Sino-European ties set for breakthrough

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-6-16 0:28:02

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is setting off to Europe on Monday to attend the annual China-UK summit and launch official visits to the UK and Greece. Following President Xi Jinping's European tour in March, Li's visit demonstrated again that the Chinese government attaches great strategic importance to Europe. The European Union is the largest trading partner of China and Europe makes up half of the Western world from the political and cultural perspective, making it a region of irreplaceable significance.

Chinese society tends to hold a myriad of different attitudes toward Europe. On the one hand, the Chinese people have long harbored a deep-rooted adoration for European culture and regarded the features of the time-honored capitalist society as a paragon of nobility. On the other, "overlooking Europe" has become a prevalent phenomenon in Chinese public opinion. Not only stimulated by Europe's improper deeds, this sentiment is encouraged by the constantly changing balance of power owing to growing Beijing influence.

Generally speaking, the attention of the Chinese people on Europe has been on the wane and their interest in this region is concentrated on culture and consumption. Discord in China-Europe relations no longer strikes a direct political blow on Beijing as severe as before, which may disappoint some Europeans, but meanwhile create stable conditions for perennial friendship between the two.

Among major powers on the world stage, China and Europe should be getting along with each other in the easiest manner as most geopolitical contradictions triggered by Beijing's rise happen on its peripheries. Both sides confront more urgent and chronic challenges than temporary rifts.

Sino-US relations are being disrupted by political disagreement and geopolitical competition, let alone by the ties between Beijing and Tokyo. Europeans also attribute their decline partly to China, but such a grudge plays little role in shaping current bilateral relations. Pragmatic Europeans will pursue a bilateral relationship in more conformity with their own interests.

Chinese should also recognize that Europe constitutes the most realistic breakthrough in removing the biggest obstacle to China's rise: the West. In this sense, Europe is the outpost instead of the tip end of the Western world.

New emerging powers in the 21st century have fundamentally altered the simple mode of alliance or rivalry in the past. Beijing and European states are experiencing a phase of intertwined intimacy and friction, probably an overture to stable strategic relations.

China has become increasingly mature in diplomacy via roulette clashes with the UK, France and Germany. Though it is now difficult for Beijing to reap an overwhelming victory in a specific collision with Europe, persistence has yielded a kind of deterrence. Europeans are gradually realizing that bickering with Beijing comes at a price. China-Europe ties have recorded the vicissitudes of the world and we are still in the process of changes. Today China and Europe are molding each other and the era when one side enjoyed overwhelming superiority has gone.

Posted in: Editorial

blog comments powered by Disqus