Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's ongoing visit to Europe is China's first high-profile diplomacy of 2011. It signifies China's growing interest in strengthening cooperation with the eurozone and its commitment to pushing the comprehensive strategic partnership with the European Union (EU) to a higher level.
Li has been slated to visit Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom from Jan 4 to 12, and his trip comes at a crucial time, when EU countries, Spain included, are battling the debt crisis.
It is believed Li's visit will reap a series of cooperation agreements in various fields with the three countries - including finance, trade and culture. He also promised this week that China will continue to buy Spanish Treasury bonds.
Li's latest pledge is in line with China's determination to support the EU and help it weather the sovereign debt crisis.
Li's pledge together with China's growing penchant for EU goods and services will be a shot in the arm for the eurozone and will help it overcome the effects of the financial crisis and restore confidence in the euro. Strengthened Sino-EU trade ties will also have a positive impact on the global economic recovery.
The EU has for years been China's largest trading partner and largest destination of exports, while China is the EU's second largest trading partner and largest source of imports.
The high degree of interdependency between the two economies and growing cooperation mean it is in China's interest to support EU countries in times of difficulty. It also indicates China is willing to shoulder more international responsibilities as the country's economic clout grows.
Sino-EU trade and economic cooperation is the cornerstone of bilateral relations, which in the past 35 years have witnessed significant growth in a wide range of areas. China and the 27-member bloc, as two globally significant economies, should coordinate their macroeconomic policy-making and jointly combat trade protectionism so that they can concertedly help the world economy achieve a sustainable recovery as soon as possible.
For more balanced bilateral trade, the EU should take steps to lift restrictions on exports of high-tech products. It should also make efforts to reverse the protectionist tendency against Chinese products.
Given that the EU has yet to grant market economy status to China, it is hoped some breakthrough can be made in this regard this year.
As two important players in world affairs, the two sides should also deepen their cooperation on bilateral and multilateral platforms to address major global concerns, such as climate change, global governance and reform of the world financial system.
For bilateral ties to grow steadily and healthily, both sides should deepen mutual political trust and care for each other's mutual concerns and core interests.