“A divided Europe is not in China’s interests”, Ambassador Zhang of the Chinese Mission to EU welcomes Brussels

Ambassador Zhang Ming reception

HE Ambassador Zhang Ming is the new Ambassador of the Chinese Mission to EU                       (The European Sting, 2017)

On 06 December 2017 the Chinese Mission to the EU organized in Brussels another grand reception on the special occasion of the new Ambassador, HE Mr Zhang Ming, arriving in town to assume duties. Some of Brussels’ most prominent personalities honoured the new Ambassador with their attendance like EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner Navracsics and Commissioner Bienkowska. All top officials warmly welcomed and wished him a fruitful tenure in Brussels endorsing China-EU relations and taking them to the next level during his service.

HE Ambassador Zhang commenced his inspiring speech by welcoming all his distinguished guests and primordially asking them “how are you, and who are you”? Like this he wanted to give a pleasant initial tone to his first posting ever in Brussels. He continued by discussing the abundant EU offices in all the institutions in Brussels, describing most succinctly the infinite Brussels conglomerate bureaucracy. The Ambassador acknowledged the previous significant work that had been done in China-EU relations by Ambassador Yang and her excellent predecessors and confirmed his assertiveness for a very productive work to be made during his service in Brussels.

He then referred to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China which he had attended, passing on a key message from that important convention that socialism has entered a new era. That was the place where the ambition and action plan for China’s long term development were discussed. Looking back, during the past years of the reform and opening up, we see that Chinese people are not only good at setting goals but also achieving them. The more successful China is, the bigger the benefit for the world, and naturally the bigger the benefit for China-EU relations as well.

Ambassador Yang then continued with his three cornerstone points about China’s strategic aspirations for the future:

First, China will pursue development of higher quality and will continue performing reforms and develop the economy. The speed of this growth though is not the only criterion to consider. What we want is more quality and sustainability, he said. President Xi had underscored: “we will rely on the people”.

Second, China will open the door wider and wider. There will be a significant focus on development and growth initiatives, adopting high standard policies for trade and investment and globalization, as well as increasing foreign investors.

Third, China will share more activities with the rest of the world. China contributes over 30% to global growth today. In the next 15 years a huge amount of Chinese investment is on its way. “Europe will get a slice. It won’t be a small slice. It also depends on how big your stomach is”, the Chinese Ambassador underlined. China has shown great importance to the EU. China will continue to be a stable, reliable and predictable partner for the EU and the world.

“Let me share with you my expectations for China-EU relations”, he continued. We can grow further the cooperation at the Belt and Road initiative. We want to continue to develop platforms for cooperation like connectivity platform, digital cooperation, legal affairs, migration dialogue etc. We can also explore new areas like green development, circular economy and scientific implementation. What is also crucial are close people to people exchanges for our day to day relations. Besides, people are the driving forces of our cooperation.

Next year is the China-EU tourism year.  It’s essential to make it a successful year, bringing our people closer and enhancing mutual understanding. With that cooperation we have a solid basis. China and the EU need to be working closely and with ample understanding. “No relation is problem free”, he stressed. With more communication and mutual trust we will be able to get over the differences. China has no intention to divide Europe. A divided Europe is not in China’s interests. This is of our consistent position and we take proper actions about that.

HE Ambassador Zhang Ming concluded his speech reassuring his excellent audience by highlighting that as Ambassador he pledges to advance China-EU strategic partnership and relations.

It was then the turn of the EU Commissioners to be invited to the podium to speak.

EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport

Commissioner for Education and Sports described this as a special event, having new Ambassador in our city, in our country. “Brussels has many offices but on the other hand excellent restaurant too and places in Brussels to discover more opportunities and make your stay very pleasant, he said addressing the Ambassador’s remark on the extensive EU bureaucracy. Your duty is very noble and I hope it is very successful. Welcome to Brussels!”

EU Commissioner Elżbieta Bienkowska, Member of the EC in charge of Internal Market, Industry,

“It is my great pleasure and honor to welcome the new Ambassador. Three Commissioners came to welcome him. It is definitely a good moment for our relations. I have been managing close cooperation with SMEs and industry but the momentum now is for China-EU tourism year. This is a good occasion to strengthen our relations. We are still growing. These are the two last years at the Commission of our mandate but we will do our best to make it happen.”

EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship

“This is the beginning of your service which has a big role to play to the cooperation between your great nation and Europe. You know that the European civilization and Chinese cooperation have met each other some 2,500 years go. It was the time that Confucius and Socrates, the then citizens of the world, said the same things. As regards security and migration we will do more together because these phenomena of our times are happening on global scale and our global collaboration is much needed. I hope you and your wife will enjoy these 4 years in the good hospitable city of Brussels and continue the great work of this house. By the way, regardless of what Tibor said just before, “the best Chinese restaurant of the city is definitely located inside this Mission.”

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