China-EU relations

Updated: 2013-11-14 10:32


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China is the biggest developing country and the emerging power in the world and the European Union is the biggest economic political community consisted of developed countries. Development of China-EU relations is not only in the fundamental interests of both sides, but it has increasing strategic and global significance.

From the historic view, the development of China-EU relations in the past 30 years can be divided into three phases.

The first phase (1975 – 1989)

--In May 1975, China established diplomatic relations with the EU's predecessor, the European Community.

--In April 1978, China signed trade agreements with the European Community, which granted each most favored nation treatment, and also established the EU-China economic and trade mixed committee.

--In 1985, the two sides signed the trade and economic cooperation agreement, which focused on industry, agriculture, science and technology, energy, transportation and the environment.

--In 1988, the two sides sent exchange missions, marking the further development of bilateral relations.

--In 1989, the European Community froze relations with China, including an arms embargo.

China-EU relations at this stage remained good in general.

For China, in its fight against international hegemony, especially by the Soviet Union, and Western Europe, which is in a similar position, should be united. For the European Comminuty, China was the first communist country that gave it political recognition and also an important force to contain the Soviets' military threat.

During this period, although the economic exchanges between China and the EU rapidly developed, bilateral economic relations weren't broadened and deepened due to political relations. China's importance as a potential market wasn't discovered yet.

China-EU relations at this phase focused on the common external threat and did not form a solid political and economic base, and the deep-seated conflicts such as differences in ideology and values were played down and covered up. So it is not difficult to understand why the European Community followed the US in conducting sanctions against China in 1989.

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