In contrast to the US, which has not only tried to sabotage international efforts to resolve the Iran nuclear issue, address climate change and contain the novel coronavirus but also sought to denigrate China while doing so, the EU has invariably made great efforts to work with China to uphold multilateral agreements. Though there are differences with China on some issues, the EU and its member states have made it clear they are unwilling to join the US in a repeat of the Cold War.

The EU is now China’s largest trading partner, and China is the EU’s second-largest trading partner. But beyond their burgeoning economic relations, the two sides’ shared commitment to political dialogue reflects their common recognition that together they can exert significant influence on an array of issues as they both seek to uphold multilateralism, free trade, fairer global governance and concrete actions to avert the looming existential threat of runaway climate change.

Though the policies of the EU’s two major trade partners — the US and China — have become increasingly divergent over the past months thanks to the US administration’s policies aimed at containing China, the EU has enough reasons not to jump on the anti-China bandwagon.

With the EU economy having shrunk 2.5% and 14% in the first and second quarters of the year respectively due to the pandemic, and China’s economy rebounding 3.2% in the second quarter after contracting 6.8% in the first, and with it having effectively brought the virus under control in the country, China is a partner the EU cannot afford to ignore right now. Their economic ties offer the two sides the motivation to accelerate bilateral investment talks, which would also help reduce the trust deficit that has arisen over Chinese investments in Europe as a result of the smear campaign launched by the US administration.

Reviving and strengthening their co-operation will provide a tremendous boost to global supply chains and the world economy, and consolidate the confidence of the rest of the world, which has seen too much disservice done to the contrary by the wayward US administration. /Beijing, September 14

China Daily

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