The fourteenth EU-China Summit will be held in Beijing on February 14. On February 9, Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao received an exclusive interview of Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV and took questions on the summit, China-EU relations and the European sovereign debt issue.
On the fourteenth EU-China Summit, Song said that this mechanism has played an important strategic guiding role for China-EU relations since it was launched in 1998. Under current circumstances, the upcoming fourteenth summit will send out the positive signals that China and EU join hands to cope with challenges, deepen partnership, boost their own development and the strong and sustainable growth of world economy. Leaders of both sides will exchange in-depth views on the world economic situation and the European debt issue, discuss how to strengthen the bilateral economic ties based on their own development strategies, step up and deepen dialogue and cooperation in the fields of economy, trade and finance, jointly oppose trade and investment protectionism and further promote contacts between the people. In addition, they will also make in-depth discussions on major regional and international issues. He believes the summit will further strengthen the strategic and cooperative nature of China-EU relations.
With regard to China-EU relations, Song noted that EU is the most concentrated regional political and economic block of developed countries. China always views and develops relations with EU from a strategic and long-term perspective and believes a stable and growing EU is beneficial to world peace and prosperity. China and EU have different history and cultural traditions, different social systems and different economic and social development levels. It is normal for them to have some frictions and differences on the issue of economy and trade and on ideology. But as far as the mainstream of the bilateral relations is concerned, cooperation always outweighs frictions and consensus always outnumbers differences. China and EU have established an all-round cooperation and dialogue pattern in a wide range of areas and at multiple levels and become indispensable partner of each other in the course of development.
The international situation is complicated and fluctuating and both China and EU are in a crucial stage of development. To develop the bilateral relations not only serves the interest of China and EU but also will make significant contributions to world peace and prosperity. China is willing to enhance understanding and trust and step up dialogue and cooperation with EU in the spirit of mutual respect and treating each other as equals in order to boost the progress of China-EU all-round strategic partnership at a higher level.
Talking about the European debt issue, Song indicated that the issue is still watched closely by the international community and stands at a critical stage. Whether EU, as the largest economy in the world and China’s biggest trade partner, can handle the debt issue properly is important not only to its own economic development and fate but also to the recovery of world economy and the long-term economic and trade cooperation between China and EU. China supports the efforts of maintaining euro’s stability, has confidence in euro and backs up IMF and other major international financial institutions to play an important role in solving the issue. China is also considering getting more involved in solving the European debt issue through the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and willing to strengthen communications with EU and other related parties to seek effective solutions.