Yang Jiechi: Building Sino-European Ties to a Much Higher Tier
In the eyes of the Chinese, France is a country with a rich intellectual and cultural heritage, advanced economy and state-of-the-art science and technology. It is a country that carries considerable weight in Europe and the world. French scholars of international studies are full of new ideas and inspirational thoughts.
Last year, at a forum on China-EU relations, a European scholar raised a very important question: Can EU-China relations be lifted to a higher level through strategic innovation? I believe that given the evolution of China-EU relations in recent years, this question is on the mind of many Europeans, especially those who specialize in international relations. It is in essence a question about how one should view China’s development and China-EU relations. Today, I would like to answer this question from China’s perspective, and I hope my observations will be of some help to you.
Over the past 60 years since the founding of the People’s Republic, and especially over the past 30 years since the reform and opening-up, we have found a development path suited to China’s national conditions. Thanks to this path, China has gone through a sea change. Our economic and overall national strength has steadily increased, people’s livelihood has markedly improved, and the country’s international standing has risen. We are keenly aware, however, that China remains a developing country, and it lags behind more than 100 countries in per capita GDP. To achieve basic modernization, we have to work long and hard.