Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

An evolving parntership for progress

By OU Yangshi ( Updated: 2014-03-21 10:24

President Xi Jinping is about to set for his first visit to Europe since taking office. This trip, the President's first official trip in 2014, will begin with the 3rd Nuclear Security Summit, followed by visits to the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, as well as EU and UNESCO headquarters.

Europe is a priority for China's diplomacy. While it is chic to talk about the shifting balance of power, Europe to many Chinese is still a synonym of developed world and high standard of living. To Europeans, China is a frequent headline maker, a happening place, the sheer speed and magnitude of China's progress is already changing the world and shaping the future of Europe.

Since the end of last year, China's diplomacy has entered a "European season",characterized by rising frequency and levels of bilateral and multilateral engagements. President Xi Jinping told visiting EU leaders that China and Europe are both major forces for world peace, both major markets for common development and both great civilizations for the progress of humanity. Such is the expectations on China-Europe relations at the top level.

Now that we are both in an age of change and adaptations. On top of the trend of countries rising fast and countries battling challenges, a fundamental question is: where is our world heading for? Is a Greater West the answer? Or is G2 the way to go? We in China tend to believe that in any effort to shape the world, both China and Europe are indispensible. Both sides stand for a multi-polar world of harmony and development and the world will be a safer, better place of greater balance if China and Europe can forge a parternship for progress.

It's true that China and Europe are not close neighbors, but in a world of inter-dependency, globalization and the Internet, our interests are plugged into each other like never before. For 10 straight years, Europe has been China's No.1 trading partner. It's the fastest growing destination of outbound Chinese investment too. While Europe was working its way out of the debt crisis, China was not among the doomsayers. We believe China and Europe are both better off working together in the near and long term, for grwoth and employment in Europe and upgrading the economic mix here at home.

Neither partnership nor progress can work if only left on the paper. President Xi has encouraged hard efforts instead of empty talks and it's the same case for China and Eruope. To begin with, we should agree to respecting each other's chosen path of development in the spirit of true equality. Building on that, we can delve deeper into various economic ccoperation, cultural interactions and international cosnulations, so that China-Europe relations can evolve towards greater maturity, mutual benefit, inclusiveness and sharing.

Europe is a place of many facets, and so are our relations. On President Xi's visiting schedule, there are European countries of difference sizes and the EU institution too. It shows China's support to European integration, and our commitment to a comprehensive China-Europe relationship of equilibrium. It can be showcased by our ties with major EU members such as Germany, France and the Unied Kingdom, our important relations with the EU institutions, and our cooperation with other EU countries too. In addition to European countries and insitutions, President will also visit the UNESCO headquarters, which has played an leading part in bridging the civilizations of the East and the West. A multi-facted approach is, after all, the best approach to an equally multi-facted relations between China and Europe.

Just as spring promises hope and expectations, the coming visit is also going to chart the blueprint for the next decade of relationship between China and Europe, providing fresh impetus to our respected efforts to make our own dreams, and our shared dreams true.

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