Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C), European Council President Donald Tusk (L) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker co-chair the 19th China-EU leaders' meeting in Brussels, Belgium, June 2, 2017. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wrapped up on Friday a two-day visit to Belgium, where he met with European leaders and reaffirmed their commitment to developing a stable relationship between China and the European Union (EU) in face of growing global uncertainties.
The two sides have also sent out positive signals to the world with their resolution to champion free trade and globalization, and to carry forward the global fight against climate change despite setbacks.
STABILITY AMID UNCERTAINTIES
During his stay in Brussels, the Chinese premier attended the 12th EU-China Business Summit, and co-chaired the 19th China-EU leaders' meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
At both events, Li highlighted the importance of a stable and increasingly strong China-EU relationship in face of rising global uncertainties.
China highly values its relations with Europe and supports the EU countries to choose their own path of integration, Li told Tusk and Juncker during their annual meeting, adding that his country is happy to see an Europe that is unified, stable, open and prosperous.
The premier said he hopes the meeting could send a positive signal that the China-EU relationship remains stable and is steadily improving, and that they could respond to the global uncertainties with stability of their cooperation.
Noting that China and the EU have kept making new progress in their cooperation in recent years, Li urged the two sides to better align their development strategies, expand two-way opening up and push forward their negotiation on an investment agreement.
He encouraged the two sides to boost cooperation in such fields as infrastructure, aviation, information and network security, finance and renewable energy, among others.
The two sides should also take the opportunity of the "2018 EU-China Tourism Year" to further facilitate people-to-people exchanges, he added. ( Calling their meeting with the Chinese premier "constructive" and "fruitful," Tusk and Juncker told a joint press conference that the EU and China are important strategic and cooperative partners, and both sides attach great importance to their bilateral relations and cooperation.
CHAMPIONS OF FREE TRADE AND GLOBALIZATION
Economic and trade ties topped the agenda of Li's Europe trip. In a keynote speech at the Business Summit, Li said both sides believe they should go with the tide of globalization and push forward globalization to make it fairer and more inclusive.
It is clear that globalization has brought tremendous benefits to China, the EU and the world, Li said, noting that globalization should not be blamed for the negative influence emerging along with it.
However, Li cautioned that China and the EU should take actions to tackle problems brought by economic globalization.
The current pressing task is to uphold the principles of fairness and free trade and revive the two engines of trade and investment, he added.
China always attaches great importance to fairness and sustainability while promoting free trade with the EU, Li said.
Noting that free trade and fair play complement each other, Li said he hopes that free trade can be sustainable, healthy and balanced.
The Chinese premier pointed out that since entering the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China has fulfilled its commitment.
He added that the EU should fulfill its obligations under Article 15 of the Protocol on China's accession to the WTO and thus send a signal that international rules should be respected and multilateral system protected.
According to Article 15, WTO members should have stopped using the surrogate country approach to conduct anti-dumping investigations on China by Dec. 11, 2016.
At the leaders' meeting, Tusk and Juncker acknowledged that preserving the current international system accords with the common interests of the EU and China, and those of the whole world, adding that global trading system should not be maintained in a selective approach.
China and the EU, two important players on the world stage, enjoy a comprehensive strategic partnership. The EU is China's largest trading partner while China is the EU's second largest trading partner.
SOLIDARITY ON CLIMATE CHANGE
With Li's visit, China and the EU have demonstrated solidarity on climate change, Tusk told the joint press conference.
"Today we are stepping up our cooperation on climate change with China, which means that today China and Europe have demonstrated solidarity with future generations and responsibility for the whole planet," he said.
The EU side is willing to deepen cooperation on climate change and jointly implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, a landmark global pact to fight climate change, so as to bring benefits to the whole world, said Tusk and Juncker at the press conference.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he had decided to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement.
During their talks, Li told the EU leaders that China will strengthen cooperation with the bloc on climate change and jointly work to implement the Paris climate deal, and the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Li's Brussels trip, which also included an official visit to Belgium, came after his official visit to Germany, where he attended the annual meeting between Chinese premier and German chancellor.