Brussels: The comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the European Union has yielded significant fruits, said Chinese envoy to the EU on Friday, urging both sides to identify opportunities, seize them and make the best of them for a better future of China-EU relations.
At a policy dialogue in Brussels titled “the EU-China Strategic Partnership 15 years on-What Direction for the Next 15 Years”, Zhang Ming, head of the Chinese mission to the EU, said figures from bilateral interactions were convincing, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
Bilateral trade was $125.2 billion 15 years ago, while just in the first eight months of this year, trade already reached $445 billion, he said, adding that “at the end of this year, we could expect an amount more than four times that of 15 years ago.”
In the past 15 years, mutual visits increased from 3 million to over 7 million. 600 flights travel between China and the EU every week, Zhang said.
China and the EU have a comprehensive strategic partnership.
“Comprehensive means that our cooperation is not just about trade, but about a broad range of areas, like foreign policy, security, culture, science and technology, global governance, to name just a few,” Zhang said.
“Strategic” means that we embrace a big-picture and long-term thinking for cooperation, going beyond our differences in history, cultures, values and political system. In a time of uncertainties, strategic partners are poised to communicate on major issues with a sense of trust, and enhance coordination to add a sense of certainty, he added.
“China supports a united, stable, open and prosperous EU. This is our consistent and firm stance, never swayed by those pessimistic views on European integration.” Zhang said.
China has set out to expand reform and opening-up and improve business environment, he said, as “reform and opening-up is widely supported by the 1.4 billion Chinese people, and that it is a certain way to go if China wants further development in the future.”
“I understand that some European friends are eager to see even more out of reform and opening-up in China. Many of their opinions and recommendations are largely in line with our future direction. Their concerns will be gradually and properly addressed on the way ahead, like in the past 40 years,” he said.
“We have difficult challenges to tackle in the course of economic transformation. Development remains daunting, and there is still a long way to go,” Zhang said, adding that “We hope that European friends could see China’s reform, opening-up and development in a more objective light, and with more confidence and patience.”