Ambassador Fu Cong, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, Met Dimitris Dimitriadis, President of the External Relations Section of the European Economic and Social Committee
On February 13, 2023, Ambassador Fu Cong, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, met Dimitris Dimitriadis, President of the External Relations Section of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). They had in-depth exchanges of views on China-EU relations, bilateral cooperation mechanism and other issues.
Ambassador Fu said that an important message from the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is the continuity and stability of China’s internal and external policies, including China’s policy on the EU. He noted that as China and the EU are two major forces, two big markets and two great civilizations in the world, China-EU cooperation bears on the stability and prosperity of the world. He stressed that China attaches great importance to the relationship with the EU. Friendship remains the underlying theme of China’s policy on the EU, and cooperation the overarching goal. China looks forward to a positive role played by the EESC that is committed to leading to an enabling environment for the development of China-EU relations. China is ready to work with the EU to develop the China-EU Round Table, an important dialogue mechanism, and consolidate public and social support for this relationship and contribute to the healthy and stable development of China-EU relations.
Mr. Dimitris Dimitriadis welcomed Ambassador Fu for assuming the new role and conveyed EESC President Christa Schweng’s warm regards. He said that as China is its significant
Photo: Fu Cong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Head of Mission of the People's Republic of China to the European Union
partner, the EU attaches importance to developing relations with China. The EESC is willing to enhance dialogue and communication with China and boost practical cooperation in various sectors. He expressed his readiness to establish good working relations with Ambassador Fu and the Chinese Mission, so as to pursue new progress in the EU-China Round Table.
First meeting with an MEP
Amb Fu had an in-depth discussion with Manu Pineda, member of the Left group of Europarl on China-EU relations. Fu expressed his readiness to collaborate with EU bodies, including the Europar, and have in-depth exchanges with more MEPs, so as to bring new impetus to bilateral ties. The parliamentarian emphasized the great importance the Left group attached to its traditional friendship with China, and said that he looked forward to enhance communication with Chinese partners to jointly pursue progress in EU-China relations.
Encouragement to business community
China will stay committed to high-standard opening up, thus providing a broader platform of cooperation and development for European enterprises, Amb Fu told a delegation led by Bernard Dewit, chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. In his response, Mr Dewit said that BCECC stood ready to make more contributions to enhancing Belgium-China and EU-China practical cooperation.
Exchanges with envoys
Meeting with MacaoSAR representative
In meeting with Lúcia Abrantes dos Santos, acting head of delegation of Macao economic & trade office to the EU, Amb Fu pointed out that MacaoSAR, like HKSAR, enjoyed unique advantages in strengthening economic and trade cooperation, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges with the EU.
Messages from the Ambassador
Ambassador Fu had a live streaming dialogue with EPC Senior Adviser Shada Islam on Wednesday, expounding his views on China-EU relations, the Ukrainian crisis, Taiwan question, CAI and other issues. Here are some of the takeaways of Fu's briefing. Click for full transcript.
On China-EU relationship
Fu said that the message he had been trying to send out since his arrival in Brussels was that China attached great importance to the China-EU relations, and that China believed that China and the EU were more partners than 'rivals', & cooperation and partnership were the main theme of China-EU relationship.
On Ukrainian crisis
Fu expressed his concern about the possible escalation of the conflict, noting that providing weapons could not actually solve the crisis and the right place should be at the negotiating table. Fu pointed out that China had been talking to relevant parties and using its influence to facilitate peace.
On Taiwan question
Fu urged the EU side to be fully aware of the seriousness of this question and never try to cross the red line. 'The EEC committed that the member states of the EEC would take positions on the issue of Taiwan that are acceptable to China', that 'it would not develop any official relations with Taiwan', and that 'it would not sign any agreement with Taiwan', Fu emphasized, recalling the clear and important commitments made by the EEC when establishing diplomatic relations with China in 1975.
Fu underlined the necessity and importance to revive this mutually beneficial agreement, noting that China was open for other initiatives from the EU side if lifting the sanctions simultaneously could not fly. The principle should be that initiatives are based on mutual benefits, Fu added.
On Belt and Road Initiative & Global Gateway strategy
Fu said that the world was so big and the demand for infrastructure was so great, and that China was ready to join hands with the EU in the implementation of both programs, including in Africa and Central Asia.
On China's Covid response & reopening
Fu pointed out that China's Covid policy had been changing in light of the pandemic situation over the past three years. The latest adjustment was not a sudden decision and did not mean unpredictability in China's policy-making. With relaxation of Covid restrictions, China was back onto the world stage and nurturing new impetus for the global economy, Fu noted.
On China's dual circulation
Fu expounded that China was such a huge market that domestic consumption naturally would be one important driver for its economic development. But it doesn’t mean that China is going to close its door to other countries. On the contrary, the door will be opened further and at a higher level, and foreign companies will have a even bigger say when it comes to economic affairs in China.
On Global Development Initiative & Global Security Initiative
Fu pointed out that China advocated multilateralism like the EU, and that both GDI & GSI were to enhance global cooperation. On security, China advocated cooperative security and mutual security as well as adherence to international laws, in particular, the UN Charter. China was not trying to reorganize the world as some people say, Fu stressed.
On subsidies to companies
Fu made it clear that China was party to the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and had removed all the state subsidies that were prohibited under that agreement. All the subsidies that China was doing were in compliance with the WTO agreement, Fu said.
Amb Fu also published an op-ed titled "China-Europe Relations Have a Promising Future" in the magazine CHINA TODAY (in French).
Highlights of recent China-EU exchanges
Young envoys of friendship
President Xi Jinping encouraged Hungarian youths to learn more about China and become envoys of bilateral friendship in a recent reply letter to students from the Hungarian-Chinese bilingual school.
A conversation with Dutch DPM & FM Wopke Hoekstra
FM Qin Gang had a phone call with Dutch DPM & FM Wopke Hoekstra, emphasizing that openness & pragmatism were the defining feature of China-Netherlands relations. China stood ready to work with its European partners to maintain stability of the international industry and supply chains, Qin said.
During a telephone conversation with his Belgian counterpart Hadja Lahbib, FM Qin Gang said that China attached great importance to its relations with Belgium and was ready to make joint efforts with Belgium to expand cooperation in various fields. FM Lahbib responded that Belgium was firmly committed to the one-China policy and stood ready to promote greater development of bilateral relations.
Special Rep in town
Amb. Wu Hongbo, Special Representative of the Chinese Government for European Affairs is back in Brussels for dialogue again this weekend. He plans to meet with EU officials from EEAS and other institution.
Strong trade ties
According to customs stats, the EU remains China's No 2 trading partner in 2022. Total import & export value reached $847.32 billion, 2.4% up YoY. Not surprisingly, low-carbon products exported from China to the EU grew rapidly in 2022 with solar batteries, lithium batteries and EVs increased by 111.6%, 118.8% and 103.1% respectively.