'Turn challenges into opportunities' - China's EU ambassador optimistic on future relations

Source:CGTN 18-09-20 09:47 Updated BJT
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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to new complexities in the relationship between the European Union and China, Beijing's ambassador to the EU, Zhang Ming, has said. 

Speaking at the European Policy Center in Brussels, Zhang outlined that China viewed the EU as a comprehensive strategic partner, adding that he hoped Brussels continues to view Beijing in an objective way. 

"Of course COVID-19 has brought complexities and new challenges to EU-China relations. What should be done? Properly address the complexities and turn challenges into opportunities," said the ambassador, who was speaking following comments by European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, who branded China a "competitor and a rival" to the EU.

Zhang said a positive relationship between China and the EU was a win-win situation, saying that when they work together they make a positive difference for the world.

"China and the EU have been clear they stand for engagement and dialogue on the basis of mutual respect and equality, for openness and cooperation and multilateralism," the ambassador added.

He said the two powers should not ignore their differences, but he hoped the EU would look at China's development in a more objective and open way. 

"China’s efforts to open up are being widely recognised," noted Zhang, before adding "But Europe seems to be going the other way. The recent steps taken in 5G, FDI screening, have got the government and Chinese media concerned."

Zhang's comments came after the China-Germany-EU leaders' meeting on Monday, when, via video link, Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, European Council President Charles Michel and Von der Leyen. 

After the talks, Von der Leyen said progress had been made on a host of key areas and hailed the potential of a fruitful future trading partnership with China but admitted there was still much work to be done.

Trade links growing

The ambassador's speech came the day after Eurostat figures showed in the first seven months of 2020, China became the top trading partner of the EU, a position previously held by the U.S..

The EU's imports from China increased by 4.9 percent in the January-July period, compared with the same period last year, whereas its imports from the U.S. dropped by 11.7 percent.

The bloc's exports to China recorded a slight drop of 1.8 percent, while those to the U.S. fell by 9.9 percent, according to the EU's statistical office.

China and the U.S. were followed by the UK, Switzerland and Russia on EU's main trading partner list in the first seven months.

Editor: zhangrui
18-09-20 09:47 BJT
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