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China-EU relationship has potential of further development
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China and the European Union (EU) have the opportunity to further improve their relationship and deepen cooperation on international affairs in face of the global financial and economic crises and climate change.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and EU leaders held the 11th China-EU summit in Prague on Wednesday, reiterating their determination to strengthen bilateral ties.

"As a new decade opens for the China-EU summit, the two sides restated their firm commitment to pursuing the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and their willingness to work together for their mutual development," reads a joint communique issued after the summit.

The China-EU relationship is now much deeper and stronger, founded on a global, strategic and mutually beneficial partnership, it says.

In a complex and ever-changing international context, China-EU relations increasingly transcend the bilateral framework and take on an international dimension, the leaders believe.

The leaders expressed their determination to strengthen cooperation, further work together to address global challenges including the financial crisis and climate change, and remain actively committed to enhancing coordination and cooperation in international affairs.

Wen unequivocally defended multilateralism and multipolarization, which open the way for even broader China-EU cooperation and collaboration.

"Some say that world affairs will be managed solely by China and the United States (in the future). I think that view is baseless and wrong," Wen told reporters at the end of the summit.

"It is impossible for a couple of countries or a group of big powers to resolve all global issues. Multipolarization and multilateralism represent the larger trend and the will of people," he said.

China is committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and pursues a win-win strategy of opening up, said Wen. "It stands ready to develop friendly relations and cooperation with all countries and it will never seek hegemony."

On China-EU relations, Wen said the relationship was, is and will be based on mutual respect and equality.

"In conducting strategic cooperation between China and the European Union, the most important thing is to stick to the principles of mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, accommodate each other's major concerns, properly handle the sensitive issues and work to ensure that our bilateral relationship will not be adversely affected by individual incidents," he said.

"The China-EU relationship is a strategic and comprehensive one that is advanced with the changing times. These are the most important features of this bilateral relationship. It is important to remain committed to this basic characterization of the relationship when international political and economic situation continues to undergo profound changes," said Wen.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who attended the summit, said both the EU and China intend to give "real strategic nature" to the relationship. The EU welcomes China's role in tackling major global issues like the financial crisis, climate change, energy and development.

The global financial crisis that has crippled world economy was a focal issue at the summit. On this issue, China and the EU have converging interests and broad consensus, said Wen. China and the EU should work together and make contributions to early recovery of the world economy, said Wen.

He announced that China will shortly send another buying mission to the EU in order to increase imports from Europe and stimulate its economy.

At the summit, the leaders restated their commitment to comprehensively implementing the communique at the Group of 20 London summit, to resisting and rejecting protectionism in face of the financial crisis. They also committed themselves to reaching an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive conclusion to the Doha round trade negotiations at an early date.

Climate change is another issue that requires joint efforts of China and the EU and of other major players. The two sides agreed to work together toward positive results at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the end of the year.

Barroso said the EU and China can make a difference by the time of the Copenhagen conference and both sides are ready to work for solutions.

Wen said the international community shall not waver its efforts to fight climate change at a time of financial crisis. China is ready to work with the EU on the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" toward positive results at the Copenhagen conference.

Despite differences, the China-EU relationship has the potential of further development. As Wen said, the development of China-EU relations is in conformity with historical trends and will benefit both Chinese and Europeans as well as the entire international community.

(Xinhua News Agency May 21, 2009)

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