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China-EU summit to bridge gaps
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Chinese and EU negotiators are working intensively towards a new strategic partnership pact ahead of next month's China-EU summit, senior diplomats said.


Sources close to the negotiations said the EU's stance on China's market economy status and lifting the arms embargo are likely to emerge as major points in the pact, but refused to go into details.


In addition to further strengthening economic and trade ties, Chinese diplomats said the two sides had planned to expand cooperation in the fight against climate change, terrorism, energy shortages and other pressing challenges brought by globalization.


"All the negotiations and preparations are well under way and we hope the coming summit can solidify the foundation of the Sino-EU strategic partnership," Zhang Qiyue, Chinese ambassador to Belgium told China Daily.


Guan Chengyuan, Chinese ambassador to the EU delegation, confirmed China's stance at a plenary session of the four-day China-Europe Forum, which closed yesterday.


"We are looking forward to a new and solid legal foundation to boost the strategic partnership between the two sides," Guan said.


More than 1,000 Chinese and European participants attended the forum. EU officials said they were strongly committed to maturing the EU's comprehensive strategic partnership with China.


Dirk Sterckx, chairman of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with China, said: "Trade and economic cooperation should not be the only factors" of the China-EU new partnership.


Zhang Qiyue said China is still being attacked by deep-rooted prejudice and misunderstanding that it is "a threat, with no human rights and no democracy."


She blamed deliberate smear campaigns by some foreign politicians that attempt to discredit China's peaceful role in the world to protect certain global interests.


"We need to sit down and listen to the voices from all walks of life to see what is the real situation in China," Zhang said.


Jacques Delors, the former president of European Commission and honorary president of the forum said Chinese participants had expressed very "frank views" on every topic discussed since last Thursday.


(China Daily October 8, 2007)

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