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Ambassador Zhang Ming's 2021 New Year Message

Dear friends, warm greetings from the Chinese Mission to the EU. As we are ringing out 2020 and ringing in 2021, I wish to express sincere gratitude to you all who have been closely following China’s diplomatic efforts and China-EU relations and to all who have been supporting the work of the Chinese Mission over the past year. Let me extend to you and your family my warmest New Year’s greetings.

This year, the outbreak of the COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on human society. Faced with the huge common challenge, China and the EU have opted for solidarity and cooperation. We are partners that reach out to each other in need and indeed. We never forget that the EU stepped up coordination among its member states and donated 56 tons of medical supplies to China. Later, China sent medical supplies and medical teams to European countries to help them fight the virus. The China-Europe express rail link has served as a “lifeline” providing logistic support for the COVID-19 response. The crates carrying medical supplies featured a quote from the ancient Roman philosopher Seneca, “We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden,” something resonating strongly with Chinese and European citizens. An 18-year-old girl called Aurora from Naples, Italy, expressed in her paintings strong solidarity with Chinese and European health workers.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU diplomatic ties. In the past year, we held the China-EU Summit and the China-Germany-EU Leaders’ Meeting, charting a strategic course for the sound growth of China-EU relations. The two sides launched the China-EU High-Level Dialogue on Environment and Climate, and the China-EU High-Level Digital Dialogue, with a view to strengthening cooperation in such areas as circular economy, emissions reduction, biodiversity, artificial intelligence and digital economy. We are working to foster partnerships for green and digital cooperation, lending fresh impetus and adding new dimensions to China-EU relations. Despite the decline in global trade, China-EU trade has been growing against all odds. China has for the first time become the EU’s largest trading partner. We signed the Geographical Indications Agreement. Hundreds of quality agricultural products, such as Xixia mushrooms, Pixian bean paste, Bavarian beer and Parma ham, could be better protected in the markets of both sides, tantalizing the taste buds of our consumers. China and the EU have achieved the objective of concluding the investment agreement negotiation by the end of this year. With a balanced, high-level and mutually beneficial investment agreement, China and the EU, as two major markets, will make a major contribution to building an open world economy.

In a world of profound changes, China and the EU keep firmly to the direction of multilateralism. We support the WHO’s leading role in the global response to COVID-19. We have joined the COVAX, aiming to maximize vaccine accessibility and affordability. We jointly safeguard the Iran nuclear deal, push for political settlement of regional and international hotspot issues, and strengthen trilateral cooperation with Africa, contributing to a more sustainable and safer world.

Next year, China will kick off its 14th Five-Year Plan period and the EU will turn into action its massive recovery plan. This offers important opportunities for the development of China-EU relations. Cooperation would make both sides stronger, while isolation weaker. Hopefully, China and the EU will draw on the cooperative spirit as demonstrated 45 years ago when establishing diplomatic ties, and jointly promote recovery and usher in a warm spring. In the coming year, I hope I can count on your continued support for the Chinese Mission and for the growth of China-EU relations. Happy New Year!

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