On December 2, 2011, the fifth Lanting Forum with the theme of China-EU Relations in a Changing World was held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Around 240 people, including Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying, foreign diplomats in China, business delegates, renowned experts and scholars and media representatives attended the event. The Forum is co-hosted by China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU) and the Public Diplomacy Office of the Information Department of the MFA and chaired by Qin Yaqing, Vice President of the CFAU.
Fu delivered a keynote speech on the development of China-EU partnership in a changing world. From a historical and realistic perspective and based on her own experience, Fu elaborated the current state and development prospects of China-EU relations and relevant Chinese policy. Fu said that the policy of Chinese government of being committed to supporting and promoting the China-EU cooperation remains consistent. European countries are the first ones within the Western camp to recognize and approach New China as well as China's important partners in the process of reform and opening up. They have also gained good return from China's rapid development. China and the EU so far have established multiple levels of dialogue mechanisms covering more than 60 areas.
She stressed that China always takes the development of relations with Europe as a strategic direction of its diplomacy. Faced with the European sovereign debt crisis, China-EU relations braved difficulties instead of backing up and the bilateral cooperation has grown to unprecedented width and depth. The level and frequency of mutual visits between China and European countries this year have both exceeded last year. The efforts of coping with the crisis have brought the Chinese and European leaders closer to each other. President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese national leaders have conducted in-depth discussions with the EU and European national leaders about the situation and countermeasures on many bilateral and multilateral occasions, displaying China's sincere care and support for Europe. The growth of China-EU trade in adversity and the strong economic and trade cooperation with China have helped European companies to overcome the impact of the crisis. China's investment in Europe has started, which opens new room for the bilateral economic cooperation.
She pointed out that the crisis has exposed the problem of trust between China and Europe. The Chinese people heard the voice full of contradictions from Europe as the G20 Summit this year was about to be held. The cooperation between China and EU is mutually beneficial. To strengthen the bilateral economic cooperation is what Europe urgently needs in order to overcome the difficulties. But such normal, helpful and healthy cooperation frequently encounters negative political interpretation, which reflects the suspicion and exclusion mentality of some Europeans towards China. It also hinders Europe from overcoming the obstacles to developing relations with China.
She made three points of views on the future development of China-EU relations: first, to raise the awareness of mutual respect and equal treatment; second, to consolidate the belief in mutual benefit and enhance the bilateral economic and trade cooperation to a higher level; third, to actively promote cultural exchanges and increase the understanding between the Chinese and the European people. So long as the two sides make efforts side by side and adhere to mutual trust and respect, China and the EU will be able to build stable and lasting cooperative relations which will benefit the people and the world.
Fu also answered questions of the participants and journalists.
He Maochun, Director of the Economic and Diplomatic Research Center of Tsinghua University, Chen Xin, Director of the Economic Research Division of European Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Yan Jin, Deputy Director of the School of International Studies of Renmin University and Lin Deshan, Research Fellow of the Marxism Research Division of the Central Compilation & Translation Bureau made speeches respectively on China-EU economic and trade cooperation, European debt crisis, EU's position and role and how to strengthen China-EU cultural exchanges and answered questions of the audiences.