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        Xi's key message to Europe: cooperation
         updatetime:2024-05-07 18:01:56   Views:0 Source:Xinhua

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        Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a China-France-EU trilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, May 6, 2024. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

        PARIS, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday underscored the importance of bolstering cooperative ties between China and France as well as the European Union (EU), particularly amid escalating protectionism and raging conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.

        Xi, who is on a six-day trip to France, Serbia and Hungary through Friday, said China-EU cooperation is "complementary and mutually beneficial" in essence during a trilateral meeting here with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

        The two sides have extensive common interests and broad space for cooperation in green and digital transition, Xi said, noting it is "necessary" for them to properly address economic and trade frictions through dialogue and consultation, and accommodate each other's legitimate concerns.

        "The EU is a pillar of the global economy and its members are some of China's largest trading partners," said Keith Bennett, an international relations consultant in London.

        "Therefore, whether from the standpoint of bilateral economic and political relations, world peace and security, or major-country diplomacy, China-Europe relations are a key part of the global order," said Bennett.

        Despite skepticism from some quarters in Europe about the benefits of trade and economic cooperation with China, empirical evidence highlights the fruitful results of China-EU economic and trade cooperation in the past decades.

        Official data show that the EU stands as China's second-largest trading partner, ranking high in both imports and exports. Likewise, China is the EU's second-largest trading partner, primary source of imports, and third-largest export destination.

        Meanwhile, Chinese and European enterprises continue to be upbeat about each other's markets, as statistics showed that the stock of two-way investment has exceeded 250 billion U.S. dollars.

        "I believe that the economic cooperation between Europe and China is something very important. China is strong, and that is why Europe has to develop itself and be strong also," Marc-Antoine Jamet, secretary general of the LVMH group, told Xinhua on Monday before the closing ceremony of the Sixth Meeting of the China-France Business Council.

        When addressing the entrepreneurs at the closing ceremony, Xi urged the EU to join China to "oppose attempts to turn business relations into political, ideological or security issues."

        "We should turn China and Europe into each other's key partners for business cooperation, priority partners for cooperation in science and technology, and trustworthy partners for cooperation in industrial and supply chains," Xi said.

        His remarks came as Washington is maneuvering to rally its allies in the West to "de-risk" from China, and slow down the country's high-tech progress, alongside escalating protectionist rhetoric concerning the so-called "Chinese overcapacity" in clean energy sectors.

        In the trilateral meeting with French and EU leaders, Xi rejected the claim of "China's overcapacity" from the perspective of comparative advantage and in light of global demand.

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        Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a China-France-EU trilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, May 6, 2024. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

        "China's new energy industry has made real progress in open competition and represents advanced production capacity. It not only increases global supply and alleviates the pressure of global inflation, but also contributes significantly to global climate response and green transition," Xi said.

        Amid complaints from some Western politicians about China's electric vehicles disrupting "global prices," even prominent U.S. media outlets like Bloomberg have noted that the primary concern for advanced economies revolves around the efficiency and competitiveness of Chinese electric carmakers. This encompasses factors such as their technological expertise and modern transportation infrastructure.

        As to the "overcapacity problem," studies have shown that the clean energy sector faces significant challenges in meeting global demand.

        At the end of 2023, the International Renewable Energy Agency projected that in order to keep the Paris Agreement targets alive, global renewable power capacity must grow by around 1,000 GW a year through 2030.

        In 2023, a year with a record-high capacity addition, the world had an increase of around 507 GW, half of what was needed to keep the 1.5-degree target within reach, according to the International Energy Agency's Renewables 2023 report.

        "On clean energy, China is a partner for us," Luc Remont, chairman and CEO of the French national electricity company EDF, told Xinhua before Monday's closing ceremony of the Sixth Meeting of the China-France Business Council.

        "The Chinese clean energy industry is welcomed in Europe to expand its capacities within Europe as well to serve the European market. Simultaneously, European industries are actively investing in China to bolster capacities within the country," he said.

        Xi's trip is his first visit to Europe in nearly five years, and coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France.

        The two sides should stay committed to the spirit that guided the establishment of their diplomatic ties, namely, independence, mutual understanding, long-term vision and mutual benefit, and enrich it with new features of the new era, Xi said during talks with Macron at Elysee Palace.

        As the world goes through transformation and turbulence not seen in a century, China and France should uphold independence and jointly prevent a "new Cold War" or bloc confrontation, Xi said.

        "The fact that France and China, who are both permanent members of the Security Council, can work together is very important, given the reality that the world is facing two conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza," said Pascal Boniface, founding director of the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs.

        China and France have also long collaborated on combating climate change and environmental degradation, said Boniface, adding that he is glad to witness both sides' efforts to promote a more peaceful world and strengthen multilateralism, which is currently facing significant challenges.


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