Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who are in China for the 24th China-EU Summit, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 7, 2023. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday 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.
Xi underscored that China-EU relations not only hold strategic significance but also have a worldwide impact, carrying implications for global peace, stability, and prosperity, amid the increasingly turbulent international situation.
Why did Xi emphasize the strategic significance and global impact of the China-EU relationship?
UPHOLDING APT DESCRIPTION OF PARTNERSHIP
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and the 25th anniversary of the China-EU Summit mechanism. Xi called on both parties to draw on history, acknowledge the trend of the day, and uphold the apt description of their relationship as a comprehensive strategic partnership.
China always recognizes the EU as a strategic force in the international landscape and takes nurturing China-EU ties as a foreign policy priority. Xi's repeated advocacy of the China-EU partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization distinctly displays China's consistent stand.
China and the EU are partners, not adversaries -- they offer each other opportunities, rather than threats, with their mutual benefits far outweighing differences.
Since the end of last year, Xi has held multiple meetings with leaders of the EU and its member states. Under their strategic guidance, high-level dialogues in areas such as strategy, trade and commerce, green development, and digital affairs have yielded substantial outcomes, reinforcing positive momentum in China-EU ties.
Indeed, differences in historical and cultural backgrounds, levels of development, and ideologies do exist between China and the EU. Nevertheless, as Xi stated, "We should not view each other as rivals just because our systems are different, reduce cooperation because competition exists, or engage in confrontation because there are disagreements."
TIGHTENING BOND OF SHARED INTERESTS
At present, China and the EU have established a framework for multifaceted, multi-layered, and broad-spectrum exchanges and cooperation. This is particularly evident within the economic sphere where their relationship exhibits a high level of complementarity.
During the meeting, Xi emphasized that the two sides should do more to enhance the breadth and depth of cooperation and strengthen the bond built on shared interests.
Xi proposed "three partners": key partners for economic and trade cooperation, preferred partners for scientific and technological cooperation, and trustworthy partners for industrial and supply chain cooperation.
These three elements -- "key," "preferred," and "trustworthy" -- paint an optimistic vision for the coexistence of the Chinese and EU economies. They underscore China's positive intentions and sincerity in pursuing mutually beneficial cooperation with the EU.
Amid the slow recovery of the global economy, bilateral trade between China and the EU reached a record high last year, totaling 847.3 billion U.S. dollars, up 2.4 percent year on year. This year, German automaker Volkswagen announced a 1-billion-euro investment in China to establish a new center for development, innovation, and procurement for fully connected electric cars. Furthermore, Spanish grinding machine manufacturer Danobat Group established its sixth-largest experience center in Shanghai this year, accelerating its localization strategy in China.
China is currently pursuing Chinese modernization on all fronts through high-quality development. "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," Xi said, pointing out the direction for China-EU cooperation.
PROVIDING GREATER STABILITY FOR WORLD
Xi views China and Europe as two major forces, markets, and civilizations on the world stage. In this meeting, Xi further explained this perspective, describing them as "two major forces advancing multipolarity," "two major markets in support of globalization," and "two major civilizations championing diversity."
The decisions made by China and the EU, respectively as the largest developing country and the largest union of developed countries, are of global importance. Their advocacies, oppositions, and cooperation on various issues carry significant implications, especially in the midst of major changes unseen in a century.
It can be said that if both China and the EU choose dialogue and cooperation, bloc confrontation can be avoided; if they both opt for peace and stability, a new Cold War can be prevented; if they both embrace openness and win-win cooperation, global development and prosperity can have greater hope.
In today's world, when it comes to peacefully settling international and regional hotspot issues and properly addressing major global issues that concern the future of humanity, such as climate change and artificial intelligence, both China and the EU need to practice true multilateralism. This entails engaging in dialogue and cooperation, as well as strengthening communication and coordination in multilateral platforms such as the United Nations.
"It is incumbent on both sides to provide greater stability for the world and stronger impetus for development," Xi said. ■