China sees Europe as increasingly ‘rational’ about its development, says foreign minister

By Thomson Reuters Feb 21, 2024 | 6:57 PM

BEIJING (Reuters) – China said it sees Europe as increasingly viewing the country with a “rational perception,” and that Europe should “not be afraid of it,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

“I feel that Europe’s rational perception of China is increasing, believing that China’s development is in line with the logic of history and that Europe should not be afraid of it, let alone reject it,” Wang said in an interview transcript his ministry released late on Wednesday.

Wang, who recently visited and met with a host of leaders from Germany, Spain and France, told Europe that in the bloc’s move to de-risk and cut dependence, it should not eliminate cooperation or reduce mutual trust.

“Interdependence based on mutual trust is conducive to the complementary advantages of all parties and is conducive to accelerating common development,” he said in the interview with Chinese media.

Europe has been pursuing a de-risking strategy and reducing dependency on China particularly for critical minerals, citing a lesson from reliance on Russian gas which Moscow cut after its invasion of Ukraine.

The bloc has reiterated it does not mean to decouple from China.

Wang said the European side is positive about strengthening China-European Union exchanges at all levels, and is “very enthusiastic” about deepening practical cooperation.

He said Europe hopes for more concrete outcomes from cooperation in economy and trade, energy, green, digital, education and people exchanges.

“China will continue to make efforts in relaxing market access, benchmarking international trade rules, and clearing up barriers for foreigners to come to China,” Wang said.

(Reporting by Liz Lee and Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Chris Reese)