CHINA / National

Sino-EU ties at prime time: top legislator
Updated: 2006-05-19 13:17

China's relations with the European Union are enjoying their best ever period since diplomatic ties were forged in 1975, China's top legislator Wu Bangguo said here on Thursday.

Wu Bangguo (R), chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress which is the country's top legislature, shakes hands with Romanian President Traian Basescu in Bucharest, capital of Romania, May 18, 2006. [Xinhua]

Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, made the remarks in a speech at the Romanian parliament.

He said China and the European Union have a wide range of common interests in terms of peace and development of the world. Thanks to their joint efforts, bilateral relations have withstood the test of time and have been moving forward smoothly, particularly since the mid-1990s.

Wu said the achievement was credited to a series of factors, including the deepening of mutual trust, enlargement of cooperation and communication in trade and other fields.

He said mutual trust has served as the political foundation of the Sino-EU relationship. The two sides have maintained close high-level contacts.

In 2005 alone, nine Chinese leaders visited EU countries as well as its headquarters in Belgium, while 18 leaders from EU member states or institutions traveled to China.

Both sides champion multi-polarization and democratization in international relations, the respect of the United Nations' authority and its leading role, and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means, he noted.

Wu said economic and trade cooperation forms the economic foundation of the Sino-EU relationship.

With deepening of political ties, bilateral economic and trade cooperation has grown rapidly, Wu said, noting that the EU has been China's top trade partner for two consecutive years and China is the EU's second largest trade partner.

Moreover, cooperation in investment and technology is being enhanced and the mechanism of trade and economic consultation is improving, he said.

Wu said exchanges in sectors like science, education, culture and tourism have formed the social basis of bilateral relationship.

China has become the first non-EU country to participate in the Galileo satellite navigation project, while the EU is involved in a number of China's high-tech projects.

Wu said China supports the EU's integration process, and has put the Sino-EU relationship in a critical position in China foreign policy.

The relationship has made it evident that countries with different social systems are absolutely able to develop cooperation and ties further, as long as they comply with the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, consistently pursue common interests and properly solve their differences.

Romania is the first leg of Wu's four-nation tour, which will also take him to Moldova, Greece and Russia.