Premier Li Keqiang: China and the EU are each other’s comprehensive strategic partners
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday called on China and the European Union (EU) to expand two-way opening up and enhance practical cooperation so as to better achieve mutual benefits and win-win results.
The pledge came as Li held the 22nd China-EU leaders’ meeting with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen via video link.
China and the EU are each other’s comprehensive strategic partners, the bilateral cooperation far outweighs competition, and there are far more areas where both sides agree than disagree, Li said.
China attaches great importance to its relations with Europe, he said.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the EU.
Li said since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the relationship between China and the EU has been generally defined by cooperation, which has enhanced the welfare of both peoples and brought stability to the world.
China has always supported the process of European integration, and is happy to see the EU maintain unity and prosperity, said Li.
He called on the two sides to view bilateral relations from a long-term perspective and with a broader vision, and regard each other as comprehensive strategic partners.
Li also called on both sides to increase understanding through dialogue, achieve mutually beneficial and win-win results through deepened cooperation, and jointly contribute to maintaining world peace, stability, development and prosperity.
During the meeting, Li said China and the EU, both as major global economies, should strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, maintain the stability of the industrial and supply chains, and inject impetus into global economic recovery in the face of COVID-19 impacts.
Li said China and the EU are committed to concluding the China-EU Comprehensive Investment Agreement in 2020 and reaching a comprehensive, balanced and high-level agreement.
He called for the signing of the China-EU geographical indications agreement at an early date.
China is unswervingly dedicated to expanding opening up, and committed to creating a market-oriented and world-class business environment with a sound legal framework for companies from all countries, said Li, adding that European companies have enjoyed the benefits.
China hoped the European side would also keep its trade and investment market open and relax the export control toward China so as to facilitate bilateral high-tech trade, Li said.
“Expanding two-way opening up on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual respect will help China and the EU better achieve mutual benefits and win-win results,” the premier said.
Hailing both China and the EU uphold multilateralism and free trade, Li said China is willing to maintain communication with the EU on issues such as the reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), jointly safeguard the rule-based multilateral trade system, participate constructively in the multilateral process of combating climate change.
He called on both sides to continue to support the World Health Organization in playing a leading role in the global fight against COVID-19, deepen cooperation on vaccine and drug research and development, and work together to win the battle against the pandemic at an early date.
For their part, Michel and von der Leyen spoke highly of the mutual support and solidarity in the fight against COVID-19 between the EU and China.
The will of cooperation between the EU and China is not weakened although the pandemic has impacted many countries, they said.
Lauding China’s active participation in the international cooperation on the fight against COVID-19 initiated by the EU, the EU leaders said the EU stands ready to enhance cooperation with China on economic recovery, jointly safeguard the safety of the industrial and supply chains, and further expand market opening.
They also called on both sides to strengthen connectivity, intensify cooperation on areas including trade, investment and digital economy, and reach the China-EU Comprehensive Investment Agreement in 2020.
Besides, China and the EU should enhance cooperation on the WTO reforms and climate change, and uphold multilateralism and free trade, they said.
The two sides also had an in-depth exchange of views on regional and international issues of common concern.
Xi Jinping eyes more stable, mature China-EU ties in post-pandemic era
Meeting on Monday via video link with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized that, since the COVID-19 outbreak, China and the European Union (EU) have supported and helped each other.
Xi noted that China is willing to join hands with the European side to push for a more stable and mature relationship in the post-pandemic era and lift their ties to a new height.
“China wants peace instead of hegemony,” said Xi, stressing that China is not only a country with a long history, but also a developing country full of vitality.
“The starting point of all our policies and work is to enable the Chinese people to live a happy life. We will steadfastly follow the path of peaceful development,” Xi said, noting that China presents “opportunities, rather than threats.”
He went on to say that China is “a partner, not an opponent” to the EU side, as China will continue to deepen reform and expand opening up, which will provide Europe with a new round of cooperation opportunities and development space.
“There is no conflict of fundamental interests between China and Europe. Cooperation far outweighs competition, and consensus far outweighs disagreement,” he said, calling on the two sides to respect each other, and seek common ground while reserving differences.
The two sides should continuously enhance mutual understanding and trust, expand common interests in cooperation, solve difficult problems in development, and build a China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership with more global influence.
The world under the impact of the pandemic is undergoing profound changes and facing more unstable and uncertain factors, Xi emphasized, calling for fostering new opportunities in crises and creating new prospects in the face of changing circumstances.
As two major forces, huge markets and great civilizations in the world, what China and the EU advocate and oppose and in what areas they cooperate will have global significance, Xi said.
China and the EU should serve as two major forces to maintain global peace and stability, Xi said, noting that China is willing to communicate with the European side on major issues.
“We believe that the EU will continue to move forward in the direction of unity, stability, openness and prosperity. China is delighted to see that the EU makes a constructive contribution to international peace and stability, and is willing to strengthen strategic cooperation with the EU to jointly cope with global challenges,” he said.
Meanwhile, China and the EU should serve as two huge markets that promote global development and prosperity, Xi said.
“Our two major economies should play the role as dual engines of the world economy, drive the recovery of global economy, jointly support a scientific and orderly resumption of work and production, strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, and keep global industrial and supply chains stable and smooth,” Xi said.
The two sides should maintain market openness to each other, accelerate the negotiation of the China-EU investment agreement, strengthen cooperation in the green and digital fields, and develop a partnership in green development, said Xi, calling on the two sides to enhance third-party cooperation in Africa.
In addition, China and Europe should serve as two great civilizations that adhere to multilateralism and help improve global governance, the Chinese president said.
“No matter how the international situation changes, China will take the side of multilateralism and adhere to the global governance concept of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits,” Xi said.
Xi said that China appreciates EU’s firm adherence to multilateralism, participation in international anti-pandemic cooperation, and increasing investment in the World Health Organization and other international institutions.
He said that China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the EU on major international and regional issues, strengthen dialogue and cooperation on global public health governance, and promote the building of a community of health for all.
Xi stressed that he would like to maintain close communication with the two EU leaders, advance a series of major China-EU political agendas, and push bilateral relations to a new level.
The two EU leaders said that the relationship between the EU and China is full of vitality, stressing that only through cooperation can the world cope with global challenges, and only dialogue and consultation can resolve conflicts and eliminate regional instability, as the world is facing great uncertainties.
The EU side is ready to conduct strategic dialogue with China to expand consensus in a candid manner, they noted.
The EU leaders voiced willingness to strengthen cooperation with China on vaccine R&D and work resumption. The EU is ready to expand bilateral trade and push for more progress in cooperation with China in green and low-carbon development, digital economy and other areas, they said.
They said that the EU is willing to reach an investment agreement with China at an early date.
They also expressed willingness to work with China to overcome the impacts of the pandemic as soon as possible and advance world economic recovery.
According to the two EU leaders, the EU is committed to multilateralism, and stands ready to enhance coordination and cooperation with China on public health security, climate change, sustainable development, third-party cooperation in Africa and other major issues within the frameworks of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the Group of 20.
The EU will work with China to achieve successful outcomes in major political agendas agreed upon by the two sides, according to the two leaders.