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Ambassador Zhang Ming Talks about the Outcomes of the Fifth Edition of the China-EU High-level People-to-People Dialogue

On 12 November, 2020, Ambassador Zhang Ming, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, gave an exclusive interview to Mr. Stephen Cole, the senior TV anchorman for the Agenda with China Global Television Network (CGTN). Ambassador Zhang Ming answered questions about the outcomes and significance of the Fifth Edition of the China-EU High-level People-to-People Dialogue.

Ambassador Zhang Ming said, two days ago, the fifth China-EU High-level People-to-People Dialogue was held via video link, co-chaired by Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan and EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. The two sides issued a joint press statement after the dialogue, and announced that the next dialogue will be held in China in 2022.

The dialogue set out the priorities for future cooperation, such as increasing the resilience of education, promoting researcher mobility, cultural heritage protection, sports and cultural exchanges, youth exchanges, and gender equality.Student exchanges are on the rise. In 2019, 185,000 Chinese students studied in the EU member states. 42,000 EU students studied in China. The two sides published the guidelines on credit transfer and mutual recognition between Chinese and EU higher education institutions, which I believe, will facilitate youth exchanges.

Ambassador Zhang Ming pointed out that People-to-people exchange is one of the three pillars of China-EU relations, together with strategic dialogue and economic and trade dialogue. In the past 45 years since China and the EU established diplomatic ties, cultural exchanges have been vibrant. We have a deeper understanding of each other’s civilization and history.

HPPD was established in 2012. Initially, it covered five areas, namely education, science, culture, youth and media. Later, women and sports were included. There are some well-known programs, like the higher education cooperation platform, EU officials’ workshop in China, Culture City of East Asia, and European Capital of Culture.

To promote people-to-people exchange, we take both a top-down approach, like the HPPD, and a bottom-up approach, like the higher education credit transfer program. It means our cooperation has gained leaders’ commitment and public support. This is valuable, especially in this uncertain world. I will continue to work with my EU colleagues to bring our peoples closer. This will make our relations more resilient and dynamic.

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