Build a Bridge of Friendship and Cooperation Across the Eurasian Continent*
April 1, 2014
China and Europe may seem far apart geographically, but we are living in the same era and on the same earth. I feel that we are as close to each other as neighbors. Both China and Europe are in a crucial stage of development, and are facing unprecedented opportunities and challenges. I hope to work with our European friends to build a bridge of friendship and cooperation across the Eurasian continent. For that we actually need to build four bridges – for the peace, growth, reform and progress of civilization – so that the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership will take on even greater global significance.
– We need to build a bridge of peace and stability, linking the two strong forces of China and the EU. Together, China and the EU make up one tenth of the total area of the earth, and represent one fourth of the world's population. Together we hold three permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. We all need peace, multilateralism and dialogue, instead of war, unilateralism and confrontation. We need to enhance communication and coordination on global issues, and play a key role in safeguarding world peace and stability. Culture can spread, and so can peaceful development. 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 all mankind to embark on the path of peaceful development and mutually beneficial cooperation.
– We need to build a bridge of growth and prosperity linking the two big markets of China and Europe. China and the EU are the two most important economies in the world, accounting for one third of the global economy. We must uphold open markets, speed up negotiations on investment agreements, proactively explore the possibility of a free trade area, and strive to achieve the ambitious goal of bringing bilateral trade to US$1 trillion-worth by 2020. We should also look to combine China-EU cooperation with the initiative of developing the Silk Road Economic Belt, so as to integrate the markets of Asia and Europe, energize the people, businesses, capital and technologies of Asia and Europe, and make China and the EU the twin engines for global economic growth.
– We need to build a bridge of reform and progress, linking the reform process in China and the EU. Both China and the EU are pursuing reforms that are unprecedented in human history, and both are sailing uncharted waters. We should enhance dialogue and cooperation on macro economy, public policy, regional development, rural development, social welfare and other fields. We need to respect each other's paths of reform, draw upon each other's reform experience, and promote world development and progress through our reform efforts.
– We need to build a bridge of common cultural prosperity linking the two major civilizations of China and Europe. China represents in an important way Eastern civilization, while Europe is the birthplace of Western civilization. The Chinese people are fond of tea, and Belgians love beer. To me, the moderate tea drinker and passionate beer lover represent two ways of understanding life and knowing the world, and I find them equally rewarding. When good friends get together, they may want to drink to their hearts' content to show their friendship. They may also choose to sit down quietly and drink tea while chatting about their lives. In China we value our ideal of "harmony without uniformity."1 And here in the EU people stress the need to be "united in diversity." Let us work together for all flowers of human civilization to blossom together.
In the face of all changes in the international landscape, China has always supported European integration and a bigger role in international affairs for a united, stable and prosperous EU. China will soon release its second EU policy paper to reiterate the great importance it places on the EU and on its relations with the EU. Last year, China and the EU jointly formulated the Strategic Agenda 2020 for China-EU Cooperation, setting out a host of ambitious goals in nearly a hundred fields. 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.
* Part of the speech at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.
1 The Analects of Confucius (Lun Yu).
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)