China and Europe can be forces of stability amid global turbulence
Published: Mar 04, 2024 07:40 PM


The 60th year of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) isn't easy. MSC Chairman Christoph Heusgen called on everyone to look for "silver linings" among the dark clouds. Indeed, pessimism is more likely to attract attention than problem-solving. Looking beyond Europe or the North Atlantic, China, a partner, a force for stability, rather than a rival or a threat, can help overcome the lose-lose dilemma. 

China, an advocate of cooperation, helps stabilize major power relations. Although some governments are concerned with relative gains, China doesn't buy into the logic of zero-sum competition. Europe is seen as China's partner. China and the EU have made progress in their 20-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Instead of worrying about so-called asymmetric dependency, China sees potential for cooperation in many areas. The consensus and achievements of various high-level dialogues between China and Europe prove that win-win cooperation is not just rhetoric.    

Resolving hotspot issues is of the utmost urgency. While some are trapped in fatigue about adding fuel to the fire, China is working tirelessly for peace. President Xi Jinping has had in-depth communication with both Russian and Ukrainian leaders. China's no-nuclear-war declaration has been loudly proclaimed in meetings with European leaders. As the conflict enters its third year, China's special envoy is conducting a new round of shuttle diplomacy. On the current conflict in the Middle East, China pushed the UN Security Council to adopt the first resolution under its rotating presidency. At the same time, the US disappointed the world with its repeated vetoes.

In the face of global challenges, China is both a practitioner and a contributor. Currently the world's largest producer of wind and solar energy, China helps bridge the gap between ambition and progress on climate change. Last year, China contributed more than half of renewable energy additions. China is actively participating in global digital governance, including the AI Safety Summit in the UK and the High-level Digital Dialogue with the EU. On global financial reform, China's pledge to support developing countries was welcomed in Paris. 

China is a driver of the global economy. Last year, China contributed more than one-third of global growth. Thanks to the resilience of the Chinese economy, the IMF has raised its forecast for global growth in 2024. China doesn't develop in isolation. The unilateral visa-free policy shows China's determination to open its door wider. FTA negotiations between China and some European countries are going well. While European audiences have seen China's pavilion at the International Agricultural Fair for the first time, Chinese consumers will enjoy more high-quality agricultural products from Europe, such as Spanish beef. Two-way investment between China and Europe will see stable growth in 2024. 

Cooperation brings tangible win-win results with an inclusive approach. That's why China chooses to be an advocate of cooperation to provide stability for the world. It's time for Europe to decide its role in this turbulent world. An independent force to save jeopardized cooperation, or a follower drifting to self-destructive competition? 

It's not a difficult choice if one thinks of Europe's own interests. To get out of the current lose-lose quagmire of the Ukraine crisis, China's appeals for peace talks and political solutions should be recognized. Hysterical sanctions that spill over to others barely help. To advance global governance, multilateralism should be upheld. To make the global pie bigger, the inclusive principle of economic globalization should be upheld. Businesses should not be upset by protectionism. Competitiveness can't be improved behind closed doors. The situation may not be encouraging, but there is still hope. China-Europe joint efforts for stability will lead us to the silver lining.

The author is an observer on international affairs. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn