The 23rd China-EU Leaders’ Meeting on Friday is of particular significance to both sides, and indeed the world at large, given the new uncertainties the Russia-Ukraine conflict has injected into both international relations and the development of the global economy.
President Xi Jinping will talk with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel during the meeting, which the two European leaders are co-chairing with Premier Li Keqiang.
No matter how the Ukraine crisis transforms the global political landscape, maintaining the amicable relationship between China and the European Union that has been formed over many years will be in the interest of both sides. That is particularly so since the global economy is still struggling against the headwinds created by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has roiled the world for more than two years as well as the fallout from the Ukraine conflict.
That China is the EU’s largest trading partner and the EU China’s second-largest trading partner speaks volumes about how important both sides are to each other as far as economic cooperation is concerned. Given the complementarity between the two economies, there are potential areas that can be further tapped to raise cooperation to a higher level.
Continued and healthy economic ties between China and the EU will inject vitality into the development of the global economy and contribute to global common prosperity.
As far as international relations are concerned, China and the EU are major players in world politics and two major pillars for the maintenance of world peace. It goes without saying that EU countries which rely heavily on imported energy resources such as natural gas, oil and rare metals from Russia are bearing the brunt of the spillover from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
China has expressed its hopes that a political solution can be found as early as possible to bring an end to the war, and it is playing its part in trying to promote that by playing a constructive role in the efforts to defuse the crisis. It is doing what it can to push for a deal acceptable to both Russia and Ukraine that will end the bloodshed in Ukraine.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine as well as the collateral damage it has caused to the EU economy and global stability are not in China’s interest. The EU should be clear about how important it is for the European continent to become a real independent economic and political entity, which can decide its own destiny.
If that should be the case, the EU and China can better coordinate their stances to more effectively stabilize an increasingly multipolar world.