Chinese President Xi Jinping holds talks with visiting President of the European Council Charles Michel at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 1, 2022. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)
Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with visiting President of the European Council Charles Michel in Beijing on Thursday.
Xi said President Michel's visit to China after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) -- on behalf of all European Union member states -- demonstrates the good will of the EU toward the development of relations with China.
Noting that China and the EU are two major forces for world peace, two major markets for common development and two major civilizations for human progress, Xi said it is in the common interests of China, the EU and the international community to maintain the upward momentum of China-EU relations and pursue mutual benefits.
The more turbulent the international situation becomes and the more prominent the global challenges become, the greater the global significance of China-EU relations will be, he added.
Xi also mentioned Comrade Jiang Zemin, saying Jiang passed away on Wednesday in Shanghai due to illness after medical treatment had failed. During his tenure as China's state leader, Comrade Jiang attached great importance to the development of China-EU relations. He visited European countries many times, maintained close contact with leaders of the EU and European countries, promoted the establishment of the China-EU leaders' meeting mechanism, and promoted dialogue and cooperation between the two sides in various fields.
"We will carry on his legacy and continue to consolidate and develop China-EU relations," Xi said, adding that China will continue to view and develop its relations with the EU from a strategic and long-term perspective, and stands ready to strengthen strategic communication and coordination with the EU to ensure the steady growth of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership.
Xi expounded on the key outcomes of the 20th CPC National Congress and the five features of Chinese modernization. He stressed that at present amid accelerated changes in the world, the times and history, all countries are thinking about the road ahead. The 20th CPC National Congress has given China's answer: We will follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, apply a people-centered development philosophy, and remain committed to deepening reform and opening up; and we will remain firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace, keep to the foreign policy goals of upholding world peace and promoting common development, and stay committed to promoting the building of a human community with a shared future.
Noting that China's development marks a growing force for world peace, Xi said China will never seek hegemony or expansion, and that this is the solemn political commitment of the CPC and reflects the will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people.
"We have the confidence and ability to inject valuable certainty and stability into the international community through the stability of our system, governance, policies and development," he added.
Noting that the Chinese path to modernization and the European integration are choices that China and the EU have respectively made with an eye on the future, Xi said the two sides should have mutual understanding and mutual support for each other, and that China hopes that the EU will become an important partner in China's pursuit of the Chinese path to modernization and share the opportunities offered by China's market, institutional opening up and deepening international cooperation.
President Xi made the following four observations on the development of China-EU relations.
First, it is important to keep the right perception. There are no strategic differences or conflicts of fundamental significance between China and the EU. China does not seek dominance or hegemony. China has never exported and will never export its system. China supports the EU's strategic autonomy and supports a united and prosperous Europe. It is hoped that the EU institutions and member states will gain an objective and right perception of China, firmly pursue peaceful coexistence and mutual benefit in their China policies, rise above the Cold War mentality and ideological antagonism, transcend confrontation of systems, and reject a new Cold War of whatever forms.
Second, it is important to properly manage differences. China and Europe differ in history, culture, development level and ideology. It is only natural that the two sides have different views on some issues. They should maintain communication and coordination in a constructive way. It is essential to respect each other's major concerns and core interests, especially sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and refrain from interfering in each other's internal affairs, in order to jointly preserve the political foundation of China-EU relations. China stands ready for the China-EU Human Rights Dialogue conducted on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
Third, it is important to carry out cooperation at a higher level. Europe is an important partner and beneficiary of China's rapid development. China will continue to pursue high-level opening up and move faster in fostering a new development paradigm. China welcomes the EU's continued participation for win-win results. The two sides need to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, seek greater complementarity in market, capital and technology, and work together to nurture new growth drivers in digital economy, green development and environment protection, new energies, and artificial intelligence. Joint efforts are also needed to keep industrial and supply chains secure, stable and reliable; to reject practices of decoupling, severing supply chains, and protectionism; and to oppose attempts to politicize and weaponize exchanges in economy, trade, science and technology. While China will stay open to European businesses, it would like to call on the EU to stay free from disturbances and provide Chinese companies with a fair and transparent business environment.
Fourth, it is important to strengthen coordination and cooperation in international affairs. China and the EU, both advocates of upholding the international system with the United Nations at its core, can work together to follow true multilateralism, rise to challenges, and safeguard global peace and development. The two sides need to lead the global response to climate change and efforts for biodiversity protection, energy and food security, and public health, among others, and strengthen synergy and coordination of each other's quality public goods and cooperation platforms. China welcomes the EU's participation in Belt and Road cooperation and the Global Development Initiative for greater synergy with the EU's Global Gateway strategy. Efforts should be made through existing mechanisms to push for more fruitful outcomes in dialogue and cooperation in various fields.
President Michel congratulated President Xi on his reelection as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, and expressed on behalf of the EU deep condolences over Comrade Jiang Zemin's passing due to illness.
He noted that the international landscape and geopolitics are undergoing profound and complex changes, and the international community faces many challenges and crises.
Michel said China does not pursue expansion. It is an important partner for upholding the purposes of the UN Charter and supporting multilateralism. The EU values the opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting at the highest level with China shortly after the 20th CPC National Congress. The EU stands ready for an in-depth discussion with China on important issues concerning various respects of EU-China relations in the spirit of mutual respect and candor, in a bid to increase mutual understanding, promote dialogue and cooperation, and manage differences properly.
He said the EU pursues strategic autonomy and stays committed to building its own capacity and pressing ahead with European integration. The EU upholds the one-China policy and respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It will not interfere in China's internal affairs. The EU is ready to become a reliable and predictable cooperation partner for China.
It will work with China to ensure the success of upcoming high-level exchanges, reduce misunderstanding and miscalculation through direct dialogue and cooperation, and strengthen communication and coordination to better respond to energy crisis, climate change, public health and other global challenges, Michel said, adding that the EU will work with China to push forward the process toward an EU-China investment agreement, make supply chains more stable, strengthen mutual trust, and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas.
The two sides exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis. President Xi expounded on China's principled position and quoted an ancient Chinese saying, "When the city gate catches fire, the fish in the moat would suffer." A political settlement of the crisis best serves Europe's interests and the common interests of all countries in Eurasia.
Xi said under the current circumstances, it is important to prevent an escalation or expansion of the crisis, stay committed to promoting talks for peace, manage the spillovers of the crisis, and watch out for any risk of bloc confrontation. China supports the EU in stepping up mediation efforts and playing a leading role in building a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture in Europe. China will remain on the side of peace and continue to play a constructive role in its own way.
Wang Yi and He Lifeng were present at the talks.