China learns to take more initiative in Sino-EU ties

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-3-24 23:58:01

Chinese President Xi Jinping's ongoing Europe visit has made the continent a focus of public opinion.

Chinese interest in Europe has been declining sharply in recent years. Many hold that Europe has lost its competitiveness facing the future. It's merely a paradise for sightseeing and shopping with pedestrian streets and cafes throughout the continent. But it's European countries that have constantly been a thorn in the side of China. Some of them criticize China's human rights conditions and receive the Dalai Lama with their top leaders. There were even radical activities such as setting Chinese-owned shops on fire.

Forming an objective assessment of Europe is important for Chinese society. European countries are relatively small, but the EU has made them stick to each other, thus becoming a group of nations that are of vital importance to China's interests.

The EU as a whole is the world's largest economy, and China's biggest collective trading partner. The EU is politically powerful in terms of distribution of interests, international rule-making and discourse power. 

However, with its shrinking military power, the EU is struggling to be a super power in geopolitical competition, posing no strategic threats to China. In the Western camp, the European countries are mostly stagnant and plagued by various problems that prevail in the West.

As the origin of capitalism, Europe has a sense of superiority caused by cultural centralism. It's unfriendly, even paranoid, when tackling China, holding on to the fantasy of "transforming China."

Nonetheless, as there are no strategic conflicts between China and Europe, common interests can be easily found, and Europe is, perhaps, the only possible point where Beijing can break through the iron curtain of Western public opinion targeting China.

In the eyes of Westerners, Europe is greatly different from the US. But for Chinese, it seems that we are not clear whether we should place more emphasis on the divergences between Europe and the US or their common nature.

China was once in an inferior position when dealing with Europe. But now the situation is changing. Should we be modest or self-centered in dealing with Europe? China still lacks experience.

As the two are separated by Russia and some inland Asian countries, it's commendable that China and Europe have secured enormous common interests. It's a wise choice for China to move closer to Europe. There will be boundless cooperation potential between the two rather than a zero-sum game.

As long as the two keep moving forward, there will be unexpected opportunities for the deepening of cooperation.

Posted in: Observer

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