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New dynamic for China-EU ties (3)

By Jiang shixue (China Daily)

13:23, May 02, 2012

However, it should be noted that though China-EU relations are steadily progressing, there are some obstacles that need to be overcome. For example, the EU has still not yet recognized China's market economy status. In addition, although China's expanding investment in Europe is mutually beneficial, some European media and think tanks are prejudiced against China's investments in Europe. While commenting on a Chinese private entrepreneur's plan to buy a vast tract of Icelandic land for a tourism project, the Financial Times said the deal could give Beijing a strategic foothold in the North Atlantic and that the project could provide cover for China's geopolitical interests. Icelandic Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson wrote on his website that China was known for its "long term thinking alongside buying up the world."

A report published by the European Council on Foreign Relations in July 2011, "The Scramble for Europe", made carping comments about China's expanding investment in Europe, stating that China is buying up Europe.

Europeans know very little about China, while Chinese people have little knowledge of Europe; the mutual misperceptions result in unnecessary misunderstandings.

Of course, to enhance mutual understanding and trust is easier said than done. But the two sides cannot just wait and hope for the best, they must make greater efforts to communicate and have frequent and timely contact at all levels and in all areas. In this process, Europe should respect China's path of development and understand the level of China's development. China, for its part, should be more open-minded and listen to justified criticism and try to overcome misunderstandings and prejudice.

The author is deputy director of the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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