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Premier Li in Brussels to consolidate trade ties


Source: Global Times    Published: 2018-10-17

As victims of US unilateralism, both China and the EU must continue to expand areas of cooperation, Chinese experts said, reiterating a message delivered by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday during his visit to Europe to consolidate mutually beneficial trade ties.

Li arrived in Belgium on Tuesday night for a working visit and he is also scheduled to attend the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit held in the country's capital Brussels which begins Thursday. This is the Chinese premier's third visit to Belgium in the last four years, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Peace, development, opening-up and cooperation remain the mainstream of the times regardless of the complicated changes, challenges and uncertainties facing the world, Li said upon his arrival, Xinhua reported. Li suggested that Asia and Europe, as two of the major economic blocks and stabilizing forces in the world, should enhance dialogue and cooperation, safeguard world peace, and pursue development.

Analysts said that the challenges created by US unilateralism cannot be overcome by China or the EU alone.

"They need to cooperate to stabilize the world order," Feng Zhongping, director of European Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

Li also called on the two sides to cement political mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation, and work to bring the China-Belgium all-round partnership of friendship and cooperation to a new level in line with the principles of mutual respect, equal treatment and mutual benefits.

At the ASEM summit, Li is scheduled to hold in-depth talks with Asian and European leaders on jointly safeguarding multilateralism, building an open world economy and facilitating connectivity, said Xinhua.

Launched in 1996, the ASEM summit has served as a venue for dialogue between Asian and European countries. This year's summit, themed "Europe and Asia: Global Partners and Global Challenges," is expected to bring together leaders and representatives of international organizations from more than 50 Asian and European countries and regions, Xinhua reported.

"Divide and conquer"

However, while China and the EU are united and working together to safeguard world order, some Western media commentaries are attempting to sow suspicion of China's motives.

In an editorial on October 4, The Economist said that "China is using its financial muscle to buy political influence." US media outlet Politico released an article titled "Europe, don't let China divide and conquer" in April this year.

EU members are very clear that multilateralism is the foundation on which the EU has developed and that hard-line trade tactics by the US pose a very serious challenge to the EU's roots, Feng said.

China and the EU share common goals on many issues, such as safeguarding climate change, free trade, the Iranian nuclear deals, and preventing "America First" from dominating reform of the WTO, Wang Yiwei, director of Renmin University of China's Institute of International Affairs in Beijing, told the Global Times.

"None of them [EU countries] can deal with the US' challenge on any of these issues," said Wang.

Echoing Wang, Feng said "China and the EU need each other and this is driven by common interests."

There is no need for the EU to panic over China's outreach efforts, which have always been open and transparent, said Feng.

Wang Yiwei is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words:China   EU   Cooperation   Wang Yiwei  

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