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Green cooperation helps narrow differences: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-07-25 20:22

Flags of China and the European Union is seen in this photo. [Photo/VCG]

China and Europe have generally been on good terms with each other in recent decades.

Their close economic interdependence and friendly overall relations have formed a virtuous circle that has made bilateral ties particularly resilient. In spite of all the geopolitical factors disrupting their constructive engagement, such historical resilience, coupled with the existential threats brought by global crises, suggests that the two sides will continue to work together.

As the United States intensifies its mobilization of all available resources for what it defines as decisive strategic competition between "democracies and authoritarian regimes", the European Union as a key US ally has found itself under greater pressure to "de-risk" in relation to China. The EU summit last month indicated that under Washington's influence, the European perception of China has changed strategically, and, as a result, European policy toward China is undergoing substantial modification as the bloc recalibrates its relations with the US.

Being identified as a "systemic competitor", however, does not close the door to cooperation. Just four days after European heads of state released a joint statement that outlines a tougher stance on China, Beijing and Brussels held their fourth High-level Environment and Climate Dialogue, in which they vowed to strengthen their cooperation to accelerate the global green transition. This is not just a simple message that geopolitical disruptions will not keep the two parties from cooperating. It also signals that no matter how they position their diplomatic relations, the two parties recognize, that as major emitters, they are obliged to work together to mitigate the common existential threats of climate change and biodiversity loss that confront humankind.

If geopolitical calculations are driving wedges between China and Europe, climate change has emerged as a promising bridge of bilateral cooperation. The two sides are serious about their climate commitments, making practical efforts and showing practical accomplishments. The European Green Deal and its legislation as well as the Chinese 1+N policy framework both showcase aggressive domestic endeavors to honor their respective commitments. Their promise to join hands to tackle the triple crises of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss will certainly be conducive to efforts to address these threats.

Their discussion about future avenues of cooperation, which put considerable emphasis on the practice of the circular economy, a recent policy initiative on the Chinese government's agenda, sounded especially relevant because climate-friendly, sustainable development will be of critical significance not only to the long-term benefit of China and Europe, but also the rest of the world, not excluding the United States.

The two sides cooperating on implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework will be a fitting starting point for their shared endeavor to take meaningful action to reverse the triple trends that otherwise spell calamity for all.

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