|Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media on Premier Li Keqiang's Official Visit to Germany, Attendance at Annual China-Germany Prime Ministers' Meeting, Attendance at the 19th China-EU Summit in Brussels, and Official Visit to Belgium|
On May 27, 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media on Premier Li Keqiang’s official visit to Germany, attendance at the annual China-Germany Prime Ministers’ Meeting, attendance at the 19th China-EU Summit in Brussels, and official visit to Belgium. Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao and Assistant Minister of Commerce Li Chenggang introduced the relevant information and answered questions from Chinese and foreign journalists.
Wang Chao said that at the invitation of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium and as agreed by China and the EU, Premier Li Keqiang will pay an official visit to Germany and attend the annual China-Germany Prime Ministers’ Meeting, attend the 19th China-EU Summit in Brussels, and pay an official visit to Belgium from 31 May to 2 June. This visit will be an important constituent of high-level exchanges between China and the EU this year. It will play a significant role in further consolidating and enhancing China-EU strategic mutual trust and practical cooperation, and in promoting the development of China’s relations with Germany, Belgium and EU institutions under the new situation. China hopes to, through this visit, strengthen strategic communication and coordination with relevant parties, enhance political mutual trust, upgrade the level of practical cooperation, inject new impetus into the development of China-Germany all-round strategic partnership, China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and China-Belgium all-round friendly cooperative partnership, and jointly release a positive signal of cooperation, openness and win-win results.
I. On the Official Visit to Germany and Attendance at the Annual China-Germany Prime Ministers’ Meeting
Wang Chao said that Germany, as a core country in the EU, is China’s all-round strategic partner in Europe. For many years, Germany has always been China’s most important partner of trade, investment and technology in Europe. Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Germany 45 years ago, bilateral relations have made remarkable progress. Especially since the establishment of China-Germany all-round strategic partnership in 2014, bilateral political mutual trust and practical cooperation have reached an unprecedentedly high level. The two sides have enjoyed frequent and close high-level exchanges, and have achieved fruitful results from exchanges and cooperation in economy, trade, investment, science, technology, innovation, people-to-people and cultural engagement and other fields. The two countries have established more than 70 bilateral consultation and cooperation mechanisms, including inter-governmental consultations, and nearly 100 pairs of sister provinces, states and municipalities. The personnel exchanges between the two countries have exceeded 1.2 million person times. Both countries have also jointly promoted global economic governance within the G20 framework.
During his visit to Germany, Premier Li Keqiang will meet with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, and hold the annual China-Germany Prime Ministers’ Meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on promoting China-Germany practical and innovative cooperation, strengthening global economic governance and international and regional issues of common concern. Premier Li Keqiang and Chancellor Angela Merkel will also jointly attend “China-Germany Forum---Co-shape Innovation” and communicate with business people of both countries. The two sides will also sign a series of cooperation documents during the visit, fully demonstrating the wide dimension and high level of China-Germany cooperation.
Li Chenggang said that China-Germany economic and trade cooperation has always played a positive role in China-EU economic and trade relations. According to China’s statistics, bilateral trade volume between China and Germany reached 151.29 billion USD in 2016. Germany maintains the position of China’s largest trade partner in the EU. Last year, for the first time, China became Germany’s largest trade partner around the globe. In the first quarter of this year, the trade volume between the two countries reached 36.98 billion USD, with a year-on-year growth of 10.5 percent. The two-way investment of the two countries has grown faster and become an important pillar of bilateral economic and trade relations. In 2016, Germany’s investment in China exceeded 2.7 billion USD, with an increase of 74.2 percent. In addition to traditional cooperation in trade and investment, bilateral cooperation in such fields as the “Belt and Road” construction, intelligent manufacturing, the third-party market as well as energy conservation and environmental protection has also become increasingly close.
II. On Holding the 19th China-EU Summit
Wang Chao noted that the EU is one of the world’s largest economies, an important force in international affairs, and a comprehensive strategic partner of China. Currently, China-EU relations enjoy a sound development in general, with the four partnerships of peace, growth, reform and civilization steadily forging ahead, and practical cooperation in various fields continuously being deepened and advanced. Currently, the world is experiencing profound and complex changes. As two major forces, two large markets and two major civilizations, China and the EU have the responsibility to work together to develop sound relations with each other, join hands to push forward the international situation towards a favorable direction, and make positive contributions to world peace and development. The annual China-EU Summit is the highest-level mechanism of political dialogue between China and the EU, and will endow the development of China-EU relations with new connotations of cooperation.
