China-EU Summit on 16-17 July 2018: “Work together to address common challenges”, by China’s Ambassador to the EU

Ambassador Zhang Ming China 2018

HE Ambassador of the Chinese Mission to EU, Mr Zhang Ming, delivers a speech at the joint forum ‘EU, China and SDGs: A Likely Alliance?’. © European Union , 2018 / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart.

This article was written by HE Ambassador of the Chinese Mission to EU, Mr Zhang Ming in view of the upcoming China-EU Summit taking place in Beijing on 16-17 July 2018. The opinions expressed belong to the distinguished writer.

The 20th China-EU Summit is scheduled to be held in Beijing. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and the 20th anniversary of the China-EU Summit, which in itself is a call for celebration. Another thing that adds a special touch to the summit is the broader global context, marked by rising unilateralism and protectionism as well as the ongoing economic tensions among major forces. With that, all eyes are on China and the European Union to see if they could bring their relations forward and move the world to a steady course.

As Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, I hope that during the summit, China and the EU will consolidate consensus and trust, enhance cooperation, and send a joint message of defending multilateralism, free trade and investment facilitation.

China and the EU view each other from a strategic perspective. For decades, the two sides have been able to, despite differences in political systems and development path, build partnerships for the promotion of peace, growth, reform and cultural exchanges, thus delivering benefits to citizens of both sides, and contributing to the resolution of global challenges. The upcoming summit is expected to reaffirm the shared commitment of the two sides to mutual respect and mutual benefit, to add greater strategic and global sense to bilateral relations, and to inject more certainty into this world of uncertainties.

China and the EU work to advance cooperation in a win-win spirit. Economic and trade cooperation acts as an anchor that underpins China-EU relations. Such cooperation stands to benefit from China’s determined efforts to promote reform and opening-up, which will lead to broader market access and a better business climate. China and the EU are committed to forge greater synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and European development strategies and to advance the bilateral investment treaty talks. During the summit, the two sides will take stock of what has been achieved, chart the future course and seek to identify new areas of cooperation.

China and the EU take a clear stance for multilateralism. As two responsible players for stability, China and the EU have shared views and interests on multilateralism. Both sides maintain that it is imperative to reject unilateralism and protectionism, uphold the WTO-centered and rules-based multilateral trading system, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all. It is also crucial to keep the multilateral trading system abreast with the times through reform, and improve the global economic governance system. The summit will send positive signals in this regard.

Admittedly, China and the EU do not see eye-to-eye on every issue. Yet, the two sides could expand common ground and manage differences through candid discussions, and focus on the future prospects and shared responsibilities. This is the right way to go and is what the international community expects of us.

The summit will provide political guidance for China and the EU to strengthen cooperation and tackle global challenges. I look forward to the success of the summit.

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