Xi calls for China-EU bridges of peace

(APTN)

China and Europe need to build four “bridges” of peace, growth, reform and progress of civilization to step up friendship and cooperation, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday.

Speaking at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, Xi said the bridges will make the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership take on even greater global significance.

In terms of the bridge of peace and stability linking China and the EU, Xi said China and the EU both need peace, multilateralism and dialogue, instead of war, unilateralism and confrontation.

He called on China and Europe to enhance communication and coordination on global issues, and to play a key role in safeguarding world peace and stability.

China stands ready to work with the EU to let the sunlight of peace drive away the shadow of war and the bonfire of prosperity warm up the global economy in the cold early spring, and enable the whole of mankind to embark on the path of peaceful development and win-win cooperation, the Chinese leader said.

As for the bridge of growth and prosperity linking the two big markets, Xi said China and the EU, whose economies combine to account for one third of the global economy, must uphold open markets, speed up negotiations on investment agreement, actively explore the possibility of a free trade area, and strive to achieve the ambitious goal of bringing two-way trade up to one trillion U.S. dollars in value by 2020.

Efforts are needed to integrate the markets of Asia and Europe and make China and the EU the twin engines of global economic growth, Xi said.

Speaking of the bridge of reform and progress, the Chinese president said both China and the EU are pursuing reforms that are unprecedented in human history, and both are sailing in uncharted waters.

He said China and the EU should enhance dialogue and cooperation on macro-economics, public policy, regional development, rural development, social welfare and other fields.

He called on the two sides to respect each other’s path of reform, draw upon each other’s reform experience and promote world development and progress through reform efforts.

On the bridge of common cultural prosperity linking the two major civilizations of China and Europe, Xi said China represents Eastern civilization, while Europe is the birthplace of Western civilization.

“The Chinese people are fond of tea and the Belgians love beer. To me, the moderate tea drinker and the passionate beer lover represent two ways of understanding life and knowing the world, and I find them equally rewarding,” Xi said.

The Chinese people value the idea of preserving “harmony without uniformity,” and in the EU people stress the need to be “united in diversity,” Xi said, calling for joint efforts for “all the flowers of human civilizations to blossom together.”

In spite of changes in the international landscape, China has always supported European integration and a bigger role in international affairs by a united, stable and prosperous EU, the Chinese president said.

Xi said China will soon release its second EU policy paper to reiterate the high importance it places on the EU and on its relations with the bloc.

“Last year, China and the EU jointly formulated the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation, setting out a host of ambitious goals for China-EU cooperation in nearly 100 areas. The two sides should work in concert to turn the blueprint into reality at an early date and strive for greater progress in China-EU relations in the coming decade,” he said.

Belgium is the last leg of Xi’s Europe tour, which also took him to the Netherlands, France and Germany.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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