BRUSSELS — The cooperation between the European Union (EU) and China has never been so important in a moment when multilateral global governance is open to doubt, EU’s High Representative for Foreign affairs and Security Policy and European Commission Vice Presdent Federica Mogherini told Xinhua in an exclusive written interview ahead of her visit to China.
China will be Mogherini’s first stop of her seven-day diplomatic trip kicking off from April 18, followed by India and Russia.
In China, Mogherini will co-chair the 7th EU-China Strategic Dialogue with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi on April 19, in order to lay the groundwork for the 19th EU-China Summit in Brussels scheduled for June.
“The European Union and China share the view of a global order based on multilateralism and on the UN system: our cooperation has never been so important, in a moment when multilateral global governance is put in question from many sides,” Mogherini said.
She underscored that a greater engagement from China in world affairs can “open so many opportunities, on so many issues of common interest,” noting that a Chinese special envoy attended the international conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region earlier this month, and praising China’s crucial role in the Afghanistan peace process.
“I know there are people in the world who have concerns about a more confident and outward-looking China. I don’t share this view,” she said, adding, “China can play a very positive role on so many fields, from Afghanistan to Syria, and we Europeans are ready to step up our cooperation in all these fields.”
Even in the area of defense, Mogherini also saw deepened cooperation between the EU and China. “One example that comes to mind is that our respective military commanders in Mali and Somalia have identified possibilities for cooperation on capacity-building support.”
She also expressed hope that the EU and China can achieve progress regarding the Korean Peninsula issue.
With the 19th EU-China Summit on the horizon, the EU foreign policy chief said it will be another opportunity to deepen not only bilateral cooperation, but also common work for a more cooperative global order.
“We hope that the Summit will register progress on the investment agreement, adopt an ambitious statement on climate change and clean energy and agree joint connectivity projects,” she said.
“If we act together, we can be an irresistible force for a free and fair trade, for multilateralism and sustainable development,” she added.
She also resonated with the concept of “a community of common destiny for mankind” put forth by Chinese leaders, saying she very much shared what she thought the core of the vision: the quest for mutually beneficial solutions among equal partners.
“This means promoting multilateralism and the importance of the United Nations, committing to a free and fair trade, and promoting a more sustainable development, with more equality inside our countries and among countries,” she said.
“We also have an interest, or I would rather say a duty and a responsibility, to work together to tackle climate change and implement the Paris agreement. “ she added.
Admitting that there are differences between the two sides, Mogherini underscored it is in both sides’ interests to overcome differences and “isolation is not the answer to any of the problems of our times.”
“China is a country with the size of a continent: it only makes sense that you look for interlocutors of your size,” Mogherini said.
“It is essential that Europe and China continue to make the case for a fair and open international system,” she said. “ We must demonstrate with real action that we stand on the side of cooperation, of engagement, of strong and just global rules.”