On 24 July, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas via video link.
Wang said that since the start of COVID-19, leaders of the two countries have maintained close communication through phone calls and video conference, pointing the way forward for China-Germany and China-EU relations. He urged the two sides to act upon the political consensus reached between the leaders and ensure the sound and steady growth of bilateral relations. He also called on both countries to jointly advocate multilateralism, resist acts of unilateralism and inject more stability and positive energy to the world. To that end, Wang put forward the following three proposals:
First, restart China-Germany dialogue at all levels and in all areas and make good use of all dialogue and consultation mechanisms through proactive and flexible means. The two foreign ministries can play their part in restoring such exchanges.
Second, resume practical cooperation as quickly as possible and jointly safeguard the stability of global industrial and supply chains. Being among the first in the world to set up a “fast track” arrangement, the two countries should further coordinate their COVID-19 response efforts to create better conditions for expanding personnel exchanges and increasing flights.
Third, intensify interaction and coordination in multilateral affairs. The two countries should strengthen cooperation on UN-related matters, implement the consensus reached at the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit and stimulate international cooperation against COVID-19, including assisting Africa and other less developed regions in fighting the virus and enhancing collaboration and experience sharing in vaccine research and development.
Wang stressed that China always takes a positive and constructive view of the EU and China-EU relations, and supports European integration and a stronger EU playing an even bigger role in the world. Wang pointed out that the key to sound China-EU relations is for both sides to have a comprehensive, objective and accurate perception of the other side. Wang reaffirmed that the two sides have much more common understandings than differences, and far more areas of cooperation than competition.
Wang underscored that the engagement between the two sides should be a positive interaction that benefits both, not a zero-sum game with one side taking all the benefits. China and the EU are cooperation partners, not systemic rivals. China looks forward to further elevating its relations with the EU during Germany’s EU presidency, and will work with the EU to plan for the major political agenda in bilateral relations for the next stage, step up cooperation on climate change, and send a positive signal of China-EU cooperation in upholding multilateralism and improving global governance.
Maas extended sympathy to the Chinese people affected by the recent floods. He stressed that Germany highly values its relations with China. In the face of the global challenge posed by COVID-19, the two countries have maintained close communication and fruitful dialogue and cooperation. Germany commends China’s commitment to make the COVID-19 vaccine a global public good when available, and stands ready to strengthen vaccine R&D collaboration with China to improve vaccine accessibility.
He reaffirmed Germany’s support for multilateralism and WHO, and pledged to significantly increase funding support to the organization. The German side will make the best use of existing dialogue and consultation mechanisms with China to strengthen strategic dialogue and communication, and work with China on post-COVID-19 economic recovery. He called for the increase of commercial and charter flights with sound containment measures in place to facilitate essential travels between the two countries.
He stressed that during its EU presidency, Germany will further commit itself to the growth of EU-China relations and work with China to plan for the upcoming important engagement between European and Chinese leaders, enhance coordination on climate change, and strengthen third-party cooperation in Africa.
The two sides also exchanged views on the China-EU investment agreement negotiations, and agreed to speed up negotiations for the early signing of a comprehensive, balanced and high-level investment agreement to cope with the rising trend of unilateralism and protectionism.