Leadership change evokes positive reaction

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International relations

With regard to Sino-European relations, the observers did not expect to see many changes in economic and political relations, adding that they may evolve according to the way Europe deals with China.

They said European leaders will work with China's new leadership to address bilateral and global issues, as they did with the previous generation, but will require more knowledge about China and its new leaders.

Leadership change evokes positive reaction

Yao Shujie, head of the school of contemporary Chinese studies at Nottingham University in the United Kingdom, said that China and the European Union have developed close relations regarding economics and technological cooperation.

The EU has been China's largest trading partner for many years, and China is the EU's second-largest trade partner after the United States. The two economies have strong complementarities, he added.

However, Yao pointed out, there are still some stumbling blocks on bilateral relations, including the fact that the EU has not recognized China's market status and still has a number of trade restrictions relating to Chinese high-tech.

In the United States, Guthrie said he sees opportunities for the US and China to build a collaborative relationship. "It's bad when Mitt Romney and others talk about currency manipulation and being tough on China. I would like to see a more welcoming environment towards Chinese investment," he said.

One of the major challenges is to set aside political tensions, he noted. "We cannot accuse Chinese firms of spying on the US government. The Huawei case is absolutely absurd."

He admitted that US politicians have concerns about China's change of leadership and thinks of most of them are unfounded. "There are many US politicians who do not know anything about China. This creates an opportunity to talk about the threat that China poses. They just don't understand the situation in China," he said.

"I would rather see them engage with China, and to get to know Xi Jinping. I also would like to see Chinese politicians being more open to engagement with the West."

Orville Schell, the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on US-China Relations at Asia Society in New York, said: "My hope is that the relationship that General Secretary Xi has formed with Vice-President Biden will grow in closeness and serve as a significant point of close contact and interchange between the two countries to work out a new, more partnership-like relationship, something that is much needed.

"This personal connection could serve as a critical new mediating role between the two countries and should be welcomed and encouraged."

The environment

In President Hu Jintao's report to the 18th National Congress of the CPC, he addressed the environmental challenges facing China and spoke about the need to promote sustainable growth.

Guthrie from George Washington University said: "I think it's important that he's talking about this. The United States also went through environmental challenges for many years. Many US cities had very bad air pollution in the 1950s and 1960s. China is going through the same thing."

"China's growth has been spectacular. We want to see the government step in and make sure that Chinese citizens have access to clean air, food and water."

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