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China, E.U. need to rely on each other for support

(People's Daily Online)

09:39, April 27, 2013

Edited and Translated by Huang Beibei, People's Daily Online

While French President Francois Hollande was visiting China, EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy High Representative and Vice President of European Commission Catherine Ashton also arrived in Beijing on April 25.

As we all know, China and the E.U., China and France have established the China- E.U., Sino-French comprehensive strategic partnership in 2003 and 2004 respectively. The establishment of the strategic partnerships has a positive influence on international affairs as well as China- E.U. comprehensive cooperation.

Today, China and the E.U. are two important forces on the international arena of the 21st century, and France is the core member state of the European Union. China and France have an urgent need to establish sound and close personal relationships between their new leaders, to enhance mutual trust and understanding, and learn from each other. They need to strengthen communication and exchanges in dealing with the current complex and volatile international situation, in handling the economic and debt crisis in Europe, and in solving international and regional issues; they need to actively explore new ways and new channels for China-E.U. cooperation in order to create a new era of China- E.U. strategic partnership.  

In recent years, with China's rapid economic development and rising international status, as well as European debt crisis and economic crisis continue to simmer, European countries, including France, are increasingly rely on China for support based on geo-political and economic interests. But at the same time, doubts increases over the rise of China, and ambivalence and two-sidedness of policies toward China are revealed.

In the face of the new situation and new problems, the E.U., Chinese and French leaders have an urgent need to strengthen exchanges and communication, enhance mutual trust, consolidate and strengthen the political, economic, cultural foundation of the China- E.U. strategic relations, and tap new areas of cooperation, creating a new type of China- E.U. relations and the new Sino-French relations:
First, respect for each other's material and strategic interests. The E.U., China and France have different systems and are in different level of development. They need to go beyond such differences in ideology and social system, respect each other's strategic interests and core interests; they should be calm, objective and rational in processing a variety of sensitive issues. Through dialogue and cooperation, they can seek mutual benefit and avoid local competition and friction that will harm the overall China-France and China-E.U. interests.
The second is to achieve a balance of interests to consolidate the material foundation for China- E.U. cooperation. China and the E.U. are in the critical period of deepening reform and accelerating to promote economic restructuring. China launched the strategy to expand domestic demand, increase imports and encourage its enterprises to "go out"; the E.U. introduced “Europe 2020” aiming at getting Europe out of the debt crisis and enhancing competitiveness; Hollande proposed "diplomacy serves the economy" and "economic diplomacy" strategy. All these provided broad prospects for further consolidating the China-E.U., Sino-French economic and trade cooperation, expand the scale of bilateral trade, promote two-way investment, deepen cooperation in traditional areas, expand urbanization, sustainable development, and environmental protection and other new areas of cooperation.
Third, China and the E.U., China and France should strengthen communication and cooperation in the field of multilateral and global governance. They need to discuss the multi-polarization process and diversification in the international system and order, promote international political and economic reforms and global governance of the financial system, hold talks on international and regional issues of respective concern, and promote China-E.U., Sino-French strategic relationship to be more global, continuous and stable.

This year is the 10th anniversary of China- E.U. comprehensive strategic partnership, and the 15th anniversary of the China-E.U. leaders summit mechanism. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France and the 10th anniversary of the Sino-French comprehensive strategic partnership.

China and the E.U., China and France are facing a new period. High-level visits by leaders and a variety of and multi-level exchanges between official sectors and civil groups will effectively promote China-E.U., Sino-French strategic partnership and the construction and development of a new type of relationship.

Author: Wang Yi, director of the Global Governance Research Center, China Institute of International Studies, and the former Political Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in France.

Read the Chinese version: 中欧互相借重很重要(望海楼), source: People's Daily Overseas Edition, author: Wang Yi

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