total volume recorded in the whole of 2022.
As China pursues high-quality development and high-standard opening up, it sees the EU as a key partner for economic and trade cooperation, a preferred partner for scientific and technological cooperation, and a trustworthy partner for industrial and supply chain cooperation. China is ready to work with the EU for mutual benefit and common development.
Michel and von der Leyen noted that the EU highly values its ties with China, and does not want to decouple from China. It seeks a long-term, stable, predictable and sustainable relationship with China, and hopes that the EU-China Summit will help reenergize EU-China relations.
China-EU relations bear on the prosperity of Asia and Europe, as well as the stability of the international landscape. It should be well safeguarded and developed by both sides.
Xi pointed out that China and the EU are two major forces advancing multipolarity, two major markets in support of globalization, and two major civilizations championing diversity. Amid the increasingly turbulent international situation, the China-EU relationship has strategic significance and implications for global peace, stability and prosperity.
The EU side also believes that the EU and China have shared responsibilities and interests in keeping the world peaceful and stable.
The two sides should work together to safeguard multilateralism and strengthen global governance, so as to contribute to the well-being of mankind and addressing global challenges.
China and the EU should remain partners for mutually beneficial cooperation in a volatile and intertwined world. China is willing to work together with the EU, uphold mutual respect and win-win cooperation, follow true multilateralism, and continuously deepen the China-
EU comprehensive strategic partnership, to provide greater stability for the world and stronger impetus for development.