The relationship between China and the EU was "stronger than ever before," Premier Wen Jiabao said in Hamburg Wednesday at a Sino-European economic summit.
The two sides had put in place a mechanism of annual meetings between the leaders, established a comprehensive strategic partnership and were negotiating a new set of agreements on partnership and cooperation, Wen said in a speech at the 2nd Hamburg Summit entitled "China meets Europe."
The EU had been China's largest trade partner for two years and China was the first non-EU country to participate in the Galileo program, which "epitomized the extensive and multi-dimensional China-EU cooperation and marked a new stage of sound and stable growth of our relationship," said the premier.
China-EU relations were based on a solid foundation, he said. Politically, the two sides shared much in common as both believed in multilateralism, pursued democracy in international relations and worked to safeguard the authority of the United Nations.
Economically, China and the EU complemented each other. China had maintained sustained and fast economic growth and had a huge market and an abundant supply of labor. The EU was developed, advanced in technology and rich in capital resources.
Wen described both China and the EU as "important forces for enhancing dialogue among civilizations."
"Mutual interests and common needs have enabled us to strengthen cooperation in the pursuit of the goal of enhancing mutual political trust, economic exchanges, cultural interactions and common development," said Wen.
The European business community had "played a key role" in building strong EU ties with China, Wen added.
"If the China-EU relationship is likened to a huge ship in the ocean, the business community would be its powerful engine," said the premier.
Wen called for both sides to "move into high gear, work as one and propel the huge ship to sail forward, braving wind and waves."
The Chamber of Commerce Hamburg, which initiated the summit, expected more than 350 economical, political and scientific leaders from both China and Europe to attend the event which will run until Friday.
Germany's Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Michael Glos, the Mayor of Hamburg Ole von Beust, and former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt were among the German leaders who attended the summit on Wednesday.
Wen arrived in Germany on Wednesday for a two-day visit, the third leg of his four-nation tour which took him to Finland and Britain and will also include a visit to Tajikistan.
Wen will meet German President Horst Koehler and Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday.
(Xinhua News Agency September 14, 2006)