Foreign minister's trip to Europe will deepen mutual understanding

Updated: 2013-10-25 23:11

By ZHOU WA (China Daily)

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Foreign Minister Wang Yi will kick off his first official visit to Europe on Sunday to show China's support for the continent as it continues to reel from the eurozone crisis, said Liu Haixing, director-general of the ministry's Department of European Affairs on Friday.

Wang's visit to San Marino, Italy and France will also help set the tone for relations between China and Europe, analysts said. The trip will end on Oct 31.

In San Marino, Wang will meet its captain regents-heads of the state-and its Foreign Minister Pasquale Valentini.

He will also meet Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and Foreign Minister Emma Bonino and attend the fifth joint meeting of the China-Italy Government Committee.

In France, Wang will meet French President Francois Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Wang's trip will send a signal to the world that China attaches great importance to Europe and China-Europe relations. China will further expand its cooperation with Europe, not only with members of the European Union but also non-EU members and EU institutions, Liu said.

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have frequently voiced China's support for the eurozone.

Wang's visit comes just weeks before a China-EU summit in November to negotiate a major investment deal, according to European media report.

"Wang's visit will pave the way for the summit through exchanges with European leaders," said Zhao Junjie, a researcher on European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. On Friday, Liu spoke of the achievements both China and the EU have made together over the past decade. He said he is optimistic about the future of China-EU relations.

In recent years, China has created efficient communication channels with European countries. It also established the China-EU High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue, resulting in dramatically increased trade between the two sides. China is now the EU's second-largest trading partner behind the United States. The EU is China's biggest trading partner.

Trade between the EU and China reached $564 billion in 2012. China and Europe now trade well over $1.38 billion a day.

China is the EU's biggest source of imports and has also become one of the EU's fastest growing export markets. The EU is currently China's biggest source of imports. Chinese companies have also recently been increasing their investments in Europe.

Liu said China's strategy of industrialization, urbanization and agriculture modernization fits well with the EU's Europe 2020 strategy for sustainable and inclusive growth.

"This trip will offer a communication opportunity for new leaderships from China, Italy and France and will deepen mutual understanding," said Zhao.