Chinese President XI Jinping's visit to European countries is helping Europe to a better understanding of China, and boosting Sino-EU strategic cooperation. The visit reflects the trend of Sino-EU ties.
China is seeking to balance Sino-EU ties via multi-level diplomacy.
First, China wishes to develop a bilateral relationship with EU members and maintain good relations with the EU Commission.
Since the euro-zone crisis, China has been focusing on bilateral ties with EU members. The EU has concerns that the special relationship between China and the member countries of the EU might lead to competition and division within the EU. But China believes that any friction between China and individual European countries can be solved through joint efforts from China and the EU, or can be resolved with the aid of governmental cooperation between China and Europe.
The visit of Xi to Brussels marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the EU. Xi's meetings with EU leaders outside the framework of a China-EU summit is an unconventional move intended to progress a China-EU investment agreement and a bilateral free trade agreement.
China-EU free trade agreement attracts widespread attention.
Second, a China-EU free trade agreement has an important influence on the development of China-EU ties. Xi is urging the EU to promote interest in a China-EU free trade zone during his visit to Europe. Although there is support in Europe for the move, the EU Commission is not yet convinced that the time is right to sign a free trade agreement between China and EU. The US has also asked China to make concessions on a China-US investment agreement before China is included in the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
China and the EU working together to build a multi-polar world.
Third, China and the EU should support each other in addressing the challenges of globalization
With the integration of the EU, there is growing competition between the EU and the US. The EU objects to the unilateralism of the US and hopes to enhance its own international influence. The fact that the US has eavesdropped on the heads of state or governments of both friends and foes indicates that the US does not consider the EU as an equal partner. Some European statesmen propose that the EU should take advantage of its geographic location to bring together Russia and Turkey in pursuit of its own development.
To strive for a multi-polar world, China and the EU should welcome each other as partners. A prosperous and stable China is good for the EU, and a united and self-improving Europe is also good for China.
The article is edited and translated from《习近平访欧折射中欧关系走势》, source: Jiefang Daily, author: Liu Lirong.