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Cooperation Across Civilizations

May 26, 2009
May 25, 2009

CHINA-EUROPE AFFAIR -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
(second right) poses with Czech President Vaclav
Klaus (second left), European Commission
President José Manuel Barroso (right) and Javier
Solana (left), Secretary General of the Council
of the European Union and High Representative for
the Common Foreign and Security Policy, before
the China-EU summit in Prague on May 20 HUANG JINGWEN

At their latest summit on May 20, Chinese Premier
Wen Jiabao and European leaders reached new
consensus on advancing bilateral relations,
including sending another Chinese buying mission
to Europe and holding the next summit in Beijing
in the second half of this year.

Wen attended the 11th China-European Union (EU)
summit in Prague, the capital of the Czech
Republic, with Czech President Vaclav Klaus and
European Commission President José Manuel
Barroso. The Czech Republic now holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

The development of China-EU relations embodies
the mutually beneficial cooperation between the
biggest developing country and the biggest bloc
of developed countries and the friendly exchanges
between the two major ancient civilizations, Wen
said, according to a news release from China's Foreign Ministry.

The China-EU summit, as a frank dialogue between
countries with different social systems, benefits
the Chinese and European people and the entire
international community, he added.

In the face of the complex and volatile
international political and economic situations,
China and the EU should uphold their strategic
partnership, focus on practical cooperation, keep
up with the times, bolster confidence and make
joint efforts to promote the all-round, in-depth
and sustainable development of bilateral relations, he said.

China and the EU announced they would establish a
comprehensive strategic partnership in 2003 after
the sixth China-EU summit in Beijing. The EU is
China's biggest trade partner, with two-way trade
totaling $425.6 billion last year. The average
annual growth of the EU's exports to China has
exceeded 20 percent in the past five years,
making China one of the EU's most important export markets.

Wen urged both sides to give full play to the
role of the China-EU summit as well as other
consultation mechanisms such as the high-level
economic and trade dialogue. He also called for
an early conclusion of the China-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

China and the EU began substantial negotiations
on their Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in
January 2007. The agreement will replace a 1985
trade and economic pact to serve as a new framework for China-EU relations.

The principles of mutual respect and
non-interference in each other's internal affairs
are of great importance to China-EU strategic
cooperation, Wen said, adding that the two sides
should take into consideration each other's core
concerns and properly handle sensitive issues.
Wen expressed the hope that the EU would
recognize China's market economy status and lift
its arms embargo against China as soon as possible.

Since they share common interests in coping with
the international financial crisis, China and the
EU should work together and contribute to the
early recovery of the world economy, he said.

The two sides agreed to oppose trade and
investment protectionism, increase mutual
investment and enhance cooperation in the
development of small and medium-sized
enterprises, trade facilitation, science and
technology, transportation and postal services.
They also agreed to strengthen dialogue on
macro-economic policy and finance and jointly
promote the reform of the global financial system.

The Chinese side promised to send another buying
mission to Europe soon. It also hoped the EU
would relax its export restrictions on hi-tech
products to China to create new areas of trade
growth. The buying mission in February following
Wen's last visit to Europe concluded some $13
billion in purchase agreements in Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Britain.

With regard to climate change, Wen said for all
the impact of the financial crisis, the
international community should not waver in its
determination or slacken its efforts to address climate change.

Under the principle of "common but differentiated
responsibilities," China is willing to work with
the EU to help bring about positive achievements
at the UN climate change conference to be held in
Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, he said.


The 11th China-EU summit, originally scheduled
for December last year, was postponed after
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country
at that time held the rotating EU presidency, met with the Dalai Lama.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Switzerland,
Germany, Spain, Britain and the EU headquarters
in Brussels from January 27 to February 2. At a
meeting in Brussels, Wen and European Commission
President José Manuel Barroso decided to hold a
high-level forum on the economy and trade and a China-EU summit in 2009.

Chinese President Hu Jintao met Sarkozy in London
on April 1 on the sidelines of the G20 summit,
immediately after France reiterated that it
adheres to the one-China policy, recognizes that
Tibet is an integral part of Chinese territory
and refuses to support any form of "Tibet
independence" in a joint press communiqué between China and France.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan co-chaired the
China-EU High-Level  Economic and Trade Dialogue
with EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton in Brussels on May 7-8.
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