International ties

Decade of working closely with EU

By Fu Jing (
Updated: 2011-01-05 13:26
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Beijing is signaling fresh determination in enriching its relations with European strategic partners at the threshold of a new decade by intensifying bilateral high-ranking visits.

Shortly after Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao's respective travels to Europe last October and November, Vice Premier Li Keqiang embarked on his nine-day tour of Spain, Germany and Britain today (Tuesday), though his hosts are probably struggling to get rid of the deep Christmas holiday mood to prepare to roll out red carpets for him.

Li's nine-day tour is the first of Beijing's January diplomatic alignment, with Hu's visit to the United States and Vice Premier Hui Liangyu's travel to African countries in the pipeline.

Needless to say, the world's spotlight this month will be on the Beijing-Washington summit, as precarious security situation in East Asia, on top of other topics such as trade and currencies, need careful but urgent consultations between the world's richest country and biggest developing country.

Against the backdrop of the new geopolitical development and its lasting stance of a multi-polar global order, Beijing has also pinned high expectations on Brussels and its state members to become major actors in the global economic and political scenes.

Similar to the arrangements of Wen and Hu's European tours last year, Li's three-country visit covers both a country heavily hit by debt crisis (Spain) and European Union's economic engines (Germany and Britain). The arrangement has shown that Beijing has intensified interactions with European powers such as Germany and Britain, as Premier Wen had just done a surprise visit to Germany in October and British Prime Minister David Cameron led a massive business delegation to China in November. Hu visited France in November.

The European powers rely on China's business orders and capital not only to revive their own economies and trade but also to help them to gain more coordination capabilities among member states within EU.

So businesses leaders between China and Spain, Germany and Britain, which all have built up strategic partnership with Beijing, will reap multi-billion-dollar trade or investment contracts in the company of bilateral leaders, including Li.

Along with the others, Li is likely to promise that Beijing will buy more European bonds to help the countries exit crisis while requesting them to lift trade protectionism and stop pressuring for the appreciation of Chinese currency. In return, European bureaucrats may ask for more access to Chinese markets for their products and investors while once again repeating their promises to respect Beijing's "core concerns.”

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