(Yicai Global) May 9 -- China and the European Union, EU, face new stages in their economies and have more cooperation opportunities now than before in fighting trade protectionism and promoting sustainable development, said the head of Chinese mission to the 28-member club.
At present, the European economy continues to pick up, and Chinese economy has also entered a new stage of high-quality development, which creates more suitable conditions and foundations for the promotion of sustainable development cooperation, said Ambassador Zhang Ming in his keynote speech at a conference on sustainable development in Europe and China, organized by the European Economic and Social Committee, a consultative body of the EU.
Zhang also called for joint efforts to fight trade protectionism. "The current environment for development is not resilient enough and cannot afford reckless acts of unilateralism and protectionism. We must firmly uphold the multilateral trading system that is free, open and non-discriminatory, and fight protectionism in any form or under any pretext. China and the EU have a joint responsibility in this regard," he said.
Ambassador Zhang, European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and other senior officials from China and the EU attended the conference "The EU, China, and the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals]: a likely alliance?"
China and the EU have broad prospects for cooperation in sustainable development, said Zhang, calling for both sides to work together to build a community of common destiny.
"We all live on the same planet and have a stake in a shared future. No one should be left behind. China is ready to join hands with the EU to open up new prospects for our cooperation in sustainable development," he said.
China and the EU should work together to promote sustainable development cooperation at the global level, he suggested, adding that the two sides should jointly safeguard global economic recovery and multilateral trade rules. The pair should jointly explore new areas for sustainable development cooperation and discuss and build a green Belt and Road by linking up with their respective development strategies, Zhang said.
"The Belt and Road Initiative and the [EU's] Sustainable Development Agenda have similar objectives, philosophies and approaches," he pointed out. The Belt and Road Initiative is President Xi Jinping's grand plan for a vast infrastructure and trade route boasting a major network of railroads, highways, ports and pipelines embracing the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.
China and Europe have many similar ideas on sustainable development, the ambassador said. In 2001, the European Union formulated its Sustainable Development Strategy, proposing to promote economic growth, social integration and sustainable development at the same time, and make sustainable development the central task of policy formulation in all sectors.
China's Sustainable Development Agenda
Zhang also outlined China's approach to sustainable development and international cooperation in the field and policies it carries out to achieve them.
"For us Chinese, our ancestors taught us that man must live in harmony with nature, and that it is not wise to drain the pond to catch fish," he said, adding, 'Nowadays, sustainable development is China's national policy. We make great efforts to conserve the environment and reconcile environmental protection with economic growth and social development.
"We have introduced the concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development. We are linking the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda with our domestic strategies. We have published a national plan to implement the SDGs, which translates each target into specific tasks," he added.
Both China and the EU believe that sustainable development is a common cause of all countries and are committed to promoting international cooperation to solve the problem of unbalanced development, Zhang noted.
China has actively promoted the international development cooperation, he said. "China is also an active contributor to the international development cooperation, especially the South-South cooperation, Zhang stated, adding, "We have established an assistance fund for South-South cooperation, the China-UN peace and development fund, and the South-South climate cooperation fund. We have set up the Academy of South-South Cooperation and Development and started enrolment accordingly."
China's envoy to the EU also elaborated on the country's "Six 100s" initiative. "We are carrying out the 'Six 100s' initiative, namely making available to other developing countries 100 poverty reduction programs, 100 agricultural cooperation projects, 100 aid-for-trade programs, 100 environmental protection and climate change programs, 100 hospitals or clinics, and 100 schools or vocational training centers."
China's newly established State International Development Cooperation Agency has attracted much attention and will become an important platform for China to promote common development and build an equal, mutually beneficial, efficient and pragmatic global development partnership.
"Last month, the China State International Development Cooperation Agency was inaugurated. It will serve as a platform for China to reach out to its global partners to promote development that benefits all," he said.
Editor: Mevlut Katik