Asia and Europe share onus to rise to challenge
Premier Li Keqiang is to attend the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting to be held in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct 18-19. It is widely hoped that the 12th ASEM will help strengthen cooperation between Asia and Europe to confront protectionism, unilateralism and populism. Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily’s Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow: ments to hold them back from collaboration. And with the background of rising populism in Europe and the protectionism of the United States, the opportunities for China and Europe to enhance cooperation count much more than the challenges.
As to the criticism that China has divided Europe through cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries, it should be made clear that the internal inconsistencies within Europe should not be attributed to any external forces, including China. and lack of relative competitiveness, the EU has been stuck between the US and the large emerging economies, which include China. This dilemma has led to a two-sidedness in its China policies. On the one hand, it joins hands with China to uphold free trade and multilateral trade system. On the other, it criticizes China for its government procurement, not easing market access enough and not protecting intellectual property rights; part of the agreement that the EU inked with the US obviously targeted China.
As a matter of fact, China and Europe share a lot of common interests on a number of issues including climate change and the Iran nuclear issue. Also they share similar ways of thinking in development as the EU’s Asia-Europe strategy to improve connectivity clearly mirrors China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The space for cooperation therefore is immense.
China’s practice of developing relations, including trade relations with both the EU and its individual member states, conforms not only to all the parties’ interests but is also conducive to social and economic convergence within the EU. The charge that China is trying to drive wedges between European countries reflects misunderstanding.