Opinion / Xin Zhiming

Visit promotes bilateral understanding

By Xin Zhiming ( Updated: 2014-04-03 10:46

China does not shun those differences. Instead, President Xi has candidly shared his views with European audiences: A rising power does not necessarily seek hegemony and should not be feared for its different development track. As Xi said in his article published in the French newspaper Le Figaro, the two sides “should respect each other's choice on development path, properly manage their trade disputes through equal-footed dialogue and friendly consultations, and achieve a steady and healthy development of China-EU relations”.

Xi’s folksy style also makes it easier for the European audiences to understand China’s stance. For example, when talking about different choices of development tracks, Xi said in Belgium: “The Chinese people are fond of tea and the Belgians love beer. To me, the moderate tea drinker and the passionate beer lover represent two ways of understanding life and knowing the world, and I find them equally rewarding.”

Despite much headway made during Xi’s visit, it would not be surprising if China and the EU remain divided on certain issues. One visit is inadequate to solve all the problems. Yet the visit is a welcome start that suggests each is willing to listen to the other, which is a prerequisite for taking meaningful steps towards change by both sides.

Such a willingness to listen would prove to be vital for them to build a more cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship as they tackle similar challenges in their respective development agendas, such as economic uncertainties, security concerns and geopolitical turbulences.


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