Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the European Union (EU) headquarters on Friday during the Chinese Spring Festival, the most important Chinese festival, at the invitation of President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, strengthened both sides' confidence to develop ties.
As the visit deepened mutual trust, promoted bilateral cooperation, the Sino-EU relations is facing a new opportunity of development, and will surely have a brighter future.
Both Chinese and European leaders have said they attach importance to the Sino-EU relations from global and strategic height and believe that to strengthen Sino-EU cooperation under the current international situation has global significance.
Creating a brighter future for Sino-EU relations not only benefits the peoples of both sides but also is conducive to world peace, stability and prosperity.
Thus far, the Sino-EU relationship has developed into an all-round, wide-ranging, multi-level pattern of mutually beneficial cooperation. Against the backdrop of globalization and the rapidly changing international situation, the Sino-EU relations have surpassed bilateral category and has gained more and more important global significance.
For the moment, the central task facing China and the EU is to enhance cooperation and overcome the current difficulties posed by the international financial crisis.
Cooperation and enhanced coordination between China and the EU, which are the world's two big economic entities, will further boost the convenience and liberalization of trade and investment, strongly bolster the international community's confidence to strengthen cooperation and jointly grapple with the current crisis, and thus make major contributions to help the world economy rid stagnancy as soon as possible.
Through joint efforts, China and the EU will surely speed up the settlement of thorny and chronic global issues like climate change, energy security and food security, and enhance world's sustainable development.
During their meetings, both sides agreed to hold the 2nd Sino-EU high-level trade and economic dialogue in April and the 11th Sino-EU summit meeting within this year, which will further promote Sino-EU cooperation.
The creation of a brighter future for the Sino-EU relations and the upgrading of the Sino-EU comprehensive strategic partnership should be based on equality, mutual trust and mutual respect, while comprehensiveness should be borne in mind and a strategic point of view should be adopted.
"Both sides are of the view that it is imperative to further improve the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, which reflects the common wishes of the two sides and are in their interests," according to a joint declaration issued after Premier Wen's visit to Brussels.
Comprehensiveness means that political mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation should enhance each other, with both sides continuously consolidating the political foundation of the Sino-EU relations, and practically pushing forward and expanding bilateral pragmatic cooperation in all fields, and actively exploring new meeting points of common interests.
To adopt a strategic point of view means that both sides should be committed to the long-term stable and healthy development of their ties from an overall and long-term perspective.
The development of the Sino-EU relations in the last 30 or so years shows that as long as both sides stick to the spirit of mutual trust, mutual respect, mutual benefit, and properly consider each other's grave concerns, the relationship would surely continue to move forward.
And as long as both sides uphold the principle of seeking common ground while maintaining differences, they would surely set an example for the harmonious coexistence and common development of different social systems and cultures.
To create a brighter future for the China-EU ties will depend on both sides' efforts to face down negative factors, overcome hurdles, jointly appreciate and develop the hard-won good situation.
Due to some well-known reasons, the Sino-EU ties suffered some setbacks last year. However, China has always firmly believed thatthe general direction of the Sino-EU ties will not change, both sides' will to enhance cooperation and jointly cope with challenges will not change, and the Chinese policy of favoring theSino-EU comprehensive strategic partnership will also not change.
Some EU leaders have recently said that despite the existence of various problems, the EU attaches great importance to its relationship with China and it is EU's set policy to promote the Sino-EU all-round strategic partnership and bilateral cooperation in all fields.
They have also voiced EU's willingness to closely cooperate with China and seek new development of bilateral ties in the new year.
The creation of a brighter future for the Sino-EU relations also depends on the EU's growing awareness that China will stick to its reform and opening-up drive, and that the country that seeks to develop itself by peaceful means, by opening itself up and by cooperation with other countries, provides an opportunity and will make contribution to Europe and the world at large.
With regards to China's development and their expectations to cooperate with China, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told Xinhua recently that, "We have great respect for China and admire the tremendous steps forward having taken place in China."
Barroso, head of the European Commission, said it is good to see China developing and becoming more prosperous, which conforms to the interests of the EU, and China has become an indispensable partner of cooperation with the EU.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said his country, Europe and many other countries in the world can benefit from China's development.
As all fresh water comes from its source, the firm confidence in the future prospects of the Sino-EU relations is rooted in the fact that in an era dominated by willingness to seek peace, promote development and enhance cooperation, China and the EU are witnessing the expansion of their common interests, the increase of their mutual responsibilities, the consolidation of the basis for their cooperation and the strengthening of their exchanges and cooperation, which is where the vital force for pushing forward the Sino-EU ties resides.
And when both sides develop their comprehensive strategic partnership with deep historical and broad global vision, they will certainly make important far-reaching contributions to the common cause of mankind.
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2009)