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Building confidence for cooperation

By Fu Cong
Chinas’s EU Ambassador Fu Cong

On the early morning of 10 December, I stepped off the Hainan Airlines flight and set foot in Brussels in the brisk midwinter. I am no stranger to this city. During previous visits to EU headquarters on matters related to arms control and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, I had the chance to know many EU colleagues and established good working relations with them. I was told that it is by advocating diversity, inclusion, dialogue and compromise that the EU has witnessed the steady development of European integration. I sincerely hope that these principles can find their expression in my future work.

Despite the cold weather in Europe, I am still excited about beginning my new role as the 15th Chinese ambassador to the EU, a bloc of the most advanced economies and a pioneer in regional integration. Representing China and its interests, my mission here is to act as a bridge that enhances understanding and mutual trust and facilitates practical cooperation between China and the EU, including its member states. Three things have given me confidence in fulfilling my responsibilities.

First, China stays committed to the path of peaceful development. A clear and important message from the recent 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is the continuity and stability of China’s internal and external policies. Internally, China will follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, put people front and center, and deepen reform and opening up. Externally, China will continue to uphold world peace and promote common development, and work with other countries in building a global community with a shared future.

A China marching toward modernization will bring more opportunities to the EU and the wider world. Looking into the future, the fundamentals sustaining China’s prosperity and steady growth remain unchanged. Our determination to pursue high-standard opening up remains unchanged, and so is the bright prospect of the China-EU relationship.

Focus on stability and continuity

Second, there is high-level political support for an enhanced China-EU relationship. Early this month, I had the honor to attend in Beijing President Xi Jinping’s meeting with President Charles Michel where the two leaders reached agreement on a wide range of issues. President Xi expressed the hope that the EU could become an important partner in China’s pursuit of modernization and profit from the opportunities presented by China’s huge market and its efforts to advance institutional opening up and deepen international cooperation.

The meeting between the two leaders sent a positive signal of enhancing mutual trust, building consensus and deepening cooperation, thus setting a clear direction for the future of China-EU relations.

Resolving differences through dialogue

Third, there are strong underlying forces that will drive China-EU relations in a positive direction. China and the EU are the world’s two major forces, markets and civilizations. In face of the complex and turbulent international situation, the two sides should and could work hand in hand in bringing stability back to the world. The decades-long relationship shows that China and the EU are partners rather than rivals.

Despite our apparent differences, the two sides share extensive common interests and can accomplish many great things together. In this connection, upholding the comprehensive strategic partnership following the principle of mutual benefit, managing differences through dialogue and embracing multilateralism serve the interests of both China and the EU as well as the broader global community.

The moment I got off the plane, I saw the sun rising on the horizon. As people often say in China, confidence is more precious than gold. I’m ready to translate my confidence into real action and join EU colleagues in implementing the agreements reached between the two leaders to ensure the steady and sustained development of China-EU relations. The Chinese Mission to the EU and I look forward to reaching out to EU partners and interlocutors from all sectors with an open heart and open arms. We hope to increase communication, expand practical cooperation and build a bridge of friendship and cooperation between China and the EU.

Fu Cong became China’s new ambassador to the European Union in mid-December. The 57-year-old is an experienced diplomat. He most recently served as Director-General of the Arms Control Department at the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

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