Visit marks new stage for China-EU relations
Updated: 2011-07-01 08:01
By Jiang Shixue (China Daily)
Premier Wen's latest tour enhances ties and broadens cooperation; sincere and steady approach can deepen EU's understanding of Chinese policies
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's successful European tour signals that China-EU relations have entered a new stage of development.
The trip sustained the momentum of high-level visits between China and the European Union, which in contemporary international relations are one of the most effective means to enhance bilateral relations.
Wen explicitly expressed China's desire to strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations with countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Shortly after its founding, the People's Republic of China was recognized by most countries in Central and Eastern Europe and diplomatic relations were established. Experience has shown that China and the Central and Eastern European countries can not only be good friends who stand by each other through thick and thin, but also good partners that draw on each other's strengths and pursue win-win cooperation.
While in Hungary, Wen attended the China-Central and Eastern European Countries Economic and Trade Forum and made a five-point proposal for developing new ways of cooperation, and pushing the business relationship to a higher level by expanding its size and broadening its scope, which includes increasing bilateral trade, promoting two-way investment, enhancing infrastructure construction cooperation, deepening fiscal and financial cooperation and expanding exchanges in education, culture, health, sports, tourism and other fields.
Taking the opportunity of meeting with the leaders of Hungary, the United Kingdom and Germany and prominent people from all sectors, Wen elaborated the position of the Chinese government on major international and regional issues, such as the European debt crisis, Libyan crisis, the Doha Round world trade negotiations, climate change, international monetary system reform, United Nations reform and the status of emerging market economies, and European leaders are keen to learn China's attitude to these issues.
What was particularly impressive was that Wen did not fence with "sensitive" issues, such as democracy and human rights. During a joint press conference in the UK with Prime Minister David Cameron, Wen told reporters that China is not only enjoying economic prosperity but is building a country based on the rule of law.
Wen's article, How China Plans to Reinforce the Global Recovery, published in the Financial Times on June 23, not only described the effects of China's response to the financial crisis, but also analyzed several problems in China's economy that concern the international community, including how to accelerate social development, expand domestic demands and deal with soaring inflation.
While holding talks with German
Chancellor Angela Merkel, Premier Wen briefed his German counterpart on the measures China has taken to counter inflation, maintain sustained and fast economic growth and promote social harmony and stability.
Relations between China and the EU still face some unfavorable factors. For example, the EU has not yet recognized China's market economy status, resulting in frequent anti-dumping measures against Chinese products in European markets; the arms embargo on China has not been lifted; some European media still turn a blind eye to China's achievements in promoting human rights and democracy, and are inclined to blow up the mistakes and problems of the Chinese government at all levels, even at times fabricating or distorting facts. In addition, the China-EU relationship is still affected by the "American factor".
It is not surprising to see these negative factors existing in the China-EU relationship, as the two sides are quite different in political systems, cultural traditions and levels of economic development. Moreover, these negative factors will not be overcome at one stroke.
However, Wen's steady and sincere approach can deepen the EU's understanding of the policies pursued by the Chinese government.
Addressing the Royal Society in the UK, Wen quoted the great British thinker Francis Bacon: "A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
In order to lift China-EU cooperation to a new level, both sides should continue to make concerted efforts to enhance mutual understanding and political consensus to create more opportunities.
The author is deputy director of the Institute of European Studies, affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Chinese fireworks overcome cloudy times, pin hopes on burgeoning domestic demand
The Party has been leading the country and people to prosperity.
Foreign readers are invited to share your China stories.
Cleanup of Xi'an wasteland pays off for ancient city