Chinese President Xi Jinping and new EU leaders discuss relations in post-epidemic conditions
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- On the evening of 22 June, a meeting was held between Chinese President Xi Jinping and the new EU leaders. This multi-stakeholder platform was created in 1998. This is the 22nd annual meeting of China-EU leaders.
Most of the meetings were held alternately in Europe and China. In 2013, 2016 and 2018 President Xi Jinping met with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, who arrived in China to attend 16, 18 and 20 meetings, respectively. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting of the leaders of China and the EU was first held in a teleconference format.
This online meeting is the first direct multilateral interaction between President Xi Jinping and the new EU leaders. The European Council is the highest decision-making body in the European Union. The current EU chairman is former Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, who took office on 1 December 2019. The European Commission is the EU’s highest executive body, which is currently led by former German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen. She took office on 1 December of last year. In March of this year, President Xi Jinping has already contacted two leaders. He expressed his sincere condolences and concerns about the COVID-19 epidemic in the EU, while at the same time expressing readiness for help and cooperation in the fight and prevention of the pandemic.
Former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in an online meeting with President Xi Jinping that "EU-China cooperation will bring positive benefits to the world." But for this, of course, full understanding and the achievement of unity of opinion are necessary. Six years ago, speaking at the European Academy of Bruges, President Xi Jinping of the PRC said: “In order to promote Sino-European relations, the Chinese side needs to deepen their understanding of Europe, and the European side needs to better understand China.”
At a meeting with new EU leaders on 22 June, President Xi Jinping noted that China wants peace and does not seek hegemony. China acts as a platform for global opportunities, and is not a threat. China is a partner, not a rival. He noted that the parties to Sino-European relations should respect each other, strive for unity and mutual understanding while maintaining and respecting cultural, socio-economic and other differences, continuously strengthen trust in each other, expand common interests in cooperation and resolve issues in the development process. Two EU leaders said that the European side is ready, on the basis of sincerity, to continue to engage in strategic dialogue with the Chinese side and to expand unity of opinion in this difficult period.
The meeting took place in the context of a pandemic. The leaders of China and the EU were worried that the world, under the negative pressure of COVID-19, is rapidly transforming and losing its familiar framework and standards. At the same time, they agreed that socio-economic processes will face even greater instability and uncertainty. Faced with this harsh situation, President Xi Jinping of China said: China and the EU, as two global world forces, two large markets and two civilizations, must understand their role in current processes, defending their own interests and values, and at the same time, cooperating and understanding each other’s concerns.
During the teleconference, Chinese President Xi Jinping also emphasized that Sino-European relations in the conditions of the crisis received new opportunities for development, and the state to strengthen their positions. The head of the PRC noted that China and the EU should become the two main forces to maintain peace and stability throughout the world. The epidemic further deepened the contradictions and, obviously, will intensify conflicts in the global arena. China is the largest developing state, and the EU is the largest union of developed countries. Strengthening contacts and coordinating actions and combining the interests of China and the EU on global issues will be able to play a key role in ensuring peace and stability throughout the world.
China and the EU should become the two largest markets for global development and prosperity. During the visit of President Xi Jinping to EU headquarters, he proposed making China and the EU a “twin engine” of global economic growth. In the "post-epidemic" period, China and the EU should play a "double" synergistic role in order to stimulate the recovery of the global economy. During the teleconference, the parties announced that it is necessary to intensify negotiations on an investment agreement between China and the EU and to reach an agreement in this area as soon as possible.
China and the EU should form and develop two civilizations that will adhere to the principle of multilateralism and reciprocity and improve the global governance system. Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed that no matter how the international situation changes, China will uphold multilateralism and fight against unilateralism. EU leaders said that the European side also adheres to multilateral relations and is ready within the UN framework to strengthen cooperation with the Chinese side on important issues of common and regional interest.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the EU. On 6 May 1975, China established diplomatic relations with its predecessor, the European Economic Community. In 2003, China and the EU established a comprehensive strategic partnership. In April 2014, as the first chairman of China to visit the EU headquarters, Xi Jinping first proposed the creation of a partnership of peace, growth, reform and civilizational development.
Following an online meeting, President Xi Jinping of China proposed the formation of a comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the EU in the new era in a "post-epidemic" environment. Xi Jinping expressed his readiness to maintain, strengthen and develop close contacts with EU leaders in order to promote a number of important political programs between China and the EU and bring Sino-European relations to a new level. It is obvious that the important political agenda between China and the EU will strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership of the parties, as well as give new positive energy to the global development in these complex realities.