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Forum focuses on stronger Sino-EU push for multilateralism

By CECILY LIU | China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-24 07:00
Former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (second from left) speaks in Madrid on Thursday at the China-Europe Forum on Reform and Globalization. [Photo by Kuang Linhua/China Daily]

China and the European Union should work more closely to champion peaceful development and multilateralism and combat protectionist pressures amid global geopolitical uncertainties, top opinion leaders said at a forum in Madrid, Spain, on Thursday.

They also expressed hope that the expected meeting between President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump at the G20 Leaders' Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, next week will lead to a consensus that will alleviate US-China trade tension.

The discussions took place at the China-Europe Forum on Reform and Globalization, organized by China Daily in cooperation with the China Institute for Reform and Development and the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics.

"We need a strong commitment toward the G20. We need stronger, more stable and deeper global economic cooperation," said Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, a former Spanish prime minister.

"The protectionist and anti-multilateralism movements are a serious mistake.… Let us share and respect. And if we want to see changes in political systems, let's use persuasion and not accusation," he said.

He Yafei, former deputy director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, said China has always advocated peaceful development.

"No matter how powerful China becomes, it will not threaten anyone or overthrow the existing global system," said He, adding that China's growth and opening-up provide significant opportunities for EU countries in trade, tourism and financial services.

Dennis Pamlin, senior adviser at the Research Institutes of Sweden, said China's progress since the beginning of reform and opening-up 40 years ago is inspiring.

"Things we couldn't dream about 40 years ago, such as talking with each other so easily across continents, or lifting so many people out of poverty, are now possible. So when we start looking at the next 40 years, we should allow ourselves to think big. It is not just China's dream, but the world's dream," Pamlin said.

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