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Wang Yi Delivers a Speech at the "Sixty-Minute Briefing" Event
2019-12-17

On the evening of December 16, 2019 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered a speech titled "Enhancing Mutual Trust and Cooperation To Embrace an Even Better Future of China-EU Relations" at the "Sixty-Minute Briefing" Event held by the European Policy Center, a well-known think tank of the European Union (EU).

Wang Yi said, as far as China is concerned, our views of Europe have always been positive and constructive. We see Europe as an important cooperation partner and a priority on our diplomatic agenda. To ensure the steady progress of China-EU relations, we need to, first and foremost, get mutual perceptions right and keep enhancing mutual understanding and trust.

Wang Yi expressed, in recent years, due to the rapid growth of the Chinese economy, some friends in Europe tend to see China as already joining the ranks of developed countries and they started to judge China by the corresponding standards. Some even go so far as to demand reciprocity at every turn. To be realistic, China indeed remains a developing country. Unbalanced and inadequate development remains a prominent challenge for China. Therefore, it would be "irreciprocal" in effect to ask for reciprocity between a country that has been developing for only several decades and countries that have developed for centuries. On the other hand, China has not only achieved tremendous progress in its own development, but also made far bigger contributions to the world than many other countries. China serves as the leading engine of the world economy. In terms of opening up, China has more than fulfilled its WTO commitments, approaching the level of developed countries. On the ease of doing business, China has become the best-performing economy in the improvement of its business environment. On emission reduction and environmental protection, China has met its international commitments ahead of schedule. Such a major developing country, one that is growing with strong momentum and making increasingly greater contributions to human progress, deserves to be welcomed and appreciated by Europe and the international community.

Wang Yi noted, in recent years, an argument suggests that China has become a rival of Europe in the economic field and should be subjected to all sorts of restrictions. In fact, any cool-headed person with an objective view will see that, for China and the EU, cooperation far outweighs competition, and our areas of consensus far exceed differences. We are partners, not rivals. Over the years, Europe has benefited tremendously from cooperation with China. Even with mounting downward pressure on the global economy, economic and trade cooperation between China and the EU has bucked the trend and kept growing. China, as a major developing country with 1.4 billion people, a 900-million-strong labor force and 120 million market entities, has solid internal growth momentum, great resilience and enormous economic potential. China is bound to offer a new round of cooperation opportunities and share the development dividend with countries in Europe while maintaining its own development. Wang Yi pointed out, in its cooperation with Europe, China has always respected Europe's concerns. We advocate the idea of openness, transparency and inclusiveness and uphold the principle of equality, mutual benefit and win-win results. Such cooperation follows market rules and EU standards and contributes to the unity and stability of the EU as a whole. Mutually beneficial cooperation between China and CEE countries is a useful supplement to China-EU relations and conducive to balanced development and the integration process in Europe.

Wang Yi said, China and the EU do have different social systems, development paths, values and concepts. Yet such differences should not become obstacles in our exchanges and cooperation. Still less should they justify taking the other as a threat, interfering in others' affairs or even seeking to remold others in one's own image. China respects Europe and appreciates your achievements. We never interfere in Europe's internal affairs. Likewise, we hope Europe will also respect China and appreciate the choices made by the Chinese people. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the Communist Party of China is a path to development, to success, to peace and to win-win results. While accelerating our own development, we have also contributed to the common development of our cooperation partners. Since the direction is right, why should China change course? Since it serves everyone's interests, why should China be remolded?

Wang Yi expressed, the upcoming 45th anniversary of China-EU diplomatic ties next year will present new opportunities for the further development of our relations. We need to draw an ambitious blueprint for China-EU cooperation, focus our efforts on advancing cooperation in key areas, take China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level, and instill greater stability and inject more positive energy to this world and make the world a more open place.

First, we need to enhance synergy of our respective strengths to expedite development and rejuvenation of both sides. China is building an open economy. We welcome European countries to seize the opportunities to scale up investment in China. We also hope that the EU will keep to the principles of market economy and create a level playing field for Chinese enterprises, not least by upholding fairness and justice and making well-informed and independent judgment on 5G issues. China and the EU should be partners for green development, digital development and free trade, and we could take green growth, circular economy and renewable energy as new growth areas of China-Europe cooperation. Much can be done if we combine our strengths and work together on smart cities, AI, data security and technological rules and standards, and we should work for an early start of negotiations on a free trade agreement.

Second, we need to defend multilateralism and strengthen strategic communication and cooperation. Multilateralism and free trade are areas of common language between China and the EU, and represent an important underpinning force for world peace and development. In contrast, unilateralism and protectionism deviate from the trend of global development, run counter to norms and rules governing international relations, and cause disruptions to the global governance system. As two major players in our world, China and the EU can neither sit idly by nor stay immune to these trends. We must stand hand-in-hand on the right side of history, fulfill our due responsibilities and play our due role. We need to firmly uphold the international system centered on the United Nations, the international order based on international law, and the multilateral trading system underpinned by the WTO, and take economic globalization in the direction of more open, inclusive, balanced and mutually beneficial development.

Third, we need to improve global governance and jointly tackle challenges. China believes that guided by a strong commitment to multilateralism, countries should make active efforts to advance the rule of law and democratization of global governance, and reject the Cold War mentality of zero-sum games. Disputes should be settled through dialogue and consultation. China and the EU need to carry out more strategic cooperation on counterterrorism, deradicalization and the political settlement of international flash-points. China will host the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity next year. We will take this opportunity to advance global ecological progress and build a shared future for all life on earth with all parties.

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