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Interview: China ambassador calls for stronger China-EU economic ties

Release Time:2024-02-26 16:02 Article Source:Xinhua News Agency

By Maria Spiliopoulou, Chen Gang

ATHENS, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- China's ambassador to Greece stressed the importance of enhanced economic cooperation between Europe and China and emphasized collaboration over competition in a recent interview with Xinhua in Athens.

Ambassador Xiao Junzheng highlighted the significance of cooperation after the 5th Balkans and Black Sea Forum, which brought together 170 representatives from international organizations, governments, diplomatic missions and businesses engaged in discussions on geopolitics, regional cooperation and Mediterranean port hubs in Athens last week.

"There are indeed unsolved problems regarding China-EU trade, but generally speaking, cooperation between our two sides is much more important than competition, and consensus far outweighs differences," the ambassador told Xinhua.

Xiao emphasized that China, like Europe, is a creator, beneficiary and defender of the existing international order. Both sides support multipolarity and oppose bloc confrontation, the new Cold War, decoupling and severing supply chains.

China advocates advancing a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization, which is responding to the common needs of all countries and realizing win-win situations as much as possible, he added.

According to Eurostat, the total trade volume between the EU and China in 2022 surged by 23 percent, reaching 856.3 billion euros (910.6 billion U.S. dollars), with China being the EU's largest import source and the third-largest export destination.

So far, China and EU have established more than 70 consultation and dialogue mechanisms, he added.

Regarding the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the ambassador said the EU's Global Gateway strategy is not contradictory to China's initiative.

Highlighting the success of the China-Greece collaboration under BRI, Xiao mentioned the Port of Piraeus as a signature project. Through joint efforts, the port has become a major European port and the leading port in the Mediterranean, breaking operating performance records from 2021 to 2023.

China and Europe "can explore in-depth strategic alignment, which will complement each other's advantages, conduct trilateral cooperation in Africa and thus promoting global development," he said.

According to data released last year, Belt and Road cooperation has galvanized up to 1 trillion U.S. dollars of investment globally and created more than 3,000 projects and 420,000 jobs for the participating countries in the past decade.

The World Bank has estimated that by 2030, BRI-related investments could lift 7.6 million out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty.

Xiao also suggested discussions on building a multidimensional connectivity network between China and Europe, creating conditions for a new logistics corridor across the Eurasian continent.

The Belt and Road cooperation is not what some countries call a "Trojan horse" but an international cooperation platform based on extensive consultation, and joint contribution for shared benefits, serving to promote the building of a community of shared future, said the ambassador.