As China and the EU gears up for this week’s summit, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang wrote in a German newspaper saying China wants to work with the European Union on issues from climate change to trade.
In a column for Monday’s edition of Handelsblatt, the Chinese Premier denied accusations Beijing was trying to split the bloc by investing in eastern European states, insisting China supports the European integration process in the hope of a united and prosperous Europe. He said Beijing’s close cooperation with eastern European states was advantageous for a balanced development within the EU.
Li wrote that China was ready to work closely with Europe in upholding the Paris Climate Agreement, supporting sustainable development, retaining the international nuclear deal with Iran and fighting terrorism.
He also said it wanted to exchange views on reforming the World Trade Organisation.
The EU is China’s largest trading partner. An increase in Chinese takeovers in critical sectors in Europe and an impression in Brussels that Beijing has not kept its promise to stand up for free trade has complicated talks before the summit.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will travel to Europe on Monday for a series of high-level meetings to consolidate China-Europe cooperation at a time when changes and uncertainties are rattling the European continent.
The visit, which will last till Friday, will take Li to Brussels for an annual gathering with European Union (EU) leaders, and to Croatia for an official visit and a leaders’ meeting of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs).
This is the first overseas trip to be made by the Chinese premier this year and is set to inject new impetus into the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership.