BEIJING — The ninth round of the China-EU High-level Strategic Dialogue on March 18 in Brussels underlined the need to strengthen the bilateral partnership.
The dialogue was co-chaired by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
Wang said that China and the European Union are comprehensive strategic partners. Facing the turbulent international situation, the two sides have developed fruitful communication and cooperation, playing the role of “stabilizer”.
China and Europe, as two major powers in the world, should take this responsibility. The level and scale of bilateral cooperation are at a historic high, and there is still great potential, said Wang.
The two sides should continue cooperation, adopt problem-solving orientation, explore new methods, new areas and new impetus in the partnerships regarding peace, growth, reform and civilization, and further the enhancement of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the EU.
Wang underlined three points. Firstly, cooperative partnership is the nature of China-EU relations. The common ground is to appreciate the development of bilateral relations, although the two have differences on some issues.
Wang believed there is no essential conflict of interest between China and the EU. The two can seek common ground while reserving differences, but also consolidate the common ground while resolving differences, maximizing the common interest and perception.
Secondly, the goal of China-EU cooperation is to achieve mutual benefit and win-win outcome, said Wang, hoping that Europe will stand to benefit from the new round of Chinese reform and opening-up. He welcomed Europe to participate in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, and expected to see the Europe-Asia connectivity plan to complement the Belt and Road Initiative.
Thirdly, Wang said the respect of each other’s core interest is the trademark of the trust between China and the EU, and he hoped the EU could be discreet in words and deeds. China is willing to work with the EU to maintain a sound development of bilateral relations, benefit the people of the two sides, and contribute more to the world’s peace and development.
Mogherini said the EU-China relations have reached a new high in the past five years in terms of their depth and extent. The two share common stance and goal against unilateralism and protectionism, and both support the international order established around the United Nations.
For the first time, the Chinese foreign minister met the foreign ministers of the 28 EU members on March 18, and they discussed about strengthening the EU-China cooperation. The EU regards China as its important strategic partner, not only economically but also politically, Mogherini noted.
The EU’s new document on policy toward China published last week will not replace the current EU strategic cooperation with China, she said. The EU has no intention to impede the development of China, and it is impossible to do it. The EU wants to see a bigger leading role played by China on global issues.
The EU has differences with China in a number of issues, but has always looked upon the bilateral strategic partnership from the perspective of common prosperity. The EU will continue sticking to the one-China policy without any change, she added.
Mogherini noted that the EU, along with China, will push for the implementation of multilateral agreements, and work closely on issues like the Paris agreement, Iran nuclear agreement, sustainable development goals, African development and so on.
The EU is willing to enhance the connectivity and communication with Asia, explore the complementarities with the Belt and Road Initiative, and vigorously carry out third-party cooperation. The EU hopes to strengthen the security and defense cooperation with China, which is not targeting any third parties. The two sides can cooperate in cyber-security, safeguard the openness, safety and stability of the internet, and establish an order of the digital world based on rules, noted Mogherini.
The two sides also exchanged opinions on the current international situation, the respective relations with major powers, and global and regional hot issues.