China-EU relations can be improved if we look at the big picture of the world: Global Times editorial
Published: Dec 02, 2022 12:47 AM
China EU Photo:VCG

China EU Photo:VCG

On December 1, President of the European Council Charles Michel visited China, and it was the first official meeting between the leaders of China and the European Union (EU) institution after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Public opinion has generally noticed that Michel is the second important European leader to visit China over the past month after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Recently, the high-level interaction between China and the EU has accelerated significantly, and the EU's good intentions for relations with China have been increasing. This has released stability and positive energy not only for the development of China-EU relations, which have encountered some setbacks, but also for the current complex and turbulent international situation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out in the talks with Michel on Thursday that the more turbulent the international situation becomes and the more prominent the global challenges become, the greater the global significance of China-EU relations will be. China hopes that the EU will become an important partner in China's pursuit of the Chinese path to modernization and share the opportunities offered by China's market, institutional opening-up and deepening international cooperation.

Michel said that the EU is ready to become a reliable and predictable partner for China. The EU upholds the one-China policy and respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will not interfere in China's internal affairs. After face-to-face in-depth communication, it can always be found that there are many common interests and consensus between the two sides, and the foundation of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership has not changed.

China always attaches great importance to developing relations with the EU, and we can also feel the EU's good will to develop relations with China. However, in the past few years, there have been some challenges in China-EU relations, the impact of which has continued till now. It requires the two sides to meet each other half way to resolve them. For ordinary Chinese, the most annoying thing is that some European politicians point fingers at China's internal affairs with a sense of moral superiority. They also dislike and are wary of some people in Europe acting as Washington's accomplice to contain and suppress China. They expect the EU to strengthen coordination with China in promoting multilateralism and building a fairer and more reasonable international political and economic order. It is hoped that the EU will pay adequate attention to these aspects.

Michel also stated that the EU will work with China to push forward the process toward an EU-China investment agreement, make supply chains more stable, strengthen mutual trust, and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas. It is a pity that the China-EU investment agreement is stuck at the European Parliament and has become a victim of European politics. It will become a landmark of China-EU's win-win cooperation getting rid of political interference if the EU can clear the final hurdle for the China-EU investment agreement, promote its signing and entry into force to benefit the enterprises and people of both sides as soon as possible.

Statistics show that in the first 10 months of this year, the bilateral trade volume between China and the EU reached $711.4 billion, a year-on-year increase of 6.3 percent. In the first eight months, the EU's foreign direct investment into China surged by 123.7 percent year-on-year. At a time when China-EU relations are facing some ups and downs, it is encouraging that such a large increase can still be achieved. It also reflects the huge potential of China-EU mutually beneficial cooperation in economy and trade. As the spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said, under the political guidance of the high-level leaders of both sides, China and the EU have formed a strong economic symbiotic relationship. Taking the opportunity of the interaction between the leaders of China and the EU, and adhering to the principles of mutual respect, mutual benefit and win-win, we should further tap the trade and investment potential of the two sides and carry out higher-level cooperation. This is beneficial to China, the EU and the world.

What needs to be emphasized is that, as "two major forces for world peace, two major markets for common development, and two major civilizations for human progress," the importance of China-Europe relations is not only reflected in the level of economic and trade cooperation. China and Europe both advocate maintaining the international system with the United Nations at its core, and can work together to practice true multilateralism, join efforts to address challenges and jointly maintain world peace and development. This not only means a broad space for China-Europe cooperation, but also is of great significance to the world at a crossroads. From this perspective, we also hope that Europe will transcend the Cold War mentality and ideological confrontation, go beyond institutional confrontation, and oppose all forms of the "new cold war."

During Michel's visit to China, French President Emmanuel Macron is visiting the US. While China and Europe are trying to bridge their differences, some contradictions in Europe and the US are being exposed. It is no coincidence that the EU's recent reflections on China and US policies are almost simultaneous. When EU becomes more aware of how important it is to uphold strategic autonomy today, it will automatically trigger corresponding adjustments in its foreign relations. Frankly speaking, some European countries' policies toward China have been clearly subject to Washington's attitude in the past, which is obviously harmful for Europe. Fortunately, more Europeans are beginning to recognize this.