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President Xi Jinping Holds Talks with European Council President Charles Michel

2022-12-01 23:55

On the morning of 1 December, President Xi Jinping held talks with President of the European Council Charles Michel at the Great Hall of the People.

President Xi noted that President Michel’s visit to China on behalf of the Member States of the European Union (EU) shortly after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) represents the EU’s goodwill of furthering relations with China. China and the EU are two major forces upholding world peace, two big markets promoting shared development, and two great civilizations promoting human progress. Maintaining an onward and upward momentum in the China-EU relationship and keeping it mutually beneficial serves the interests of both sides and those of the international community. The more unstable the international situation becomes and the more acute challenges the world faces, the greater global significance China-EU relations take on. 

President Xi said that Comrade Jiang Zemin died of illness in Shanghai yesterday. When he was China’s leader, Comrade Jiang attached great importance and showed commitment to the growth of China-EU relations. He paid multiple visits to European countries, maintained close interactions with leaders of the EU and European countries, worked for the establishment of the China-EU Summit mechanism, and promoted dialogue and cooperation between the two sides across the board. China will carry forward his legacy and continue to consolidate and grow China-EU relations. China will continue to approach and develop its ties with the EU from a strategic, long-term perspective, and will work with the EU to strengthen strategic communication and coordination and promote the steady and sustained growth of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership.

President Xi expounded on the important outcomes of the 20th CPC National Congress and the five features of Chinese modernization. He stressed that with changes of the world, of the times and of history unfolding at a faster pace, countries are all thinking about the way forward. The 20th CPC National Congress has given China’s answer, that is: Internally, China will stay committed to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, to a people-centered philosophy of development, and to deepening reform and opening up; externally, China will firmly pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, uphold its foreign policy goals of safeguarding world peace and promoting common development, and stay committed to promoting a community with a shared future for mankind. China’s development represents a growing force for world peace, and China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansionism. This is a solemn political pledge made by the CPC. It reflects the will of the over 1.4 billion Chinese people. With stability of institutions, governance, policy and development, China has the confidence and ability to provide much needed certainty and stability to the international community. Chinese modernization and European integration are the choices that China and Europe have made in light of their vision of the future. There should be mutual understanding and support between the two sides. China looks forward to seeing the EU become an important partner in China’s pursuit of Chinese modernization and share in the opportunities brought by China’s huge market and China’s efforts to advance institutional opening up and deepen international cooperation. 

President Xi made the following four observations on the development of China-EU relations.

First, it is important to keep the right perception. There are no strategic differences or conflicts of fundamental significance between China and the EU. China does not seek dominance or hegemony. China has never and will never export its system. China supports the EU’s strategic autonomy and supports a united and prosperous Europe. It is hoped that the EU institutions and Member States will gain an objective and right perception of China, firmly pursue peaceful coexistence and mutual benefit in their China policies, rise above the Cold War mentality and ideological antagonism, transcend confrontation of systems, and reject a new Cold War of whatever forms.

Second, it is important to properly manage differences. China and Europe differ in history, culture, development level and ideology. It is only natural that the two sides have different views on some issues. They should maintain communication and coordination in a constructive way. It is essential to respect each other’s major concerns and core interests, especially sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and refrain from interfering in each other’s internal affairs, in order to jointly preserve the political foundation of China-EU relations. China stands ready for the China-EU Human Rights Dialogue conducted on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Third, it is important to carry out cooperation at a higher level. Europe is an important partner and beneficiary of China’s rapid development. China will continue to pursue high-level opening up and move faster in fostering a new development paradigm. China welcomes the EU’s continued participation for win-win results. The two sides need to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, seek greater complementarity in market, capital and technology, and work together to nurture new growth drivers in digital economy, green development and environment protection, new energies, and artificial intelligence. Joint efforts are also needed to keep industrial and supply chains secure, stable and reliable, to reject practices of decoupling, severing supply chains, and protectionism, and to oppose attempts to politicize and weaponize exchanges in economy, trade, science and technology. While China will stay open to European businesses, it would like to call on the EU to stay free from disturbances and provide Chinese companies with a fair and transparent business environment. 

Fourth, it is important to strengthen coordination and cooperation in international affairs. China and the EU, both advocates of upholding the international system with the United Nations at its core, can work together to follow true multilateralism, rise to challenges, and safeguard global peace and development. The two sides need to steer the global response to climate change and efforts for biodiversity protection, energy and food security and public health, among others, and strengthen synergy and coordination of each other’s quality public goods and cooperation platforms. China welcomes the EU’s participation in Belt and Road cooperation and the Global Development Initiative for greater synergy with the EU’s Global Gateway strategy. Efforts should be made through existing mechanisms to push for more fruitful outcomes in dialogue and cooperation in various fields.

President Michel congratulated President Xi on his reelection as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, and expressed on behalf of the EU deep condolences over Comrade Jiang Zemin’s passing due to illness. He noted that the international landscape and geopolitics are undergoing profound and complex changes, and the international community faces many challenges and crises. China does not pursue expansion. It is an important partner for upholding the purposes of the UN Charter and supporting multilateralism. The EU values the opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting at the highest level with China shortly after the 20th CPC National Congress. The EU stands ready for an in-depth discussion with China on important issues concerning various respects of EU-China relations in the spirit of mutual respect and candor, in a bid to increase mutual understanding, promote dialogue and cooperation, and manage differences properly. The EU pursues strategic autonomy and stays committed to building its own capacity and pressing ahead with European integration. The EU upholds the one-China policy and respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It will not interfere in China’s internal affairs. The EU is ready to become a reliable and predictable cooperation partner for China. It will work with China to ensure the success of upcoming high-level exchanges, reduce misunderstanding and miscalculation through more direct dialogue and cooperation, and strengthen communication and coordination to better respond to energy crisis, climate change, public health and other global challenges. The EU will work with China to take forward the process toward an EU-China investment agreement, make supply chains more stable, strengthen mutual trust, and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas.

The two sides exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis. President Xi expounded on China’s principled position and quoted an ancient Chinese saying, “When the city gate catches fire, the fish in the moat would suffer.” A political settlement of the crisis best serves Europe’s interests and the common interests of all countries in Eurasia. Under the current circumstances, it is important to prevent an escalation or expansion of the crisis, stay committed to promoting talks for peace, manage the spillovers of the crisis, and watch out for any risk of bloc confrontation. China supports the EU in stepping up mediation efforts and playing a leading role in building a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture in Europe. China will remain on the side of peace and continue to play a constructive role in its own way.

Wang Yi and He Lifeng were present at the talks.

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