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Ambassador Zhang Ming: the systemic rival is not in China, but in the EU's heart

On 19 December 2019, Ambassador Zhang Ming, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, gave an exclusive interview to the Financial Times. He answered a question on if he sees the EU’s China policy getting more towards the competition and rivalry side.

Ambassador Zhang said, “In the communication published last March, the EU gave China three titles. For the cooperation partners, there's no doubt that we have been comprehensive strategic partners for 16 years. And for the competitor, in a market economy, it is natural for cooperation partners to have competition among them. But I would say that such competition is constructive. I'd call it cooperative competition. The third title is systemic rival. We are caught by surprise. In the 45 years of diplomatic ties, we have never seen each other as rivals. To find a rival out of nowhere is not in the interest of the EU itself. It's not a positive thing to global peace and development. So actually the rival is not in China, but in the EU’s heart.”

Ambassador Zhang pointed out, “In the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China indeed has made remarkable progress in its development. We have lifted 800 million people out of poverty. But still we are facing the challenges of uneven, unbalanced and insufficient development. Our vision is to make hard efforts for the coming decades to raise the living standards of Chinese people to what the current European living standards are. It's not an easy task to turn this vision into reality for the 1.4 billion Chinese people. To make it happen, we need enduring peace globally. We also need an open environment for global cooperation. We have a lot of things to do on our hand. So we do not have the willingness or resources to be anyone’s rival. We don’t want to be seen as a rival by anyone as well. In our heart, we don’t have a rival.”

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