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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Song Zhe at the College of Europe in Brugge
Work for Coordinated and In-depth Development of Relations among China, EU and the United States
2011/04/22

Respected Rector Demaret,

Honorable Managing Director Isticioaia,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It's a pleasure to visit this beautiful city at such beautiful spring season. And it's more enchanting to get together with both old and new friends.

Today, as we speak of the relations between China, EU and the United States, I recall the last time when I was here two years ago. Back then, the financial crisis brought the global economy to the lowest point. But the three parties, by working together and with the rest of the international community, have emerged strongly. I also recall just last month, when the Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Fu Ying attended the Brussels Forum, she had a candid and in-depth exchange with the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and the US Under Secretary of State Robert D Hormats on commonly interested regional and international issues.

I'm mentioning these events because they reflected how we face with this multipolar and economically globalised world, which is undergoing profound development, reform and adjustment. Given our strategic locations and resource endowment, each of the three has an important role to play in the international affairs. And everyone will agree that coordination and cooperation among the three are absolutely essential to ensure world peace and prosperity.

I'm confident that in the second decade of the 21st century, relations between China, EU and US will continue to thrive in a fast changing world, because of three unchanging factors. First, despite emerging global challenges, peace and stability will remain the general trend of the world, which will underpin our respective development. Second, despite lingering uncertainties and instability, the world economy will continue to recuperate and recover, which will bring us new opportunities for growth. Third, despite disputes and conflicts, cooperation will continue to be the number one choice in our economic relationship, which will benefit our long-term development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The relationship of the three is actually a trilogy of three bilateral relationships. So it's quite encouraging to note the steady progress in China-EU and China-US relations over the past several years. Now, I wish to give you some brief update on China's bilateral ties with the EU and the US.

Year 2011 is marked with a number of major events between China and Europe. We have held several high-level visits, expanded business cooperation, and deepened people-to-people exchange. Soon, we will hold the second High-Level Strategic Dialogue, and for the remainder of the year, the fourth HED and the 14th China-EU Summit. China's 12th Five-Year Plan and Europe's 2020 Strategy give us new fields for cooperation. What's happening suggest that we can very well outperform ourselves this year and lift China-EU ties to a new height.

On the front of China-US relations, the momentum is sound as well. During the state visit of the Chinese President Hu Jintao to the United States in January, the two presidents have mapped out priorities of China-US relations and identified key areas of cooperation. The two sides agreed in the Joint Statement to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. In addition to that, China and the United States have maintained close dialogue and coordination on major international and regional issues, and cooperation between the two countries is unfolding impressively across business, energy, environment, culture, law enforcement, and counter-terrorism.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Through our efforts to consolidate bilateral ties, we've laid down a solid basis for trilateral relations. The road ahead is promising but certainly not trouble free. There are differences that we need to work through, and there are also concerns of unbalanced progress in our bilateral ties that we need to avoid. Now I wish to discuss some key elements to ensure that our partnership will be conducive to world peace and stability.

The first element is vision. We should adopt a long-term and overarching perspective to appreciate the strategic, historical, and global significance of our relations. We should work to ensure that our cooperation will serve the interest of the people, help us address global challenges, and be conducive to world peace and prosperity. We should keep the correct course of cooperation to make constant headways in our relationship. In particular, I wish to stress that when looking at China's development changes, one need to dispose of static, narrow-minded and biased views. China's development will bring benefit to Europe, United States, and beyond. And a stronger China will contribute to more balanced and democratic international politics. Only by recognizing this point, can one develop an objective and fair perception of China and view its progress with an open and friendly mind.

The second element is inclusiveness. China, Europe and the United States are all major players in world affairs. But we are not a "member only" club. We don't come together to rival against or challenge anyone. We join hands because that works best for everyone's interest globally. That's why in our cooperation, we should always give our ears to other countries, developed ones, developing ones, and newly emerged economies. We should also fully accommodate interest and concerns of other countries, particularly the small and medium sized countries. Only by doing so could we keep the right direction of our cooperation and ensure that cooperation among we three will benefit the whole international community.

The third is trust. There is no cooperation without trust. Trust is key to fair view and handling of our differences, and that is more true multilaterally than bilaterally. Only by strengthening mutual trust, reducing suspicion, and abandoning zero-sum mentality, can we build a solid basis and create a favorable environment for our cooperation.

The fourth is tolerance. Compared with Europe and the United States, China is hugely a different type, not only in history, culture, and social systems, but more importantly, in development levels. As a result, in many cases, China holds quite different views with western countries, and sometimes these differences will even rise to the level of disputes. I think this is a normal phenomenon. What we need to do is to properly handle our differences and disputes so as to avoid the disruption in our overall cooperation.

Fifth, unity. With all sorts of challenges unraveling across the world, it's hard to imagine how any country or even a block of countries could well-manage on its own. Economic globalization has already made macro-economic policy coordination an absolute must. And climate change, food security, public healthcare, and international crisis all require collective efforts to achieve effective results.

The last key word, win-win. Relationship among us three shouldn't be about winning or losing, or about prospering or declining. It should be something that will help us achieve common progress through cooperation. We should commit ourselves to make a larger cake of shared interest, create more opportunities for other countries, and reject beggar thy neighbor policies or harming others to one's own advantage. We should treat each other as equals and refrain from unilaterally strengthening ties with one party to weaken the other.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The new developments, opportunities and challenges we face make it paramount that we stay on the right track of historical progress. The world is undergoing profound reform and adjustment. In the face of grave global challenges, we, as major regional and global powers, are increasingly sharing a same destiny. Deeper trust, closer communication, and stronger cooperation among we three will enable us to meet challenges more effectively, serving both our respective interests and the shared interests of the whole world. I'm fully confident that by strengthening cooperation, we can better share development opportunities, address various challenges, promote sustained growth in our relationship, and together build a more secure and prosperous world.

To conclude, I wish the conference a complete success!

Thank you.

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