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EU-China relations

2014-03-24 10:40 China Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan

President Xi Jinping arrived in the Netherlands on Saturday to begin his first trip to European Union since taking office more than a year ago.  [Special coverage]

His tightly scheduled trip, which includes attending the Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague and a visit to the European Union headquarters as well as four major European countries, points to the importance China and the EU have attached to their relations.

However, the significance of his visit goes far beyond his meetings with the leaders of the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium and the EU Commission and the specific agreements to be signed.

The EU is China's largest trading partner and China is the second-largest trading partner of the EU. Both agreed to the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda late last year, which lays a solid foundation for cooperation in a wide range of areas, such as food, agriculture and biotechnology.

With China accelerating its urbanization and the transition of its economic structure, closer cooperation with its EU partners is of great importance for China, as the technology and experience of these countries can help ensure the advancement of its urbanization is more sustainable. At the same time, China's investment in EU countries and cooperation with them in a wide range of fields is equally vital to the economic growth and prosperity of Europe.

Increasing political cooperation and consultations between the EU and China will also be conducive to the settlement of regional and world conflicts.

Despite the increasing economic cooperation between China and the EU, the development of their relations has not been without problems and setbacks.

That explains why both sides should strive for greater political trust. They may have different understandings on human rights and other ideological issues, but such differences can be either shelved or narrowed by comparing notes, and they should never stand in the way of development of bilateral ties.

Even in economic cooperation, trade disputes need to be handled in such a manner that the win-win cooperation trend is not derailed, and is instead consolidated with the settlement of specific problems.

President Xi's visit will undoubtedly also update the leaders of the EU countries and the leaders of other European countries with China's priorities in its new reform drive and China's political will to promote world peace and development.

So we anticipate more political understanding between the EU and China from Xi's visit, which will help facilitate relations in all fields.

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