Dialogue vital in ties with EU, says Xi

By CAO DESHENG | CHINA DAILY
Updated: Oct 16, 2021

President has phone talks with head of European Council, Singaporean PM

President Xi Jinping has called for the European Union to uphold strategic autonomy and work along with China to resolve their differences through dialogue in order to push forward their ties.

Xi made the remark on Friday in a telephone conversation with President of the European Council Charles Michel.

Xi said that with this year's new development of the international situation, China-EU relations have been confronted with new challenges.

As two independent forces and comprehensive strategic partners, it is necessary for China and the EU to strengthen strategic communication and jointly push for the healthy and stable development of their ties, Xi said, adding that this conforms with their shared interests.

He urged both sides to properly view and understand each other, and adhere to dialogue, cooperation, mutual respect and mutual benefit for win-win results.

While acknowledging that competition, differences and disparities remain between China and the EU due to their different cultures, social systems and stages of development, Xi said both sides should resort to negotiations for solutions.

China is committed to developing its ties with the EU, Xi stressed, and in the meantime, it will also firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.

He expressed his hope that the EU would uphold strategic autonomy, tell right from wrong, and work with China to advance their cooperation.

Both sides should bolster their policy communication in the sectors of green and digital development, expand areas of pragmatic cooperation, and actively strengthen synergies between the Belt and Road Initiative and the EU's global connectivity strategy, Xi said.

They should also increase communication and cooperation on climate change and biodiversity protection, he added.

Xi said that China welcomes the active participation of the EU and its members in its Global Development Initiative and will work with it and other countries to help more developing countries meet the goals of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Michel told Xi that the recent evolution of the international landscape has forced the EU and its members to be aware of the greater importance of improving strategic autonomy.

Despite different political systems and development modes, Michel said that both the EU and China uphold multilateralism and they need to develop cooperation on COVID-19 response, economic recovery, dealing with climate change and upholding regional peace and stability.

The EU stands ready to increase dialogue and engagement with China in the spirit of mutual respect to effectively manage their differences, he added.

Michel reiterated the EU's commitment to the one-China policy, and said the regional body will stick to strategic autonomy in handling international affairs, and it is willing to develop closer communication and coordination with China on major international issues.

Both leaders also exchanged their views on the Afghanistan situation. Xi said that China has been playing a positive role in the political settlement of the Afghan issue. He urged the international community to create a sound external environment for Afghanistan's peaceful reconstruction.

Also on Friday, Xi spoke on the phone with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Xi hailed the sound development of bilateral ties, saying they have shown strong vitality and resilience amid the joint fight against the pandemic.

China is willing to maintain high-level exchanges and strategic communication with Singapore, strengthen joint COVID-19 response, deepen bilateral vaccine and medical research cooperation and develop partnership in the areas of the digital economy and green and sustainable development, he said.

Xi underlined the need for the two countries to intensify multilateral cooperation to jointly build a community of global development, push for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to take effect as scheduled and advance the building of an even closer China-ASEAN community of cooperation. The RCEP is a free-trade agreement among 15 Asia-Pacific nations.

While hailing bilateral cooperation in various fields, Lee said Singapore wants to advance ASEAN-China ties to deliver more benefits to people in the region.

Singapore welcomes and supports China applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Lee said, adding that China's participation will contribute to regional development and prosperity.

The CPTPP is another trade agreement involving Canada and 10 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.