Fang Xiao
Assistant Research Fellow
Center for European Studies
Institute for International Strategic Studies
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Mar 24 2014
President Xi Jinping’s Visit to Europe: Flying over the Silk Road
By Fang Xiao
President Xi Jinping will kick off a trip to Europe on March 22, 2014 since his inauguration of President. Xi will participate in the international Nuclear Security Summit scheduled to be held in The Hague, and make a state visit to Netherland, France, Germany and Belgium respectively and visit UNESCO headquarters in Paris and the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels.

President Xi Jinping points out, “China-EU relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world.” The importance of the China-EU relationship can be related in the following aspects.

First, China and EU are respectively the third and the second largest economies of the world, which put together contributes to over one third of the world’s GDP. Both not only provide each other with extraordinary markets, but also contribute to increasingly larger share of the world trade and home-countries of investment. Not only their economic relations weigh high, so is their economic interdependence as well. What can illustrate the most China-EU advantage brought up by their competition and cooperation is their courageous exploration and practice regarding their respective roads and their sincere exchange of ideas and experiences. EU adheres to the course of integration and makes greater effort in pushing for governance reform and industrial transition in the wake of sovereign-debt crisis. At the same time, China is also undergoing economic transition, balanced social development, balanced urban-rural development, and upgrade of state governance. China and EU have already established dialogue and communication mechanisms in the fields mentioned above, and even organized workshops therefore. They not only coordinate development with each other, but also share their experiences with other parts and countries of the world. China and EU, as both ends of the economic Silk Road, will certainly have developed a new road in cooperation and development.

Second, both China and EU are the main forces in maintaining the world peace and stability. A “new type of inter-state relationship” –the first of the kind in the world—was brewed 70 years ago on the smoke-clearing land of Europe, i.e., the course of reginoal integration. Likewise, as an awakened big power, China has been a “ballast” of peace and development of the region and the world since 1949. China and EU have established dialogue mechanism in respect of major international and regional issues and have begun to embark on coordination work on each of their peripheral affairs. The European periphery and the Chinese periphery constitute a combination area of the security Silk Road, which covers the bulk of international hot-spot areas. China and EU are left with no fundamental conflict of interest between them, hence they can by every reason become the most important “booster” of a fair and just international order and international system, and join hands in providing guarrantee for the comprehensive security of the mankind in areas of energy security, cyber security, environmental security, space security and so on, so long as they can mutually respect core concerns in their respective regions and exchange viewpoints with each other effectively.

Third, Chinese culture and the European-originated Western culture reinforce each other. China-EU cultural exchange is one of the pillars of “China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership” and the main bridge linking the societies and peoples between the West and East. Despite their differences in ideology, social system and stage of development and clashes in their historical inter-relations, China and Europe have managed to prevent from confrontation and to draw on and integrate experiences and lessons from each other via exchange of criticism. The two ancient civilizations have the obligation to advance healthy trends and create a world civilization with pluralism and inclusiveness. Given the wind global social reform triggered by the world’s economic crisis, and the shift of old and new forces, Europe is re-thinking and even setting to re-construct value system, while China is also purifying, refining and cultivating the socialist, core values. The goal of China-EU cultural exchange is to rejuvenate the continents of Asia and Europe.

President Xi Jinping’s trip to Europe will of course candidly touch upon outstanding issues between China and EU. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is well prepared to make the development of China-EU relations advantageous to China in its comprehensive and deepening reforms, advantageous to Europe going out of the dilemma of industrial transition and advantageous to the entire Asia and Europe regions in respect of peace and prosperity.

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