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Focus on China-EU dynamics - 25 February 2023

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Wang Yi made his first European tour after being promoted to the Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs. Wang gave a full account of his trip to the media.

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French

Wang started his trip from Paris, where he met with French President Macron. Wang told the French leader that China regards France as a priority partner for cooperation and is ready to step up high-level exchanges further. Wang also met French Foreign Minister Colonna, and Constitutional Council President Fabius and held a strategic dialogue with Macron's Diplomatic Advisor Bonne.


Italy

While in Rome, Wang commended the two countries' partnership on Belt and Road cooperation during his meetings with Italian President Mattarella and Foreign Minister Tajani, encouraging the two sides to resume exchanges and cooperation at full tilt and tap the potential of cooperation in green development, digital economy, and third-party markets.


German

Wang sat down with German Chancellor Scholz and Foreign Minister Baerbock on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Wang said China and Germany could prepare for a new round of inter-governmental consultations and chart the blueprint for bilateral ties to keep their cooperation at the forefront of the world. Wang also urged common efforts to support multilateralism and free trade and reject decoupling.


Russia - Hungary

Wang headed to Budapest before making the final leg to Moscow. Wang applauded China-Hungary ties as a model of international relations as the two countries always show mutual respect, understanding, and trust to each other, during his meetings with Prime Minister Orbán and Foreign Minister Szijjártó, before encouraging the two countries to enhance cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.


A position paper on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis

During his speech at the 59th Munich Security Conference, Director Wang Yi warned against rising geopolitical rifts and unilateralism and the return of Cold War mentality before putting forward four proposals to make the world a safer place.

On the Ukraine crisis, Wang made clear that China’s position boils down to supporting talks for peace. As announced by Wang, China published a 12-point paper on its position on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis on Friday, one year anniversary of the crisis, including calling for the cessation of hostility and resumption of peace talks.

Wang hammered home the message that China would stick to peaceful development, a strategic choice derived partly from its experience of foreign aggressions, rather than an expediency or diplomatic rhetoric. Over the past seventy-plus years, China has never initiated a war or occupied an inch of foreign land, Wang said.

While in Germany, Wang met leaders and foreign ministers from the US, Ukraine, UK, Irland, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and EU VP/HR Josep Borrell. Wang told Borrell that China is ready to fully resume exchanges with Europe and beyond, and the two sides need to make preparations for their annual Summit and enhance dialogues at all levels in a bid to bring their exchanges back to pre-pandemic level asap.


Promote China-EU dialogues and cooperation

Ambassador Fu Cong continued his busy schedule, meeting people from the Brussels bubble, including Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya of the World Customs Organization and President Dimitris Dimitriadis of the External Relations Section of the EESC.

Fu met Henrik Hololei, Director-General of DG MOVE of the European Commission. Referring to the consensus reached by leaders of China and the EU, Fu explored the possibility of building greater synergy between China’s Belt and Road initiative and the EU’s Global Gateway with his EU interlocutor.

Fu also met permanent representatives to the EU of France and Netherlands, two of the first batch of western countries that established diplomatic relations with P.R. China. Unsurprisingly, China's bilateral ties with these two countries and the EU are top on their agenda. Fu also told the Dutch envoy that it is hoped that the Netherlands would work with China to oppose trade protectionism and help promote China-EU cooperation on stable and trusted supply chains.

During his meeting with Markus Beyrer, Director General of Business Europe, Fu elaborated on China's efforts to develop a law-based and enabling business environment and enhance the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and foreign businesses. Fu also encouraged the business organization to speak up and help create a favorable political atmosphere between China and the EU.

The Ambassador also took some time to explain his views and expectations on China-EU relations, CAI, Taiwan, the Ukraine crisis, and the so-called balloon incident.


China's Concept Paper on Global Security Initiative

China's new Foreign Minister Qin Gang presented a concept paper on the Global Security Initiative, which was proposed by President Xi Jinping last April. What is in it and what it aims for? Basically, it contains "six principles" and "20 priorities of cooperation", laying out China's views on how to solve global security challenges. The document also identifies a list of platforms and mechanisms of cooperation.

When it comes to mechanisms, FM Qin also unveiled the Preparatory Office of the International Organization for Mediation (IOMed) last week. IOMed, located in Hong Kong, will be the world's first intergovernmental legal organization dedicated to resolving international disputes through mediation, Qin said.

China's Vice Premier Sun Chunlan and her Greek counterpart inaugurated the Center of Chinese and Greek Ancient Civilizations during her visit to Athens. In a letter of congratulations, President Xi Jinping hailed the long history of Chinese civilization and the profound influence of the ancient Greek civilization.

China and the EU held their 38th session of Human Rights Dialogue in Brussels last week, which was described as candid and in-depth.

There are two more Chinese delegations in town. One is led by Ling Ji, Vice Minister of Commerce, who met the head of Cabinet for EVP Dombrovskis Michael Hager and DG for Trade Sabine Wey. The other is headed by Major General Yao Qin, Deputy Chief of Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission. Yao co-chaired the 13th China-EU Security Policy Dialogue and the 7th China-NATO Security Policy Dialogue with his EU and NATO counterparts respectively.

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