China and the European Union (EU) have sent a clear message from their Beijing summit that they want to work together to address the European sovereign debt crisis.
Chinese President Hu Jintao(C) meets with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (R) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso who attend the 14th China-EU summit at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 15, 2012. [Pang Xinglei/Xinhua]
Chinese President Hu Jintao praised the success of the summit on Wednesday, saying China expects enhanced political and strategic dialogues with the EU to properly address major concerns and sensitive issues, deepen cooperation and expand common ground, to boost progress of the bilateral all-round strategic partnership.
While meeting with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Hu said China pays close attention to the measures taken by the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in coping with the debt issue, and will enhance policy coordination with the EU and participate in global efforts to back Europe and the euro zone.
During the 14th China-EU summit held in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed with Van Rompuy and Barroso that closer attention should be paid to dealing with the European debt crisis, and facilitating a two-way investment deal as soon as possible.
Leaders of China and the EU touched on a variety of bilateral and global issues in their summit, ranging from the debt crisis, trade and energy cooperation, to China's market economy status, as well as regional issues including the situation in Syria and Iran.
"China and the EU have their differences on some of the topics, thus face-to-face dialogues would help beef up mutual understanding, seek proper solutions to issues and further consolidate the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership," said Qu Xing, head of the China Institute of International Studies.
Stronger trade links
Trade cooperation is an important component of China-EU ties. Currently, the EU is China's largest trading partner and biggest export market, while China is close to being the EU's biggest trading partner. Bilateral trade volume hit 567 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.
President Hu on Wednesday voiced support for stronger China-EU cooperation in trade, investment and finance. He said China has always attached great importance to the EU's role in global affairs, and has been treating and developing relations with Europe from a strategic height and long-term point of view.
Premier Wen put forward five proposals on boosting China-EU trade bonds, including expanding mutual investment, promoting balanced two-way trade and cooperation in scientific research, innovation, energy and environmental protection, and boosting partnership in urbanization.
A joint press communique released from the summit says both sides agreed to launch negotiations on a two-way investment agreement as soon as possible, so as to "lay a legal foundation for the expansion of bilateral investment" and consolidate the confidence of investors.
From cooperation in energy, technology and environmental protection to protection of intellectual property rights and the fight against protectionism, detailed plans were nailed down for future cooperation.
The two sides also agreed to hold further discussions on energy strategies in a China-EU High Level Energy Meeting in June.
"The summit yielded rich outcomes in boosting bilateral trade, which not only cover concrete plans for deepening trade and investment, but also broaden potentials in fresh areas such as technology, energy and environmental protection," said Li Gang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce.