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Ambassador Zhang Ming:New Circumstances Call for Resolve and Results
2019/09/12

On 6th September 2019, Ambassador Zhang Ming, Head of Chinese Mission to the EU, attended the Promotion Event of China-EU Energy Cooperation Platform and made a speech. The full text is as follows:

Mr. Klaus-Dieter Borchardt,

Dear friends from the business communities,

Good morning. I am delighted to be invited to this event. Just now, Mr. Borchardt gave a useful introduction to the China-EU Energy Cooperation Platform. At the China-EU Summit last April, leaders of the two sides agreed to establish the Platform. It was launched quickly and has made good progress. This speaks volumes about the importance both China and the EU place on energy cooperation. I share the view that China-EU energy cooperation has a bright future and huge potential, and the Platform comes just at the right time. We must make the best use of this Platform.

Energy cooperation is essential to global economy and livelihoods. It couldn’t be more true in the current context of international uncertainties. Facing new circumstances, we all have new questions to answer concerning world economy, China-EU relations and the energy sector. Being business leaders, many of you must be thinking seriously about how to navigate through the new dynamics and succeed in the new era.

The world economy is going through transformation. We must find the right approach.

With profound changes brought by new technologies, especially digital technology, we should have developed a more solid and efficient approach to global governance that enables better technology regulation and advancement. But we are held back by outdated mentality and wrong prescriptions.

In face of the challenges accompanying globalization, some countries seek solutions based on back-of-the-envelope calculations in disregard of how economies and market truly work. Some countries resort to protectionism and unilateralism rather than openness and cooperation, trying to solve problems by building walls, bullying and decoupling. It is quite clear that these efforts would disrupt global industrial chains and market order, which would not solve problems, and rather, would generate huge uncertainties in the whole world. This is like stopping thirst by drinking poison.

To address challenges and find new engines for growth, the right way is to promote innovation, reform and cooperation in an open and inclusive spirit.

The China-EU relations are embracing new opportunities. We must stay on the right track.

It always takes some time to get used to something new. China’s development could be something new in the eyes of some European friends. They are inclined to turn inward due to obsession with or even fear of competition with China. As a result, some Chinese enterprises and investors are becoming hesitant. Several institutions suggest a significant drop in Chinese FDI to the EU in the first half of this year. Such developments are not commensurate with the state of play, prospects and strategic importance of China-EU relations. This may risk failing the expectation of your Chinese colleagues.

I want to emphasize two points. First, as each other’s key trading partner, China and the EU do not have a fundamental conflict of interests. Given the sheer size of our market and demand, China-EU cooperation would only get bigger and deeper. China-EU strategic partnership would only be closer, more diversified and mature. The pie of our shared interests would only be larger and sweeter.

Second,China will remain firmly committed to opening up and fostering a level-playing field. China will remain a land of promise for European enterprises. In the first six months of this year, despite the grim news for global economy, EU investment in China grew by 22.5%. Many European energy companies, like Total and BP, have benefitted from China’s new measures of opening up. Please rest assured that the door of China will be opened wider and wider. We also hope that the EU side could foster a friendly business environment for Chinese energy companies in Europe and treat them fairly.

The global landscape for energy development is coming to a new phase. We must seize the right momentum.

Climate change is being widely discussed in Europe, especially during the parliament election. It is also a topic of great interest to Chinese people. The rising awareness of environmental protection and the urgent need to address climate change are reshaping global energy landscape. By 2050, clean energy will have surpassed 70% of global primary energy consumption.

China and the EU are natural partners in fighting climate change and promoting the transition toward a greener and low-carbon world. Such cooperation has a global impact.

Last year, Chinese and EU leaders issued a joint statement on climate change and clean energy. The two sides are working closely in such fields as wind, geothermal and solar power. Chinese companies are investing in wind and solar power stations in Europe, contributing to the rising share of renewables in its energy mix. Iceland is bringing geothermal heating to over 30 Chinese cities. Chinese and European companies are involved in three-party cooperation on new energy in Africa.

We must seize the momentum of energy transformation to enhance cooperation on new energy technology, renewable energy, supply of clean energy, while continuing our cooperation on nuclear power, electricity, oil and gas.

Based on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposal at the UN Sustainable Development Summit, China initiated the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) in 2016, with an aim to meet the global demand for electricity in a clean and green way. With over 700 members worldwide, the Organization has signed cooperation documents with several UN agencies, and launched the African Energy Interconnection Sustainable Development Alliance. We hope that more European partners could get actively involved in GEIDCO. We need to establish some signature projects, produce early harvest more quickly, and lead by example in global action on climate change.

Dear friends from the business community,

As Chinese Ambassador to the EU, it is my duty to join hands with you to work for a healthy and robust China-EU relationship. I believe that the energy platform could be another source of opportunities that bring us together. Good luck to you all and good luck to China-EU relations, and good luck to the world!

Thank you.

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