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, on December 7, 2023. (XINHUA)
Chinese President Xi Jinping on December 7 called on China and the European Union (EU) to be partners for mutually beneficial cooperation, strengthen two-way political trust, build strategic consensus, cement the bonds of shared interest, steer clear of various kinds of interference, and step up dialogue and cooperation for the good of their people.
Amid the increasingly turbulent international situation, the China-EU relationship has strategic significance and implications for global peace, stability and prosperity, said Xi when meeting 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.
"It is incumbent on both sides to provide greater stability for the world and stronger impetus for development," Xi added.
Adherence to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. During the meeting, Xi urged the two sides to take stock of history, navigate the trend of the world, and uphold the apt description of the China-EU relationship as a comprehensive strategic partnership.
"Among the dozens of dialogue and exchange mechanisms between China and the EU at different levels, the leaders' meeting plays a leading role in guiding the way forward," said Cui Hongjian, professor of Academy of Regional and Global Governance at Beijing Foreign Studies University, adding the meeting this year is of special significance for the two sides to build on past achievements and forge ahead in developing ties.
The two sides need to consolidate the political foundation, 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, Xi said.
Michel and von der Leyen said the EU highly values its ties with China, adding 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 and European countries differ in social systems, cultural backgrounds and stages of development," said Cui, adding although bilateral relations may face some differences from time to time, there is no fundamental conflict of interests between China and the EU. "As long as China and the EU stick to the mainstream of cooperation and focus on common interests, the two sides can be more able to overcome challenges and promote the sound and steady development of bilateral relations."
Eying Enhanced Development Cooperation
Noting the Chinese economy enjoys a good momentum of steady growth, Xi said that 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," said Xi, urging the two sides to 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.
Michel and von der Leyen said the areas of EU-China cooperation continue to expand, and such cooperation is based on mutual benefit and equality, adding the EU does not want to decouple from China.
Given the rich achievements of cooperation between China and the EU in areas such as economy, trade, and green and digital development over the years, the two sides are highly complementary in development, and their practical cooperation has strong resilience and potential, Cui said.
Amid noises of "de-risking" and "decoupling," the cooperation proposals emphasized by Xi during the meeting are in line with the law of economic development and the common expectations of both peoples, injecting strong confidence into China-EU cooperation for the aim of safeguarding the security of supply and industrial chains, promoting an open world economy and advancing the prosperity and development of all countries, Cui added.
During the meeting, Xi urged China and the EU to strengthen communication and coordination in multilateral frameworks including the UN and the G20, uphold multilateralism, oppose camp-based confrontation, and promote the political settlement of international and regional hotspots.
Noting the EU and China have shared responsibilities and interests in keeping the world peaceful and stable, Michel and von der Leyen said it would like to have close communication and coordination with China, uphold multilateralism and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and work for the settlement of regional hotspots including Ukraine and the Middle East.
"As two major forces shaping the future landscape of the world, China and the EU share similar interests in safeguarding the authority of the United Nations and improving global governance," said Feng Zhongping, director of the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, adding that the two sides share a wide range of consensus in addressing global challenges.
"The remarks by leaders of both sides will inject more certainty and positive energy into safeguarding world peace and stability and enhancing the well-being of all humanity," said Feng.