China and Europe

By Zhao Jinglun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, April 2, 2014
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Two great civilizations and a quarter of mankind coming closer together in a comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the EU as a result of President Xi Jinping's historic visit to Europe has got to be the best news in a long time, as it will surely strengthen peace and foster prosperity in the world.

Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) shakes hands with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy during their talks in Brussels, Belgium, on March 31, 2014. [Xinhua]

Peace, first of all because China's rise is peaceful, is not an expedience, but is a carefully thought out long-term strategy. As Xi explained in his speech delivered in Berlin, "China's pursuit of peace is rooted in its national character formed through generations." He pointed out that "China was for a long time one of the most powerful countries in the world, yet it never engaged in colonialism or aggression." He was obviously referring to Zheng He's huge fleet during the Ming Dynasty which went on seven friendly goodwill voyages, visiting some 30 countries in the West Pacific and Indian Ocean.

A good example of China's independent foreign policy is shown in the context of the Ukrainian crisis pitting the West against Russia. China insists on staying neutral. It refuses to take sides, while trying to mediate and find a diplomatic solution.

China's powerful economic growth is contributing more and more to world growth, especially as Europe is emerging from its sovereign debt crisis, and China-Europe cooperation is of special importance. The EU is China's largest trading partner; and China is the EU's second largest trading partner. The two make up a third of the world economy. The broad-reaching strategic partnership between China and the EU means there is still room for greater expansion as amply demonstrated by Xi's visit.

The Chinese president's first stop was the Netherlands. There, the two countries signed eight cooperative documents, in fields including energy, agriculture, economy and trade, and culture. That testifies to the scope of their fruitful cooperation.

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