China-EU relations standing at new historical starting point: Chinese FM

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MADRID, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — The China-European Union (EU) relations are standing at a new historical starting point and China is willing to seize the opportunity with the EU to jointly advance the China-EU partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Sunday.

He made the remarks at a press conference following a meeting with the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, on the sidelines of the 14th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting.

The new EU institutions are determined to make progress and refreshing changes are already underway, Wang said, adding that he believes the new institutions will make the bloc more united, stable, open and prosperous.

Stressing that China’s EU policy is highly continuous and stable, Wang said whether the EU is in good times or in bad times, China will, as always, firmly support the European integration process, the EU’s unity and growth and Europe’s more important role in international affairs.

This is China’s strategic choice rather than a stopgap measure, Wang said, noting that the two sides share the same or similar views on world affairs.

He said that China and Europe are partners rather than rivals as there is more consensus than divergence and more cooperation than competition between the two sides.

There is no historical grievance or geopolitical contradiction between China and Europe, let alone conflict of fundamental interests, Wang added.

The foreign minister said China-EU relations are facing hard-won opportunities for development as next year marks not only the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two sides but also the opening year of the new EU institutions.

He noted that China will host the China-CEEC (Central and Eastern European Countries) leaders’ meeting in the first half of next year, and Germany has proposed hosting a special China-EU summit in the second half.

In addition, the 22nd China-EU leaders’ meeting will be held as soon as possible, Wang said.

These intensive high-level exchanges will definitely inject strong impetus into bilateral cooperation, the Chinese top diplomat said, adding that China and the EU should strive to reach a high-level China-EU investment agreement within the next year.

Wang said the two sides should advance the synergy between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and the EU strategy for connecting Europe and Asia to achieve fruitful results.

He also called for strengthening cooperation in new fields such as climate change and digital economy.

The two sides should chart a new blueprint for dialogue and cooperation in the next five years, he added.

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