This year coincides with the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the EU. Faced with the Covid challenge, both have injected more stability and positive energy into a world that is undergoing unprecedented change.
This year coincides with the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the European Union. Faced with the challenge of Covid-19, China and the EU – two major strategic forces, two huge markets and two great civilizations – have injected more stability and positive energy into a world that is undergoing unprecedented change.
On September 14, President Xi Jinping met virtually with the Chancellor of Germany and President pro tempore of the EU, Angela Merkel, with the President of the European Council Charles Michel and with the President of the European Commission Úrsula von der Leyen, to plan the next steps of China-EU relations, giving a positive signal of the will to overcome difficulties together.
At the most difficult moment of the Chinese response to this health scourge, various European countries provided us with health supplies obtained through donations and solidarity events. For its part, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, China sent large medical supplies together with numerous specialists, who shared their experiences without reservation. Our reciprocal assistance in the fight against Covid-19 revealed the meaning and validity of the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Association, thus corroborating that no country can save itself against this pandemic.
In this way, China and the EU, which are at the forefront of research and development of vaccines, are in favor of turning this indispensable input against the pandemic into global public products of universal accessibility, addressing the concerns of developing countries about affordability. Mutual benefits and shared gains are the foundation of bilateral, regional and global relationships.
Despite anti-globalization currents, China and the EU persevere in cooperation against protectionism. Since the coronavirus outbreak, freight train traffic between China and the EU has risen. The Greek port of Piraeus, operated by the Chinese firm COSCO, is playing an important role in the rail and sea transport linking Asia and Europe, with intense activity.
In the aforementioned videoconference, both parties signed the China-EU Geographical Indications Agreement and confirmed the acceleration of the negotiations on the Investment Agreement, with the purpose of promoting the post-pandemic global economic recovery and to promote an open environment for trade and investment. Both parties also decided to establish High-Level Dialogues on environment, climate and digital issues, to forge partnerships for ecological and digital cooperation.
Peace and development are the common threads of this age. In view of the differences in their political systems, their history, their culture and their development models, the countries follow their own paths according to their own national realities, to coexist in a harmonious way without being totally equal. Being equally victims of arrogance and unilateralism, both parties share their interest in defense of multilateralism and of a multipolar international order.
In recent years, China and the EU have strengthened their collaboration to address challenges such as the evolution of consultations on Iran’s nuclear program and the US withdrawal from the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, among other hot international issues. Human history unfolds overcoming the ups and downs and today the countries of all latitudes are in the dilemma between opening or closing, unity or division, cooperation or confrontation. China and the EU resolved to face this crossroads together, injecting certainty into uncertainty, contributing to global growth and security.
* Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Argentina