Li calls for closer Sino-EU ties

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Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang Thursday called on China and the European Union (EU) to treat each other with respect, deepen mutual understanding, and address differences through dialogues, so as to forge closer Sino-EU relations.

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L) meets with European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels, Belgium, May 3, 2012. [Huang Jingwen/Xinhua]

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L) meets with European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels, Belgium, May 3, 2012. [Huang Jingwen/Xinhua] 

Europe is an important pillar of the international community, Li said during a meeting with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, adding that China has regarded the EU and Sino-EU ties as being of great strategic importance to the country and its diplomatic policies.

He called on both sides to deepen practical cooperation, enhance cultural and personnel exchanges, and reinforce and further promote the Sino-EU comprehensive strategic partnership.

Li said the current economic woes in Europe had exerted adverse effects on both China and the world at large.

China believed that the EU member countries have solid economic development foundation, enormous capacity for scientific and technological innovation, and sufficient wisdom to recover from the debt crisis, he said.

He stressed that cooperation between China and the EU in the field of urbanization offered promising prospects for both sides. Urbanization was not only key to China's endeavor to expand domestic demands and boost future economic growth, but also served as an important opportunity for Europe to achieve economic recovery and development, he said.

For his part, Van Rompuy also said a prosperous and strong Europe and a stable and open China should further enhance cooperation with each other.

In a separate meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Li said a steady euro currency and a stable European economy were conducive to the world economic growth and could benefit China as well.

He said China firmly supported the integration of Europe, and hoped to see a united, strong and prosperous Europe.

The vice premier called on European countries to be "more flexible and open" to the transfer of high technologies to China, in order to deepen the integration between European technologies and Chinese markets, and to step up cooperation in new energy, especially clean energy sector.

Stepping up innovation and protection of intellectual property rights could also contribute to Sino-EU economic and trade cooperation, and stimulate economic growth on both sides, he said.

Barroso thanked China for its support for the integration of Europe.

He said the EU was dedicated to deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership with China, and that both the EU and China had the obligation and responsibility to further push forward their cooperation.

He said that Europe had considerable experience and expertise in urbanization, and was willing to enhance exchanges and mutual support with China.

Barroso cited energy as a focus of current Sino-EU collaborations, urging both sides to step up policy coordination to improve cooperation in this regard.

He also urged both sides to improve investment collaborations, create a favorable legal environment for mutual investment, and make most of the already existing people-to-people exchange mechanism to improve mutual understanding.

Li and Barroso also discussed other issues such as cooperation within the Group of 20, and jointly combating climate change.

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