The Long-term Stable Constructive Partnership Between China and the European Union
During ASEM II in London in April 1998, H.E. Zhu Rongji, Premier of China, the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the then EU Presidency, and H.E. Jacques Santer, President of the European Commission, had the first China-EU Summit. They issued a Joint Statement on China-EU Summit and reached consensus on their readiness to build and develop a 21st century-oriented long-term and stable constructive partnership between them.
In their meetings and their Joint Statement, the sides shared the view that China and EU were both an important force on the international arena and at an important development stage. They both played an increasingly important role in maintaining peace and promoting development. As major and profound changes took place in the international situation, enhanced dialogue and cooperation between China and EU served not only the fundamental interests of the two sides, but also the world peace, stability and development. The Chinese side welcomed the positive attitude that EU had taken to upgrade its relations with China. And the EU side appreciated the determination and measures of the Chinese side to deepen its economic restructuring. The two sides stressed that stronger economic and trading ties between them were an important foundation for closer relations between them. They believed that they should make full use of the existing bilateral consultation and cooperation mechanism for trade and work out a long-term plan and measures for deepening their economic, trade and technical cooperation. The two sides reiterated their commitments to China?s accession to the WTO on the basis of mutual benefit. The Chinese side expressed its appreciation to EU for its support to China?s membership in the WTO and reiterated that it would like to become a member of the WTO at an earlier date on the basis of balanced rights and obligations. The two sides would strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the international financial and monetary field. The European Union offered an aid package to help China establish a sound financial system. The two sides expressed their satisfaction with the results of their human rights dialogue. They believed that it was important to continue such dialogue and cooperation and make progress in this regard. The two sides agreed to hold an annual leadership meeting between China and EU in order to maintain the momentum of the high-level exchanges.
In recent years, in the spirit of their London Summit, the two sides have worked hard and made progress in developing their relations. First, they have frequently exchanged high-level visits and actively conducted political dialogues at various levels. In 1999, President Jiang Zemin toured West European countries twice and successfully visited Italy, Austria, the United Kingdom, France and Portugal while head of state or government of the Netherlands, Finland, Germany and Luxembourg visited China successively. The political dialogues and consultations between China and EU at various levels continued to progress smoothly. Foreign Ministers of China and the EU Troika met regularly during the UN General Assembly sessions and the ASEM Foreign Ministers? Meetings, and the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of the two sides maintained regular consultations. The Chinese side appreciated the EU for taking the position of conducting dialogue with China on human rights instead of confrontation. By then, the Chinese side had conducted six rounds of political consultation at the director level, eight human rights dialogues, 3 legal seminars and 2 Sino-European Seminars on women?s Issues.
Secondly, trade and economic cooperation between China and EU have grown steadily. The two-way trade reached 48.86 billion US dollars in 1998, 13.6% higher than the previous year. It maintained a good growth momentum in 1999 and stood at 58.27 billion, up by 14.3% over that of 1998. By September 1999, direct investment that EU countries had made in China amounted to 20.5 billion US dollars, China?s import of their technologies about 48 billion US dollars and the pledged government loans by the member states of EU and their official financial institutions to China 15.3 billion US dollars in total. China has imported more technologies and obtained more loans from foreign governments and official financial institutions from European Union than from any other regions in the world.
Thirdly, China and EU have conducted extensive cooperation with each other in many projects such as environmental protection, agriculture, the training of simultaneous interpretation, China-Europe International Business School, intellectual property rights, involving science, technology, finance, industry, education, development aid and others. In recent years, the two sides have signed a series of agreements, including China-EU Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, MOU on Financial cooperation, MOU on the Industrial Cooperation in the Aeronautical and Telecommunications Sectors, Minutes of the Talks on Industrial Cooperation Between China and EU, China-EU automobile agreement and EU-China Higher Education Program.
On 21 Dec. 1999, Premier Zhu Rongji met Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen of Finland, which was the EU Presidency, and Romanno Prodi, President of the European Commission, in Beijing for the second China-EU Leadership Meeting. The two sides spoke highly of their first meeting and the positive progress made in the relations between China and EU since their first meeting. The two sides were of the view that to enhance the mutually beneficial cooperation between them were in keeping with their fundamental interests and conducive to world peace, prosperity and development. They reiterated their commitment to the development of a long-term stable and constructive partnership in the new century and the establishment of a more balanced and equitable new international order. They reached broad agreement on enhancing their cooperation and exchanges in various areas.