Chinese vice president meets EC president

09:10, May 19, 2011      

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Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 18, 2011. Xi met with Van Rompuy in Beijing on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

China and the European Union (EU) should use a "strategic opportunity" to advance bilateral ties to a new level, said Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.

"China and the EU face the strategic opportunity for the development of bilateral ties in the coming years," said Xi while meeting with President of the European Council (EC) Herman Van Rompuy, urging the two sides to advance cooperation in the spirit of equality, mutual trust and mutual benefit.

Xi said China always regards the EU as a major force in the international arena, supports the EU's integration process and gives importance to developing comprehensive strategic partnership of China and the EU.

China has rolled out its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) while Europe has launched a 10-year strategy, the so-called EU 2020 strategy. The two plans are seen as an opportunity for both sides to solidify more cooperation.

China is now the EU's second-largest trading partner while the 27-member bloc is China's largest trading partner. Bilateral trade reached 480 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, and hit 123.7 billion dollars in the first three months of this year, up 22 percent from last year.

Xi highlighted challenges China is still facing despite its rapid economic growth, saying the country's five-year plan will focus on transforming the economic development mode and accelerating the readjustment of its economic structure.

Van Rompuy said the EU and China share many common interests and responsibilities and should further improve cooperation to form a long-term and strategic perspective, while also stressing their cooperation in handling the global financial crisis.

During his first official visit to China, the EC president also held talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

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Source: Xinhua
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