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China Daily Global / 2021-04 / 09 / Page001

China-EU ties seen as crucial to global stability

By MO JINGXI | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-04-09 00:00

Two sides offer development opportunities to each other, so cooperation is key, experts say

China has urged the European Union to make correct judgments independently and truly achieve strategic autonomy as the relationship between China and the 27-nation bloc is facing new opportunities as well as challenges.

Experts said that China-EU cooperation is necessary and crucial for both sides and the international community, at a time when the world is suffering uncertainty posed by the rising trend of unilateralism and hegemony.

Speaking by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that China hopes that Germany and the EU will make joint efforts with China to protect and promote the healthy and stable development of their cooperation, in order to bring more certainty and stability to a volatile world.

China's development is an opportunity for the EU, Xi said, noting that the key is to keep to the general direction of China-EU relations from a strategic perspective, respect each other and remove distractions.

"China and the EU offer development opportunities to each other," said Ruan Zongze, executive vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies.

As China is fostering the dual-circulation development paradigm-in which the domestic market is the mainstay, and the domestic and foreign markets reinforce each other-this means that there will be a bigger Chinese market with more potential, which is a good opportunity that the EU should not neglect, Ruan said.

Moreover, the bonus brought by the bilateral investment agreement between China and the EU will be further unleashed once it takes effect, he said.

It was the first time this year that Xi had a phone conversation with Merkel. Last year, the two leaders had four phone conversations to exchange views on bilateral ties and China-EU cooperation.

Noting that their communication last year played an important role in the development of China-Germany and China-EU relations, Xi said that enhancing China-Germany and China-EU cooperation would achieve major results.

Xi said that China stands ready to work with the EU to ensure the success of a series of significant political agendas for the next stage through consultation, deepen and expand practical cooperation across the board, and strengthen communication on climate change and other global governance issues to jointly practice multilateralism.

Wang Yiwei, a professor at the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China, said China and the EU are important partners in promoting the global governance process, safeguarding the international system with the United Nations at its core and upholding multilateralism.

While the United States has brought uncertainty to the world by wantonly pulling out of international treaties and organizations, China and the EU share similar views on multilateralism, global governance and climate change, Wang said.

In the phone conversation, Xi called on China and Germany to promote bilateral cooperation under the principle of mutual respect and win-win results to inject confidence and impetus for China-EU cooperation and world economic recovery.

Xi said that while the country seeks development depending on its own strength, it also adheres to opening to the outside world and actively participates in international division of labor and cooperation.

China is willing to share opportunities created by the new round of opening-up with companies from Germany and elsewhere, he said.

Merkel said the EU has adhered to an autonomous foreign policy. She said Germany-China and EU-China cooperation are increasingly necessary today to deal with challenges faced by the world.

Enhancing dialogue and cooperation between the EU and China not only conforms to the interests of both nations, but will also benefit the world, she said, adding that Germany is willing to play an active role.

Ruan, with the China Institute of International Studies, said that even though the US is looking to strengthen its alliance with the EU to counter China, it will not be easy to do, since the EU hopes to play a bigger and more independent role in the world by giving play to its own strategic autonomy.

"Also, it's not possible that the US will treat the EU on an equal footing," Ruan said.

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