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EU Ambassador: Wen's visit re-establishes confidence on partnership
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14:48, February 16, 2009

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EU Ambassador: Europeans need to know more about modern China

EU Ambassador: new partnership framework not on horizon

China and the European Union have sent a clear message to each other and to the rest of the world stating that their strategic partnership will continue and grow, said Mr. Serge Abou, EU Ambassador to China. He also stressed that he has not seen "any basic issue" that would prevent the development of the partnership.

Mr. Abou made those comments in an exclusive interview with People's Daily Online on Feb. 10 about Chinese Premier Wen's "trip of confidence" to Europe from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2. The trip took Wen Jiabao to Brussels and to four European countries: Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Britain.

Mr. Abou reiterated EU's recognition of the territorial integrity of China. The only problem is about the Dalai Lama, and that is a very "limited issue", said Mr. Abou, who also expressed Europe's hope that the relationship between China and France will quickly turn back to normal.

What mostly impressed the Ambassador about Wen's "trip of confidence" is "the real attachment shown by Premier Wen on maintaining and fostering the partnership of China with Europe". Europe is "fully assured" by Wen's message and visit, Mr. Abou said.

He described the discussion between Premier Wen and the President of the European Commission Jose' Manuel Barroso as "candid, open, like the one we can have among real friends". The personal relationship between the two leaders, he said, is "not only strong, but very fruitful".

Chinese and European leaders will have much more time to meet and work together this year after they missed the 11th annual summit. "At least five opportunities", according to Mr. Abou: two summits in Prague and in Beijing in the first and second half of the year, the G20 Summit in London and the Second China-EU High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue in Brussels in spring, and the international conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

Besides, as an Ambassador, Mr. Abou is expecting 15 to 20 European commissioners to visit China this year.

He stressed that mutual trust is also very important to the bilateral relations. Althoungh recognizing that the interests of China and EU do not always "converge", as both are increasing their roles in international affairs, Mr. Abou highlighted that "any question will not be an issue of conflict, as long as there is mutual trust".

The EU would like China to maintain its dedication to stabilizing Asia, fighting against international terrorism and financial crisis and addressing the climate change. "However, I do not see those issues as a matter of conflict between China and us, but as ways to even improve our positive partnership," said Mr. Abou.

Mr. Abou regards 2008 as "one of the most productive year for EU-China relations, with the only exception of the postponement of the summit". China experienced woes and successes last year: sufferings in ice-snow disaster and earthquake, glories in Olympics and ASEM. "Europe has always been with China in those events," he said.

He noted that EU had never prevented but helped the growth of China and would continue to do so. "We are rather cooperative with China and China recognizes that", he said.

By People's Daily Online

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