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By keeping a clear eye on the mutual benefits China and EU can inject impetus into relations: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-12-07 21:09
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This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the European Union and the 25th anniversary of the China-EU leaders' meeting mechanism.

Although the two sides have different values and systems, that has never prevented them from working together to enlarge their common interests in various fields through dialogue and cooperation.

The 24th China-EU Summit held in Beijing on Thursday, the first in-person EU-China summit since 2019, provided the opportunity for further expansion of their stakeholdings, for not only do the two sides share broad interests in economic, trade and green collaboration, but they have a common responsibility to help resolve the many crises that threaten global development, peace and stability.

In his meeting with European Council President Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President Xi Jinping noted that both sides should establish a correct understanding of each other, enhance mutual trust, value justice, and work together to develop their relations wholeheartedly. The EU leaders will be well aware these remarks were in part an implicit urging that they not let Washington's China-targeted "value diplomacy" drive a wedge between Brussels and Beijing.

As Xi said, China and the EU should not regard each other as opponents because of their different systems, they should not reduce cooperation because of their competition, and they should not engage in confrontation because of their differences. He called on the EU to refrain from defining China-EU relations by their differences, but instead define it by their complementarities. If the EU really looks forward to developing "a long-term, stable, predictable and sustainable relationship" with China and not "decouple" as the two visiting leaders said, their words should be matched with deeds. These should include working with China to safeguard the stability of the global industry and supply chains and breathing life back into their hard-earned bilateral investment pact, which has still to be ratified by the EU Parliament.

China regards the EU as a key partner in economic and trade cooperation, a priority partner in scientific and technological cooperation, and a trusted partner in industrial and supply chain cooperation. It welcomes EU companies, investments, talents, and it is willing to open the Chinese market wider to the EU. Likewise, the EU should provide a nondiscriminatory business and policy environment for Chinese partners.

It is wrong to define China as a systemic challenge, or even threat as some extreme voices influenced by Washington allege. To do so is a grave strategic misjudgment that only hurts the interests of both sides.

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