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China-EU talks to boost ties on foreign affairs

By Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)

15:21, July 09, 2012

The European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton will attend the third round of the high level China-EU Strategic Dialogue on Monday to boost cooperation and coordination on foreign affairs.

During the two-day meeting in Beijing Ashton is expected to meet Premier Wen Jiabao, State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Defense Minister Liang Guanglie. The dialogue will also help lay the ground work for the next China-EU summit in Brussels later this year, AFP said.

The ongoing debt crisis in Europe and economic development will be on the top of agenda, analysts said.

China attaches great importance to the dialogue and expects to further cement mutual understanding and trust between the two sides, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Friday.

China and the EU have exchanged in-depth views on the current global situation and bilateral relations during the previous two rounds of strategic dialogue, which helped build mutual understanding and trust, said Yu Sui, an expert on European studies with the China Center of Contemporary World Studies. "The new round of dialogue is expected to be conducted in a more solid way," Yu said.

At the last China-EU summit, which was postponed from October 2011 to February of this year because of the European sovereign debt crisis, China renewed its support for the euro.

Both sides may discuss how to further implement agreements that have been reached, said Wu Baiyi, an expert on European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The revival and solidarity of the EU cannot be greatly advanced overnight, and China is trying to continue aid through world economic organizations like the IMF, he said.

China and the EU are deeply interdependent on each other, Ambassador Markus Ederer, head of the EU Delegation to China, said on Thursday. China is helping European countries deal with the ongoing crisis, while the EU can help China manage its urbanization, he said.

The EU is the largest market for Chinese exporters, who have been affected by the debt crisis. Bilateral trade volume reached $567 billion in 2011.

Ederer said the China-EU relationship has witnessed a strong momentum in recent months, and both sides are seeking cooperation in fields such as water conservation, food security and nuclear security.

Global issues, such as the unrest in Syria, Sudan and South Sudan, will also be covered during the upcoming dialogue, Ederer said.

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