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Commentary: China is an opportunity for Europe, not a threat

Editor: Wang Lingxiao 丨Xinhua

02-02-2017 11:19 BJT

BRUSSELS, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- A senior EU politician said recently that China represents an external threat to Europe, an accusation which is groundless as well as outrageous.

As a matter of fact, China's development provides an enormous opportunity for Europe and both sides benefit from strong and stable bilateral ties.

The European Union is China's biggest trading partner, and China is the EU's second biggest, following a dramatic increase in trade in recent years.

Data from Chinese customs show that bilateral trade reached 2.94 trillion yuan (423.34 billion U.S. dollars) in the first 10 months of 2016, reaching a new high, and overcoming the global trade downturn.

China's rapid economic growth has served as an opportunity for the European Union's own growth. With a fragile economy, the rising threat of protectionism and uncertainty in relations with other major world powers, Europe can benefit significantly from strong trade relations with China.

China and Europe should also work closer together in global governance issues, with climate change as a primary example. China and the EU played key roles as brokers of the COP21 Climate Agreement in Paris, and were urged to work even more closely for COP22 in Marrakech.

With the Paris Agreement having entered into force, China and the EU will need to trust each other more than ever to help ensure that these critical measures are being implemented fully and correctly.

Global security is also a core principle of China-EU relations, with Chinese President Xi Jinping calling for a community of shared future, and China showing its commitment to this vision through its involvement in the Iran nuclear talks, mediation for national reconciliation in South Sudan, and the facilitation of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, among others.

In all global issues, China is a partner to the European Union, a sign of the friendship and mutual trust built over the 42 years since diplomatic relations were formally established in 1975. Strong bilateral ties need these twin guarantees to ensure that different political systems and different cultures can still find common ground.

International relations are not a zero-sum game, as China has repeatedly shown in its partnerships with Europe. Through strong bilateral ties, China seeks a relationship with the European Union that promotes win-win development and mutually benefiting cooperation.

Senior European politicians should be cautious about the statements they make, and safeguard the long-term and steady development of China-EU relations. Biased views will do no good for such development.

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