During this visit, Premier Li Keqiang will hold the 19th China-EU Summit with President Donald Tusk of the European Council and President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission, and exchange in-depth views on China-EU relations as well as regional and global issues. Premier Li Keqiang will also, together with the EU leaders, attend a series of activities including the China-EU Business Summit, the Innovation Cooperation Dialogue, the inauguration of the logos of China-EU Tourism Year and China-EU Blue Year, as well as interaction and exchanges with signatories of cooperation agreements between small- and medium-sized enterprises of China and the EU.
Li Chenggang said that economic and trade cooperation between China and the EU has maintained a sound momentum of development and cooperation in trade, investment and technology has been promoted in an all-round way. For many years, the EU has been China’s largest trade partner, and China has been the second largest trade partner of the EU. China-EU two-way investment has been active, with constantly expanded investment fields and varied investment forms. The EU has always been the largest source of technology import of China. While maintaining traditional advantages in economic and trade cooperation, China and the EU have vigorously expanded new cooperation fields, achieving positive progress in such cooperation fields as infrastructure, finance and digital economy, and improving both the width and the depth of economic and trade cooperation. The legal framework of China-EU economic and trade cooperation has been gradually perfected. The negotiation on the China-EU investment agreement has been steadily advanced, and the negotiation on China-EU geographical indication agreement is expected to complete.
Ⅲ. On the Official Visit to Belgium
Wang Chao noted that Belgium is a founding member of the EU, where the EU Headquarters stands, and an important cooperation partner of China in the EU. Since the establishment of the all-round friendly cooperative partnership between China and Belgium in 2014, bilateral relations have shown a strong momentum of development, with frequent high-level exchanges, continuous consolidated political mutual trust, flourishing cooperation in economy, trade and investment, and rich and colorful people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Bilateral cooperation between colleges and universities and bilateral exchanges of overseas students have becoming increasingly frequent and close. The Chinese giant panda settled in Belgium and smoothly gave birth to cubs. The friendly feelings between the Chinese and Belgian peoples have been further deepened.
During the visit, Premier Li Keqiang will meet with King Philippe of Belgium and hold talks with Prime Minister Charles Michel. The leaders of the two countries will have in-depth exchanges of views on China-Belgium relations, China-EU relations and international and regional issues of shared interest. Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Charles Michel will also jointly attend the Geely-Volvo auto show and witness the signing of a series of bilateral cooperation documents. Premier Li Keqiang’s visit will deepen the traditional friendship between China and Belgium, expand all-round friendly cooperation and promote China-Belgium relations to a new high.
Li Chenggang said that China and Belgium are important economic and trade partners. Belgium is China’s seventh largest trade partner in the EU and the twelfth largest source of investment, and China is Belgium’s second largest trade partner outside the EU. The Chinese and Belgian economies are highly complementary to each other, and enjoy great potentials and broad prospects for cooperation in such fields as chemical industry, food, finance, microelectronics, bio-medicine, energy conservation, environmental protection and life sciences.
Wang Chao pointed out that there are no fundamental contradictions or geopolitical conflicts between China and the EU. The two sides share extensive common interests and similar positions in actively advocating free trade, firmly safeguarding the international multilateral trade system and enhancing global economic governance. The strengthening cooperation between the EU and China as well as between the EU members and China will undoubtedly be an important and stable force under the current international situation and inject positive energy into world economic recovery. During Premier Li Keqiang’s visit, the leaders of China, Germany, the EU, and Belgium will jointly send out a voice of promoting the construction of an open world economy, supporting trade liberalization and investment facilitation, and safeguarding world and regional peace and stability. China-Germany, China-EU and China-Belgium relations will enjoy broader prospects in the future development as long as each side could uphold the spirit of mutual respect, seeking common ground while shelving differences, and equality and mutual benefit, take each other’s core interests and major concerns into full consideration, and manage, control and resolve divergences in a constructive manner. It is believed that under joint efforts of all parties, Premier Li Keqiang’s visit is bound to gain a complete success and yield significant achievements.