Van Rompuy affirms ties at EU-China Forum
Updated: 2013-11-27 00:43
By Fu Jing and Tuo Yannan in Brussels (China Daily)
Having initiated a "personal rapport" with the new Chinese leaders, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the European Union will support China's social and economic transformation. Its new reform agenda could bring changes for the rest of the world, he said.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (right) chats with Wang Xiaochu, vice-chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, before giving a speech at the China-EU Forum in Brussels on Tuesday. Fu Jing / China Daily
"China needs the EU and the EU also needs China ... China's domestic challenges are linked to its foreign policies," Van Rompuy said at the annual EU-China Forum in Brussels, during his keynote speech on Tuesday.
The two-day forum was organized by the Chinese Mission to the EU and Friends of Europe, a think tank in Brussels. China Daily is an exclusive media partner of the event.
Van Rompuy had just returned from an EU-China summit held in Beijing last week. The summit is the key diplomatic effort with Europe by China, after its new leadership took office one year ago and announced a comprehensive agenda of reform and opening-up in recent weeks.
After maturing his relationship with the previous Chinese leaders during his past four years as European Council president, Van Rompuy said he had fruitful discussions with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing last week.
"I already have a personal rapport with Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang," he said.
The Chinese leadership's efforts at deepening relations with Europe are likely to carry on in the early half of 2014 when China and France celebrate their 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the Netherlands will host an international nuclear security summit in March. It is expected that more high-level exchanges will bring China's relations with the EU and its member states to a higher level.
Li, who is on a trip to Romania and Central Asia, sent a message to the forum, at which officials and academic experts exchanged ideas on boosting China-EU relations in new global and national contexts.
Li said the China-EU relationship has made great strides during the past decade, since the establishment of a mutual comprehensive strategic partnership, and China's economy has withstood pressures and will achieve its growth target this year.
"It will continue to grow at a rapid and sustainable rate, and China will put great effort into completing its reform agenda," the premier said in his congratulatory letter.
Li also said Europe's economy has shown a momentum of steady recovery, so it is necessary for both sides to deepen cooperation in every field.
Van Rompuy said the new Chinese leadership finds itself at a crossroads after many years of rapid development, and if Beijing maintains such momentum of growth, it will continuously change its own society and also the rest of the world.
Van Rompuy said China faces heavy challenges in energy and resource efficiency, social security, education and the rule of law for its social and economic transformation in the coming decade.
But he said China's workforce is increasingly well educated, its number of Internet users is the highest in the world in a single country and the governments at various levels are transforming their functions to give the market a decisive say.
Van Rompuy also said it is fortunate the Chinese leadership is prepared to tackle near-term and long-term difficulties and challenges.
"China's domestic challenges are linked to its foreign policies as it has been becoming more and more interdependent with the rest of the world," he said.
He appreciated Xi's thoughts on the strategic partnership based on mutual benefit, trust and inclusion.
"Today, we are with China, in a deep sense, not just a trade partner. We are partners of sharing experiences and knowledge and partners contributing global growth and we are partners for peace and security," Van Rompuy said.
Both sides have pledged to solve trade disputes in line with WTO rules in a "fair and objective way".
China is a major destination for EU exports, has offered assistance during Europe's financial crisis and its investment has expanded, he added.
"I think in the future years, China's investment will grow faster in Europe."
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