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Summit to chart blueprint for Sino-EU ties

By Mo Jingxi | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-05 07:33

[Photo/China Daily]

'Our common interests far outweigh our differences,' says ministry spokesman

Leaders of China and the European Union are expected to have in-depth communication on issues of fundamental and strategic importance in shaping China-EU relations and global issues of common concern, as the two sides will hold the first in-person China-EU summit since 2019 in Beijing on Thursday.

President Xi Jinping will meet with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Premier Li Qiang and the European leaders will jointly chair the summit.

"The leaders will chart the blueprint for the development of China-EU relations, identify key areas and give impetus to this relationship," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing in Beijing.

Established in 1998 as an annual meeting mechanism, the China-EU summit has been successfully held 23 times, covering areas including politics, the economy, culture and society. The previous summit took place in April last year via video conference.

"China and the EU are partners, not rivals. Our common interests far outweigh our differences," Wang said.

The spokesman said that China expects the two sides to enhance understanding and mutual trust through strategic communication, strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation through innovation and explore ways to solve problems through dialogue and consultation.

"We will cooperate to meet global challenges and inject new impetus into the world and increase stability in the international situation. This is in line with the two sides' fundamental and long-term interests, and also meets the expectations of the international community," he added.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and has witnessed frequent high-level exchanges between China and the EU that resulted in dialogue and cooperation across the board at various levels. The latest interaction was the 12th round of the China-EU High-level Strategic Dialogue held in October in the Chinese capital.

Chen Xulong, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics' School of International Relations, said that China always considers Europe as an indispensable part of a multipolar world and a crucial party for world stability.

"As the world's two major forces, mega markets and great civilizations, China and Europe play an important role in the world's peace, stability and development," he said, noting that China has made a lot of diplomatic efforts this year that led to the improvement of China-EU relations.

Chen said that China and the EU share broad common interests in a wide range of fields, including global governance, climate change and the green transformation of the global economy, and the two sides should actively expand their convergence of interests.

"The upcoming summit, as a continuation of the annual mechanism, will certainly provide a new driving force and a new vision for China-EU ties," he added.

China was the EU's second-largest trading partner in 2022, with EU investment in the country growing by more than $10 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of 96.6 percent, according to the Foreign Ministry.

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