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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Ming At the EU-China: Pre-Summit Briefing

(2 July 2018, Friends of Europe)

(Thank you, Shada, for your introduction.)

Managing Director Gunnar Wiegand,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s great to meet my old and new friends today. This roundtable focuses on the 20th China-EU Summit to be held in Beijing later this month. No doubt, it’s going to be the most important event on this year’s China-EU political agenda. As today’s theme-“Europe, China and a changed global order”-suggests, we are now living in a time of uncertainties. Given this special context, many of you are watching what the summit will deliver, and whether China-EU relations could play a stabilizing role in this changing world.

Well, as preparations are still underway, I would rather not be a spoiler to give away too much. But one thing is certain. The summit will provide political guidance for China-EU relations for the time to come. And a stable China-EU relationship will be a positive factor in this world of great changes and challenges.

Through the summit, we hope to convey the following messages:

First, China and the EU remain comprehensive strategic partners. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. We have extended our cooperation to a wide range of areas despite the differences in political system and development pattern. Our cooperation has delivered real benefits to our citizens and contributed to the resolution of global challenges. At the summit, China and the EU will reaffirm commitment to mutual respect and mutual benefit, and demonstrate to the world that zero-sum mentality has not and should not define the game. We need to work together to forge a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, embrace a shared future, and build a peaceful, open, inclusive, and beautiful world with common security and prosperity.

The second message is that mutually beneficial cooperation remains at the heart of China-EU relations. At the summit, Chinese and EU leaders will review the past achievements, chart the future course and seek to identify new areas of cooperation. Economic and trade relations have always been followed with great interest. A week ago, the seventh China-EU High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED) sent encouraging signals regarding BIT talks, geographic indications agreement, the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative and Europe’s development strategies, and so on, making good preparations for the summit from the economic perspective. China and the EU do have some specific concerns toward each other, and frankly speaking, they may not be resolved once and for all through one single summit. However, it is always crucial to act in the spirit of mutual benefit. It is a fundamental principle that could keep China-EU relations on the right course, and it is the only feasible way to make our world as a whole great.

The third message is that China and the EU remain steadfast in upholding multilateralism. For the international community to function well, it is important to obey the rules of the road. A reckless driver would not reach his/her destination safe and sound, and what’s worse, could put others in danger. As unilateralism and protectionism are taking a toll, China and the EU have a joint responsibility to prevent any possible impact that may hold back global economy. We need to jointly uphold the WTO-centered, rules-based multilateral trading system and keep it abreast with the times through reform. We need to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, and improve the global economic governance system. The summit is expected to send a positive and strong signal in this regard.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the China-EU summit, which is a call for celebration in itself. In addition to that, under the current global context, the summit would receive particular attention from China, Europe and even beyond. Last month, the eighth China-EU High-level Strategic Dialogue and the seventh HED laid groundwork for the summit. Our two sides will build on that, and continue the intensive preparations over the coming weeks. We look forward to a successful summit, which will add more positive energy to our relations and the changing world at large.

Thank you.

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