|The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds a Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media on Premier Wen Jiabao's Attendance of the 15th China-EU Summit and Visit to Belgium|
On September 17, 2012, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Song Tao, Vice Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao and Vice Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan respectively introduced the background, main activities and major significance of Premier Wen Jiabao's attendance of the 15th China-EU Summit and visit to Belgium. They also answered questions from Chinese and foreign reporters. Tian Qi, Deputy Director General of the Information Department chaired the briefing.
I. The 15th China-EU Summit
Song Tao said that it will be the tenth time for Premier Wen to attend the summit. Premier Wen's attendance is of great significance to the development of China-EU relations, which achieved a visible success in the past decade. The two sides formed an all-round cooperation pattern featuring multi-tiered dialogue and cooperation. Mutually-beneficial and win-win cooperation has become an important feature of China-EU relations. First, political mutual trust increased. China and the EU established an all-round strategic partnership and maintained close high-level exchanges and strategic communication. The two sides put in place a cooperation framework led by the annual summit and supported by the three pillars: high-level economic and trade dialogue, high-level strategic dialogue and high-level people-to-people dialogue. Second, pragmatic cooperation was productive. The EU has become China's largest trading partner for eight consecutive years while China is the second largest trading partner and the largest source of imports of the EU. In 2011, China-EU trade volume reached $ 567.2 billion, more than 200 times the size of trade volume when the two sides established diplomatic relations. Third, areas of cooperation continued to expand. In addition to the economic and trade cooperation, the two sides also established corresponding cooperation mechanisms in science, education, cultural and people-to-people contacts, urbanization, energy and other fields. The two sides cooperated in over 60 areas. Fourth, China's bilateral cooperation with the EU member states grew extensively and intensively. Not long before, the China-Germany intergovernmental consultation and the Inaugural Conference of China-CEE (Central and Eastern European Countries) Cooperation Secretariat and the First National Coordinators' Meeting were successfully held in Beijing.
While introducing the background of this summit, Song Tao pointed out: first, the international situation is undergoing complex and profound changes. At present, the international community is increasingly interdependent on each other and there are more and more converging interests. Peace, development and cooperation remain the mainstream of the times. At the same time, global demand is still insufficient, growth in the major economies is still weak, and unstable and uncertain factors in the international situation are still prominent. The international community, including China and the European Union, needs to help each other more than ever to face challenges; second, China and the EU are major economies in the world and important forces in the international arena. Both sides are at an important stage of development. China will soon hold the 18th CPC Congress and the "12th Five-Year Plan" has entered the stage of full implementation. Economic restructuring will speed up and China will open further. The EU is concentrating on addressing the debt problem, is actively seeking new growth points, and will put more emphasis on international cooperation. China-EU cooperation will not only benefit their own development, but also affect the development of the global economy; third, the development of China-EU relations is at an important period faced with unprecedented opportunities and challenges. China-EU relations have maintained good momentum of growth. The global influence and strategic significance of China-EU relations have become increasingly evident and such relations will continue to benefit the people of China, Europe and the world. There is a greater need for the two sides to deepen cooperation. At the same time, the negative impact of the European debt crisis on China-EU economic and trade cooperation kept emerging. How to further advance the cooperation is a challenge to both sides.
Song said that China hopes to achieve three goals through the summit. First, the two sides should continue the strategic mutual trust, send positive signals to the outside world, and set the direction for the development of China-EU relations. Second, the two sides should promote mutually-beneficial cooperation, make overall planning for China-EU cooperation in various fields from a long-term and strategic perspective, inject vitalities into China-EU relations, and achieve an early recovery of the world economy. Third, the two sides should properly handle differences, boost cooperation confidence, and promote the healthy development of China-EU relations.
Song Tao said that the basic activities of Premier Wen have been identified. Premier Wen will hold the fifteenth China-EU Summit with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and attend the welcoming banquet hosted by the EU side and the eighth China-EU Business Summit. The two sides will sign a number of documents regarding the cooperation in the fields of science & technology, antitrust, low-carbon and sustainable development.
Zhu Guangyao said that the fifteenth EU-China Summit is of great significance to enhancing China-EU financial cooperation as well as to the future development of China-EU relations. At present, the global economy is facing severe challenges. Therefore, it is more important and urgent than ever before for major economies to strengthen cooperation. The financial agencies of China and the EU maintained very close communications on the macroeconomic situation, fiscal and monetary policies as well as pragmatic fiscal and financial cooperation. The two sides cooperated well within the framework of the Group of Twenty (G20). The two sides support the G20 to play a bigger role as the main platform for global economic governance. China appreciates the EU for timely informing China of the update of the European debt crisis and the measures taken by the European Union and the euro zone. China hopes that the euro zone and the European Union could push the Member States to deepen economic structural reforms, strengthen fiscal consolidation, and push forward the integration process of the euro zone, which should include banking union, fiscal union, economic union and political union. China believes that Europe has the wisdom and the ability to overcome the negative impact of the current sovereign debt crisis and contribute to financial market stability and economic recovery. China expects that the fifteenth China-EU Summit could promote the all-round economic cooperation between the two sides, strengthen the policy coordination in the fields of responding to the debt crisis and global economic governance reform, and contribute to the establishment of a fair, just, inclusive and orderly new international economic order and the strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the global economy.
Zhong Shan said that the economic and trade cooperation has been an important part of the China-EU Summit. At the summit, the two sides will review the development of China-EU relations in the past decade or so, especially the development of economic and trade relations, summarize successful cooperation experiences, and make long-term planning for the pragmatic cooperation so as to achieve more comprehensive, in-depth and balanced development of trade and economic relations. Affected by the debt crisis in Europe, China and the EU are facing some difficulties in economic and trade cooperation. The bilateral trade situation is particularly worrying. The China-EU Summit will set the direction for the development of mutually-beneficial and win-win economic and trade relations. China is willing to make concerted efforts with the EU to oppose trade protectionism, create new trade and investment opportunities, and achieve the steady and healthy development of China-EU economic and trade relations.
II. Premier Wen's Visit to Belgium
Song Tao said that Belgium is an important partner of China within the EU. In recent years, China-Belgium relations have shown good momentum of development. Last year, the two countries held grand celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium led a huge business delegation of nearly 500 people to visit China. This year, the two countries also maintained close high-level exchanges. Vice Premier Li Keqiang and State Councilor Liu Yandong visited Belgium. Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, visited China. The exchange of visits injected new impetus to the development of China-Belgium relations. Pragmatic cooperation between the two countries continued to make new progress. Belgium is China's sixth largest trading partner within the EU. The trade volume between China and Belgium amounted to $29.1 billion in 2011, representing a year-on-year growth of 31.5%. China and Belgium carried out groundbreaking cooperation in the field of science & technology and finance. Belgium is among the first group of western countries transferring high-tech to China. China-Belgium Direct Equity Investment Fund, as the first Chinese-foreign investment fund, is running well in China since its creation.