Europe can reshape Sino-West relationship

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-1 1:03:01

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is visiting Europe. In Belgium and France, he has signed deals worth tens of billions of euros, and strategically important results have been achieved at the 17th China-EU Summit. Li also proposed major strategies, such as building a China-EU investment platform. Some say that the current bilateral relationship is in a golden age.While some European media outlets are obsessed with controversial issues like human rights, their reports are more in the tabloid-style. France's exceptionally warm reception for Li is not only official etiquette but also a reflection of Europe's attitude toward China.

The China-EU relationship has progressed rapidly and steadily in recent years to become the most successful case of China maintaining a fruitful, rational relationship with the West. With robust economic and trade cooperation, the two sides have largely stayed on good terms geopolitically and exercised a certain restraint in ideological frictions. China's reaction to lingering issues like the Dalai Lama has worked.

It has impressed Chinese society that European powers like Britain joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) without much hesitation. This helps Chinese people adjust their understanding of Europe.

Now more Chinese people are inclined to believe that Europe is fully likely to help the West continue to develop friendly relations with China. This can change the whole landscape of the China-West relationship.

Honestly, Europe can hardly be a friend as China traditionally defines it. Ideological divergences will remain and the possibility of conflicts sparked by issues like the Dalai Lama cannot be ruled out. But common interests are taking the lead.

Europe's overwhelming concern is the economy. Despite disapproval from Washington, major European countries have joined the AIIB, indicating that the desire to receive growth momentum through engaging with China outweighs political calculations.

The joint Sino-French bid to build a nuclear power project in a third country; collaborative investment in Latin America, plus the proposed China-EU investment platform, will all continue to bring systematic changes to Sino-EU ties.

If Europe can gain remarkably more economic benefits from China than from its US ally, a sustained balance will then be formed. The EU depends on the US for security, but it can detach more easily than Australia can when dealing with China.

With the least obstacles in understanding China, Europe can be key to breaking the stalemate in China-West relations.

The China-EU relationship may not define international politics in this century, but it will bring critical inspiration.

Europe countries have finished adjusting their attitude toward China. But as China's manufacturing upgrades, there may be new competition between them. Our full knowledge of China-EU relations will help us manage possible frictions.

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