Wang Hua on Party-to-Party Relations between China and Europe
Wang Hua is the Director-General of the Division for Western Europe at the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The following is translated from Chinese at:/Article/bwzf/201110/4212.asp
Q: Thank you for taking time to answer some questions for the websites of Institute of European Studies of CASS
A: It’s my pleasure to accept the interview and also my delight to share my views and insights on the questions you are interested in.
Q: The trade and business relations between China and Europe have witnessed rapid development in recent years. As a barometer of political dimension, what about the recent development of exchanges of the political parties between China and Europe?
A: China and Europe have established diplomatic relations for more than 30 years. Through our joint efforts the relations between China and European countries have ascended to a new stage and have blazed a new trail of comprehensive, rapid, positive and sound development. The enhanced bilateral exchanges in such areas as politics, trade, science and technology, education and humanities have greatly promoted mutual understanding and communication between each other and are of great benefit to the well-being of Chinese and European peoples.
As the ruling party of China, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has always regarded party-to-party diplomacy as an integral part of its overall national diplomacy with a view to promote a sound and stable relationship between different nations. Since the beginning of reform and opening-up, CPC has been quite active in its diplomatic initiative, pursuing a varied diplomacy rich in forms and content. The four principles guiding the party-to-party relations, i.e., self-reliance, equality, mutual respect and non-intervention, have gained wide understanding and the approval of the international community. We have by far established various kinds of contact and undertaken bilateral exchanges with over 160 countries and regions and have maintained cordial relationship with over 600 political parties and organizations. CPC has also held candid talks on questions of common interest through various means and channels and at different levels, all of which have helped push forward an all-round development of bilateral relations conducive to world peace and common prosperity.
Against such a general background, the party-to-party relationship between China and Europe is forging ahead in an all-round, dynamic and thorough-going way. China has so far conducted various kinds of exchanges and developed cooperative relationship with 6 major parties of the European Parliament and 5 major regional parties and over 170 parties in Europe.
Q: What are the possible opportunities and challenges facing the party-to-party exchanges between China and Europe?
A: The world at present is undergoing great changes and transformations, confronted with many global issues. The world situation is now also witnessing profound changes with the financial crisis still raging and the world economic recovery faltering. Both China and Europe still faces many uncertain factors, thus catapulting international structural change in the post-crisis era and global governance to the top of agenda. What are the best ways to confront the crisis, to maintain stability, to develop the economy, to achieve economic structural changes and to effect the readjustment of economic development? These and many such questions are worthy of our attention.
China is the largest developing country, and EU is the most developed group of countries. Under the new circumstances China and Europe share more common interests and so have more strategic significance to increase our mutual cooperation. Naturally as an important political force in Sino-Europe relations, party-to-party cooperation between China and Europe will certainly march into a new active period as we both are faced with new emerging challenges and development opportunities.
Q: Then what measures have the parties in China and Europe taken to respond to such challenges?
A: In the face of financial crisis both China and EU will be undergoing profound changes. As for China, it has maintained a stable and rapid economic growth in the process of managing financial crisis. As for EU, after the Lisbon Treaty came into effect, the integration process of Europe has entered a new critical stage, so relations between China and EU is going well beyond the bilateral framework and begins to take on an increasing global and strategic significance. It is all the more urgent and imperative for us to conduct a wide range of dialogues, to enhance coordination and to promote cooperation between the parties of China and Europe. In this sense, it will be of more significance to hold discussions on the reformation of the international economic and financial system and global governance between our two parties in the post crisis era.
Party-to-party exchanges between China and EU is also an important component part of all-round strategic partnership. The China-Europe high-level political forum, which came into being two years ago can be interpreted as a joint action to enhance mutual understanding, expand consensus and promote cooperation.
Q: Can you give us a brief introduction to this forum?
A: Sure, I will. On the occasion of the celebration of the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Europe in late May 2010, CPC proposed and successfully hosted the first China-Europe high-level political forum, which marked the first ever high-level political talk between the political parties of China and Europe. It is also viewed as an important event in promoting exchanges between CPC and European parties and an important activity in China’s overall diplomacy. The theme of the forum is “Global Challenges and Sino-EU Cooperation”. Delegates at the forum were divided into three panels and held extensive discussions on “International Economic and Financial System Reform and Global Governance in the Post-crisis Era”, “Climate Change and Environmental Issues”, “Sino-EU Relations and the Significance of Cooperation between Sino-European Parties in Promoting China-Europe Relations”.
Representatives from the CPC and 50 other major European political parties convened to discuss questions on improving China-EU relations and ways to manage state affairs. They held extensive multilateral dialogues based on the spirit of mutual respect and seeking common ground while putting aside differences.
In May 2012, we successfully held the first session of the Second Forum in Beijing and Tianjin, featuring the theme of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan and Europe 2020 Strategy, new opportunity and prospect of China-Europe cooperation. Leaders from thirty-one European parties, one European regional party and five European parliamentary organizations attended the convention, at which they sought to have extensive exchange of views with the CPC on development concepts, development framework and development policy so as to better facilitate mutual understanding and promote cooperation between China and Europe to a new stage. They also had many rounds of discussion on the future strategy of development and set a special panel on “The Current Situation and Prospect for Sino-European Economic and Trade Cooperation”, which showcased the pragmatic nature of the convention under a new context. We have also hosted business talks for entrepreneurs, at which more than 70 enterprises from China and Europe participated in the discussion on one-to-one basis. Entrepreneurs from both sides have briefed each other about their own business and put forward suggestions for the promotion of Sino-Europe business and trade relations in the future.
Delegates from European countries highly appreciated the accomplishments of the forum, which in their view conform to the development of international relations and Sino-EU cooperation. It has fully reflected the spirit of innovation and the pragmatic and confident approach of the Chinese Communist Party. The European side also expressed hopes for planning the second convention of the forum in Brussels in November this year. Hopefully, the forum will become an institutionalized mechanism and pave the way for smooth development of Sino-EU relations in the future.
Q: How do you view the importance of academic research in helping promote exchanges between the Chinese Communist Party and European parties?
A: As the Chinese saying goes, “there is no right to speak without investigation” and “you can have a clear understating of the situation if you know yourself and opponent”. In the same vein, as you know, the exchanges between different parties takes on political significance with clear-cut principles and well-defined aims. So, earnest and meticulous investigation is called for in promoting exchanges between CPC and European parties.
As the most preeminent research institute in social sciences in China, CASS boasts a great number of scholars well known for their academic achievement and scholastic contributions. It has the largest pool of talented professionals and is a key social science institute with many kinds of disciplines and distinctive characteristics. It is a state level think tank and brain trust and has provided many valuable forward-looking suggestions for the central government.
I am also glad to see that the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPC has maintained close contact with CASS. In order to further promote exchanges with political parties of Europe, your efforts to provide more intellectual support in this regard will be highly appreciated.