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Backgrounder: China-EU relations
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20:54, May 20, 2009

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao is to attend the China-EU Summit on Wednesday in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, which holds the current rotating EU presidency.

The following is a chronology of major developments in China-EU relations.

On May 6, 1975, China established diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community, a branch of the European Community (predecessor of the EU), and set up the Chinese mission to the organization in Brussels that September.  

On Nov. 1, 1983, China established official relations with the European coal and steel community and the European Atomic Energy Community, the other two major branches of the European Community. Thus, the two sides realized the comprehensive normalization of relations. Both sides since have been holding periodical political consultations and foreign minister meetings on the sidelines of U.N. General Assembly meetings.

In October 1988, the European Community committee opened a representative mission in Beijing.

In April 1998, the first China-EU Summit was held in London. The two sides released a joint statement envisioning a 21st Century-oriented, long-term, stable, constructive partnership. They also agreed to institutionalize an annual China-EU summit mechanism.

In June 1998, the EU passed a strategic document called "Building a comprehensive partnership with China," so as to promote relations with China.

In 2001, China and the EU decided to establish a comprehensive partnership.

In October 2003, the sixth China-EU summit was held in Beijing. After the summit, both sides decided to upgrade the partnership to a comprehensive strategic union.

In May 2005, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited EU headquarters and raised five proposals on cooperation to boost China-EU relations, including strengthening China-EU leader strategic dialogue and expanding bilateral economic and technological cooperation.

In July 2005, newly elected European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso paid an official visit to China.

In September 2006, at the end of the 9th China-EU Summit, the two sides agreed to launch negotiations to work out the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which would serve as a framework agreement encompassing the full scope of their bilateral relationship.

On October 24, 2006, the European Commission issued a new policy document regarding China, called "EU-China: Closer Partners, Growing Responsibilities."

In January 2007, substantial negotiations on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement officially began.

In November 2007, the 10th China-EU summit was held in Beijing, during which both sides agreed to launch the China-EU economic and trade dialogue mechanism at the vice premiership level. The first two such dialogues took place respectively in Beijing in April 2008 and Brussels in May 2009.

In January 2009, Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao paid an official visit to EU headquarters. The two sides agreed to stress China-EU relations from a global view and strategic height, and decided to hold the 11th China-EU Summit by the end of the year.

Source: Xinhua

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