CHINA / DIPLOMACY
Ireland a stable force within EU to promote China-EU ties: Wang Yi
Published: May 31, 2021 08:18 PM
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defense Simon Coveney Photo: website of Chinese Foreign Ministry

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defense Simon Coveney Photo: website of Chinese Foreign Ministry



 Ireland is a stable force within the EU, and China believes that Ireland will continue to play a positive role in promoting the sound and stable development of China-EU relations, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a meeting with Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defense Simon Coveney in Guiyang of Southwest China's Guizhou Province on Sunday.

Echoing Wang's remarks, Coveney said that as a good friend of China in the EU, Ireland is willing to be China's trustworthy partner and expects further progress in EU-China relations.

The meeting was one of Wang's meetings with several European ministers during the weekend in Guiyang, and it was the first face-to-face meeting since the European Parliament froze the highly expected EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI).

During their meeting, Wang said China-Ireland relations have maintained sound and steady growth, and become more mature. The essence of China-Ireland practical cooperation is mutually beneficial, and the major driver is complementarity. 

Ireland is one of the few EU member states that have maintained a trade surplus with China for over 10 consecutive years, and China has become the second biggest market of Irish meat and dairy products.

Chinese Ambassador to Ireland He Xiangdong told media in May that in 2020, despite the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, total trade between China and Ireland had reached a record high. Trade for the first quarter in 2021 was $5.2 billion, an increase of 29.6 percent from the same period last year. 

Wang also said that China and the EU are comprehensive strategic partners, not rivals. "The EU should understand China's development stages in an objective and unbiased way, assess China's progress based on facts, and deal with its relations with China in a calm and evidence-based manner. Ireland is a stable force within the EU, and China believes that Ireland will continue to play a positive role in promoting the sound and stable development of China-EU relations," Wang said.

Coveney said Ireland firmly supports the role of the UN and its institutions, and praises China's firm safeguarding of multilateralism despite headwinds of unilateralism. It is still the shared aspiration of European countries to strengthen cooperation with China. Both sides will make irrevocable mistakes of historic consequences if each side goes its way due to certain man-made obstacles. 

The EU-China comprehensive investment agreement serves the common interests, so both sides should overcome the current difficulties through candid dialogues. As a good friend of China in the EU, Ireland is willing to be China's trustworthy partner, and it expects further progress of the EU-China relations, according to Coveney. 

Wang had met with Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic and Poland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau on Saturday. 

Wang's meetings with European ministers were held amid escalating differences between China and the EU over a number of issues such as the halted CAI, tit-for-tat measures over China's Xinjiang-related issues, and doubts over the China-CEEC cooperation mechanism after Lithuania vowed to quit. Behind all those moves, the role of Washington in influencing Brussels to take a hard-line stance toward Beijing has put Europe in an awkward situation, experts said. 

The positive interactions between the Chinese and foreign ministers from those European countries show that the decision by the European Parliament did not reflect the whole picture of the China-Europe relationship, analysts said. 

Global Times 


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