Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a trilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, April 6, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)
Chinese President Xi Jinping held a trilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Beijing on Thursday.
Xi pointed out that China and the European Union (EU) share extensive common interests. Cooperation and common ground between the two sides outweigh competition and differences.
In a complex and volatile world, China and the EU should respect each other, promote political trust, strengthen dialogue and cooperation, uphold world peace and stability, promote common development and prosperity, and address global challenges together, Xi said.
Noting that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, Xi said China is prepared to work with the EU to set the right direction and tone for China-EU ties, fully resume exchanges at all levels and revitalize mutually-beneficial cooperation in various fields, thus injecting fresh impetus into China-EU relations and global peace, stability and prosperity.
Stressing the importance of enhancing the stability of China-EU ties, Xi said the China-EU relationship does not target any third party, nor should it be dependent on or dictated by any third party.
China has all along viewed the relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective and ensured stability and continuity in its EU policy, he said, adding that China hopes the EU will develop a more independent and objective perception of China and adopt a pragmatic and positive China policy.
Xi said the two sides should respect each other's core interests and major concerns, work through dialogue and consultation to build consensus and overcome differences. It is important to respect each other's development paths.
He said Chinese modernization and European integration are strategic choices China and the EU have made with the two sides' respective futures in mind. China and the EU should be each other's trustworthy and reliable cooperation partners on their paths to development.
The Chinese people take pride in choosing the right development path for themselves in light of China's national reality, Xi said, calling on the two sides to seek common ground while shelving differences, and learn to accommodate, appreciate, draw upon and facilitate each other's development.
Playing up the so-called "democracy vs authoritarianism" narrative and stoking a new Cold War will only bring division and confrontation to the world, Xi said, stressing the importance to maintain an open and trusting environment for cooperation.
China and the EU should keep their markets open to each other, provide a fair and nondiscriminatory environment for businesses from the other side, and avoid turning economic and trade matters into political or national security issues. The two sides should build stable and trustworthy supply chains, and synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Gateway strategy in support of sustained and stable economic growth in China and the EU, Xi said.
President Xi underlined that China champions true multilateralism and a global governance vision featuring extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit.
He said China is prepared to work with the EU to enhance coordination and cooperation in multilateral affairs, and uphold the international system centered on the United Nations (UN), the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
Xi said China and the EU need to jointly uphold global stability and prosperity, and stand against hegemonism, unilateralism and attempts to decouple economies or sever supply chains. The two sides need to step up macroeconomic and financial policy communication and coordination, deepen their green partnership, and increase dialogue and cooperation on green financing, environment-friendly technologies and clean energy.
China and the EU also need to help other developing countries, encourage multilateral institutions and private capital to contribute more to implementing the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, and explore cooperation in Africa and other regions involving three or more parties, Xi added.
For her part, von der Leyen noted that the EU respects China's history and culture. Frank and constructive dialogue with China and continuous development of EU-China relations are crucial for peace and stability in Europe.
The EU and China are each other's important trading partners and the two economies are highly intertwined, von der Leyen said, adding that decoupling from China is neither in the EU's interests nor the EU's strategic choice.
She said the EU sets its China policy independently. It would like to restart the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue and advance steady and balanced growth of economic and trade ties with China for mutual benefit.
The EU congratulates China for hosting a successful United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) and commends China's efforts to cut carbon emissions. The EU stands ready to enhance communication and coordination with China to jointly meet global challenges and contribute to peace, stability and development in the world, von der Leyen said.
Macron noted that in a world full of uncertainties, the EU and China need to enhance dialogue and exchange with mutual respect, openness and humility. The two sides should work with each other to stay away from the trap of economic decoupling and severing supply chains, carry out mutually-beneficial cooperation on an equal footing, tackle pressing global challenges such as climate change, and keep deepening the EU-China comprehensive strategic partnership.
The three leaders exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis. Von der Leyen and Macron shared the European perspective. They agreed that China did not create the Ukraine crisis, and said that they appreciate China's efforts to promote a political settlement and look forward to China playing a more important role. They also said that they are prepared to work with China to find a way to facilitate talks for peace.
Xi stressed that China independently decides its position based on the merits of issues. China's position on Ukraine boils down to supporting talks for peace. China calls on the parties to be calm and rational and jointly create conditions for peace talks.
Xi said the pressing priority is to bring about a ceasefire and oppose actions that further inflame or complicate the situation. The Ukraine crisis is not an issue between China and the EU. China will continue to play a positive role in facilitating peace talks.
China supports EU efforts to propose approaches and plans for a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, and to build a balanced, effective and sustainable European security framework, which serves the fundamental and long-term interests of the EU, Xi said.
Wang Yi and Qin Gang, among others, participated in the meeting.
In a separate meeting with von der Leyen after the trilateral meeting, Xi said China has always regarded the EU as a strategic force in the international landscape, and the development of China-EU relations has always been a priority in China's diplomacy.
Xi said China is willing to continue the good tradition with the European side, maintain close communication, enhance strategic mutual trust, focus on mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation, jointly overcome interference and challenges, and achieve a high-level operation of China-EU relations.
He said the sound development of China-EU relations cannot be separated from independence, mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation. China firmly adheres to the independent foreign policy of peace and respects the rights of people of all countries to choose their own development path.
China and the EU should face up to differences, control differences and respect each other, Xi said, adding that it is hoped that the European Commission will focus on the fundamental and long-term interests of the EU, proceed from the overall situation of China-EU relations, and play an active role in the healthy and stable development of China-EU ties.
On the Taiwan question, Xi emphasized that it is the core of China's core interests. The Chinese government and the people will never allow anyone to make a fuss about the one-China principle. Anyone who expects China to compromise on the Taiwan question could only be wishful thinking and self-defeating, Xi added.
Von der Leyen reiterated that the EU has no intention to change its long-standing one-China policy, recognizes the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government representing the whole of China and hopes that the Taiwan Strait will maintain peace and stability.