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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Song Zhe at the Understanding China Policy Summit Organized by Friends of Europe and EUROCHAMBRES
Strengthen Trilateral Dialogue and Cooperation to Promote World Peace and Prosperity

Secretary General Merritt,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning!

I’m happy to join you in this Policy Summit. I believe that such a conference is an effective platform to increase understanding among China, Europe and the United States. It will also contribute to promote our trilateral cooperation.

China, Europe and the United States are three important powers in the world community today. We have among us extensive and in-depth cooperation under multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations and the G20. Our cooperation has made important contribution to world peace and development. In recent years, active exchanges in the “second track” and nongovernmental dialogues among China, Europe and the United States have played an important role to boost understanding and trust among the three. The Trialogue 21 jointly launched by the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) and the East-West Institute in 2006 is a good example of trilateral cooperation mechanism.

I find trilateral relations a very broad, comprehensive and complex subject. So what I will do in the next few minutes is to answer three most important questions in China-EU-US relations.

The first question is what is happening in our trilateral relations.

In recent years, there have been certain changes in China-EU, China-US, and EU-US relations. But in a general view, the three pairs of bilateral relations have maintained stability and exhibited constantly new vigor for growth.

China-EU relations have maintained stability and registered growth. This year, there have been high-level visits between China and many EU member states. The 13th China-EU Summit was successfully held in Brussels. President Barroso of the European Commission and President Buzek of the European Parliament visited China. We successfully held the first High Level Strategic Dialogue. Our comprehensive exchanges and cooperation continued to deepen. The yearly trade volume is expected to reach 500 billion US dollars. When the sovereign debt crisis broke out in Europe, China stood side by side with Europe and has provided goodwill assistance and firm support.

China-US relations have maintained sound development momentum. Exchanges and cooperation between China and the United States in business, energy, environment, people-to-people exchange, counter-terrorism, and law enforcement continued to deepen. The two sides have maintained communication and coordination on major international and regional issues. Chinese President Hu Jintao had a successful meeting with President Obama during the recently held G20 Seoul Summit. This was the seventh meeting between the two leaders in less than two years. With President Hu Jintao’s planned state visit to the US, the two countries are presented with new opportunities to further strengthen bilateral ties.

EU-US relations have recorded new progress. As traditional allies, Europe and the United States have maintained close cooperation on many major issues. And such cooperation between two parties are expected to further develop under the new international environment. The plan for the future transatlantic partnership made during the recent EU-US Summit in Lisbon is another solid step to guarantee the broad prospect for the EU-US relations.

The second question is what is special about trilateral cooperation in the new international environment.

First, stronger trilateral cooperation under the new circumstances is very necessary. It is commonly recognized by the international community that, in the world today, no single country or a single bloc of countries, regardless of its strength, is able to address the increasingly pronounced global challenges on its own. What has happened since the international financial crisis shows that China, Europe and the United States are fully capable of conducting effective cooperation to meet major global challenges. At the same time, our trilateral cooperation should be open and inclusive rather than being exclusive or up for the zero sum game. We should fully accommodate the interests of others, particularly that of medium and small sized countries in our cooperation.

Second, disputes and conflicts in our trilateral cooperation are nothing but natural. China is different from Europe and the United States in history, culture, social system, and development level. We three have different pursuit of interests on quite a number of issues. This is normal in international relations. It is incorrect to argue that these conflicts and disputes will substantially jeopardize our trilateral cooperation. It is also incorrect to wishfully think that any two parties or we three together could dominate the international affairs. With regard to the concept of China-US co-governance or G2, which has been around for a while, I would say that from China’s perspective, we see no basis to this argument as it runs counter to our standard and practice in foreign policy.

Third, we should have an objective assessment of the changes in our relative strength. There have been a lot of discourse and arguments about the current international balance of power since the financial crisis. Some say that the power center of the world is moving from the west to the east, or even more exact—to Asia. Some argue that Europe and the United States are declining in strength. I don’t agree. My interpretation for what is going on around the world is a decentralization process of power centers. As a natural result of a multipolar world and economic globalization, today’s international community is becoming more even in terms of balance of power.

The third question I want to address is what we should do to promote trilateral cooperation.

Our hope is that the trilateral cooperation will help maintain stability and growth in our trilateral relations and will serve as a role model in international cooperation. Here I wish to propose four Dos.

First, we should increase mutual trust to consolidate the basis of cooperation. Mutual trust is the basis for friendship and cooperation. It defines the way we view and handle our differences. In order to create a favorable environment and build a solid basis of trilateral cooperation, we should work constantly to promote dialogues and exchanges at all levels. We need to abandon the zero-sum mentality, increase mutual trust, reduce suspicion, and reject the traditional paradigm of power politics.

Second, we should steer the wheel of our cooperation from the strategic height. We should always view our cooperation in a long-term and overarching perspective. Strategic planning and guidance is essential for sustained progress. We need to do our best to ensure that our trilateral cooperation will serve the interest of three peoples, help address global challenges, and promote world peace and prosperity.

Third, we should deepen our cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefit and win-win progress. It is imperative that we continue to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, jointly oppose trade protectionism, and promote strong, sustainable, and balanced world economic growth. Our stronger cooperation in tackling with climate change, food security, public health, and natural disasters will also facilitate our contribution to a safer and more prosperous world.

Fourth, we should seek common ground and transcend our differences. Efforts should be made to prevent differences and disputes from adversely affecting our cooperation. We would appreciate objective understanding of each other’s difficulties and different development levels. The right to choose social system and development path should be respected. We should also respect the difference of our cultures, draw from each other’s best practice, and work to promote lasting progress of human civilization.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In China, we have a poem that says, no matter how many mountains there are, they can only to the best change the course of the river. But they can never hold back the river from running towards the sea for good. The irresistible trend of globalization and the grave global challenges we face make all countries highly interdependent and share a same destiny. Stronger trilateral cooperation among China, Europe and the US serves the interests of all three parties and the world at large. China is now at a key stage of development. As we make and implement the 12th Five-Year Plan, we are absolutely ready to contribute to a peaceful, stable and harmonious international environment for cooperation. As Europe and the United States go through post-crisis recovery and growth, closer cooperation with China is both conducive and essential. Looking ahead, I hope that by working together, we will further grow our relations, share development opportunities, jointly respond to global challenges, and make greater contribution to the noble cause of world peace and progress.

To conclude, I wish this conference a complete success!

Thank you.

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