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Opening New Phases of China-EU Friendly Cooperation

On December 9, 2004, following the successful attending of the seventh China-EU Leaders' Meeting and official visit to the Netherlands by Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing briefed the media on details, pointing out that the meeting and visit made fruitful results.

He said as the year is coming to an end the domestic work schedule is fairly busy. On December 7 or the second day after Premier Wen Jiabao delivered the summary speech at the Central Economic Conference, with 10-hour flying he arrived at the Hague, the Netherlands to attend the Seventh China-EU Leaders' Meeting and visit the Netherlands and on the afternoon of December 9 left for Beijing. Although Premier Wen stayed in the Hague for just 48 hours, he attended a number of activities with fruitful achievements.

First, the seventh China-EU Leaders' Meeting is a success. Since last October the leaders of China and EU established the all-round China-EU strategic partnership in Beijing, bilateral ties have been developing steadily and dialogue and cooperation in all fields made great achievements. More importantly, both China and EU face new development opportunities. To put it specifically, China focuses on the establishment of a scientific concept of development, efforts of strengthening macro control have made clear results, coordination of various relations is increasingly harmonized and its national economy is experiencing sustained, rapid and healthy growth. EU completed the largest expansion since its founding, set up the new EU Commission and European Parliament, EU members signed the European Constitutional Treaty and European integration further moves ahead. Premier Wen Jiabao and the new leaders of EU reviewed comprehensively the fruitful achievements of bilateral cooperation in the past year and exchanged in-depth opinions and reached wide common consensus on expanding and deepening China-EU friendly cooperation. China with peaceful development and the expanded EU enjoy vast potential in exchanges and cooperation in al fields. The meeting of leaders of both sides in the Hague will surely inject fresh energy into the improvement and healthy development of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership.

Second, the two joint declarations issued by both sides after the meeting have great significance and the cooperation documents signed have far-reaching impact. The Joint Declaration of the Seventh China-EU Leaders' Meeting is finalized after repeated consultations of both sides and outlined China-EU cooperation in more than 30 fields including politics, economy, society, science & technology, culture, education, environmental protection and international affairs, containing both grand objectives and down-to-earth measures. The Joint Declaration has drawn high attention of the international community that China-EU relations are stepping into a new development stage. China-EU Joint Declaration on Non-proliferation and Arms Control made it clear that China and EU are important strategic partners of each other in non-proliferation and arms control, showing that bilateral strategic consensus is increasing. China and EU enjoy great cooperation potential in science & technology, customs and peaceful use of nuclear energy. The signing of related agreements and contracts defines related institutions and standardized operation and will greatly promote bilateral exchanges and cooperation in related areas.

Third, sincere exchanges have strengthened mutual understanding and trust. During the meeting, Premier Wen Jiabao urged EU to carefully consider the major concerns of China and expressed hope that EU, from the strategic perspective of China-EU relations and overall situation, should lift arms embargo on China and recognize China's complete market economy status as soon as possible. EU made it clear that EU has the determination to lift the embargo and will continue to make efforts to that end. EU recognizes the achievements of China's market economic construction and will explore solutions actively. Premier Wen Jiabao elaborated the principled position of the Chinese government on the Taiwan issue and pointed out that the risky activities of the "Taiwan independence" force is the root cause for the tension across the Taiwan Straits and the most serious threat to cross-strait peace and stability. EU expressed understanding of the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, reiterated that it will continue to follow the one-China policy and clearly stated that this position will remain unchanged.

Fourth, new communication channels have made the China-EU leaders' meeting more energetic. Before the meeting the experts and scholars of a number of Chinese and EU research institutes held the first think tank roundtable to discuss ideas and measures on strengthening cooperation between China and EU. On the evening when Premier Wen Jiabao arrived at the Hague he met the participants and conducted cordial exchanges with them. The idea of "understanding is the basis of cooperation and respect is the prerequisite of understanding" raised by Premier Wen Jiabao received high comments of the experts and scholars. Premier Wen also addressed the China-EU Business Summit for the first time, elaborating the several strategic issues related with the development of China-EU relations to the European business community, introducing the coordinated development of Chinese politics, economy and society and encouraging European businesses to raise economic cooperation level with China. His speech received warm recognition from the audience. The European media complimented that that the China-EU leaders' meeting is getting increasingly colorful and pragmatic.

Fifth, the comprehensive development of China-Netherlands relations gets promoted. China-Netherlands relations enjoy good development momentum. This year the two heads of the government realized exchange of visit and the Netherlands has become the second biggest trade partner of China within the EU. Premier Wen Jiabao raised major suggestions on strengthening political mutual trust and expanding economic & trade cooperation. The Netherlands responded positively and expressed its strong wish to expand cooperation with China in an all-round way. Both sides also signed a number of cooperation documents. The visit will exert a far-reaching influence on the long-term stable development of China-Netherlands relations.

Li pointed out that 10 days ago Premier Wen Jiabao paid a 2-day visit to Laos and attended the leadership meeting between China and ASEAN, and during this visit which also lasted for 2 days he met with leaders of EU to discuss the grand issue of development. The two visits have built glorious prospects for the friendly cooperation between China and the two regional organizations of ASEAN and EU, fully demonstrating the all-round development pattern of Chinese foreign policy and marking a successful practice towards the purpose that diplomacy serves the building of a welfare society in an all-round way.

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