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Briefing by Ambassador Yang Yanyi on President Xi Jinping's visit to the EU

(March 26, 2014)

At the invitation of President Herman Van Rompuy of the European Council and President Jose Manuel Barroso of the European Commission, President Xi Jinping will pay visit to the EU headquarters from March 31 to April 1. In the meantime he will also pay state visit to the Kingdom of the Belgians. Before coming to Brussels, President Xi Jinping will attend the third Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague, the Netherlands on March 24 and 25, and pay state visits to the Netherlands, France and Germany from March 22 to 30. While in France, President Xi Jinping will also visit UNESCO headquarters on March 27 at the invitation of UNESCO Director-General.

President Xi's visit to the EU headquarter is historical. It will be the ever first visit paid to the EU institution by Head of State of China since establishment of diplomatic ties between China and EU in 1975, and the first visit to Europe by President Xi Jinping in his current capacity. The visit will be a new milestone in China-EU relations and it is a clear demonstration of the great importance attached to China-EU relations by both China and the EU and it will give a strong boost to consolidation and deepening of China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

With regard to the program, President Xi's three-day visit in Brussels will be fully packed. We are working very closely with our Belgian and EU counterparts to put a final touch on the whole event. During his visit to the EU institution, President Xi Jinping will meet with President Herman Van Rompuy of the European Council, President Jose Manuel Barroso of the European Commission, and President Martin Schulz of the European Parliament. President Xi will also deliver a very import speech at the College of Europe in Brugge. During his state visit to Belgium, he will meet with the King, the Prime Minister, and attend various welcoming functions, including visiting the Pairi Daiza Zoo, now home to the two friendship envoys-Xinghui and Haohao.

With regard to the major focus and outcome of the visit, I believe there is a lot that the top leaders of both China and the EU want to share with.

Exchange views on and provide political guidance for further development of China-EU relations will be the central topic of the meetings. This couldn't be more relevant and timelier.

Over the past 10 years since the establishment of comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the EU, cooperation has been increasingly consolidated and strengthened and both sides have become major cooperative partners. Now, with the world undergoing profound and complex changes, and both China and the EU are engaged in reform and restructuring, there are numerous opportunities as well as challenges for China-EU partnership. It is the shared desire of both China and the EU to seize opportunities and rise up to challenges, and benefit from the dividends of each others reform, socio-economic sustainable development, and make sure our dynamic and closer partnership remain a strong and constructive force for world peace, prosperity and progress. Given this, I am sure the message transpiring from the meetings will be very positive.

On its part, China remains committed to making our partnership with the EU more comprehensive, more productive, more resilient and stronger. To that end, we stand ready to join hands with the EU to deepen mutual understanding and political trust through our regular meetings, particularly the three pillars underpinning the China-EU summit, the annual High Level Strategic Dialogue, the annual High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue and the bi-annual High Level People-to-People Dialogue. While irritants will remain, our common and converging interest far outweigh our differences and even disputes. That China-EU relations have come a long way proves that the two sides have the wisdom and ability to work on common interest while shelving and managing differences.

We believe the two sides will reaffirm their commitment to implement in earnest China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation, including concluding in a timely fashion of a China-EU Investment Agreement and launching in due course joint feasibility study of a China-EU free trade area, and their commitment to an open global economy and a fair, transparent and rule-based trade and investment environment and to opposing protectionism.

We also believe that our top leaders will underline the commitment of both China and the EU translate the initiatives and priority areas of cooperation outlined in Agenda 2020 into tangible results, including reinforcing communication and cooperation on finance, industry and information, agriculture, transport and infrastructure, science, technology and innovation, space and aerospace, energy, urbanization, as well as culture, education, youth and facilitation of people-to-people exchanges.

As important players on the international arena, both China and the EU share responsibility for promoting global peace and stability and are committed to strengthen the global dimension of their relationship. China stands ready to consult fully and effectively with the EU on major bilateral, regional and international issues, with a view to establish a rules-based, more efficient, transparent, just and equitable system of global governance and make the international order and system more just and equitable. During his visit to the EU institution, President Xi Jinping will exchange views with EU's top leaders on important international and regional issues of mutual concern to build common ground and strengthen coordination and cooperation.

Current state of affairs and future trend in China and the EU is of great interest to both sides. That said, during the meetings between President Xi Jinping and the top leaders of the EU institution, the Chinese side will brief the EU side about economic and social development in China, particularly the implementation of the majors decisions of the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee and the lately convened sessions of the National Peoples Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The Chinese side will be more than delighted to be briefed about the latest development in the EU. As pointed out by President Xi Jinping the European integration is a dream of the European people for striving for long-lasting peace and prosperity over the centuries. A peaceful, united and prosperous Europe is in our common interest. China will, as always, support the European integration process, including the reinforcement of the Economic and Monetary Union.

I am in no position to prejudge the speech to be delivered by President Xi Jinping at the College of Europe in Brugge. However, it is quite likely that the speech will be a forward-looking and future-oriented one. It will not only reflect on our past achievements, but most importantly project our vision on China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership in its second decade and beyond. It will also most likely shed light on China's drive for comprehensive reform and building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and China's continuous support for the European integration process. In short, the speech will generate stronger confidence of the future prospects of China, of the EU and of China-EU relations.

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