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Review of China-EU Political Relations
2003/10/10

China established official relations with the European Economic Community on 6 May 1975 and with the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic Energy Community on 1 November 1983. By then, China had realized the comprehensive normalization of relations with the European Community. From the establishment of relations between China and the European Community to the end of 1980s, relations between the two had developed smoothly. Chinese leaders including Premier, Vice Premier, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and State Councilor all visited the European Commission or the European Parliament. Mr. Roy Jankins, Mr. Gaston Thorn, Mr. Jacques Delors, successive Presidents of the European Commission, and Mr. Emilio Colombo, Madame Simone Veil and Mr. Pieter Dankert, successive Presidents of the European Parliament, all visited China. China's National People's Congress had established a mechanism of regular exchanges of visits with the European Parliament.

The European Community imposed sanction on China in the wake of the political turbulence in Beijing in June 1989 and China-Europe relations witnessed serious setbacks. From the later half of 1990, members of the European Community began to lift sanction and China-Europe relations began to restore and improve. In the end of 1994, the European Union (EU) announced the removal of all sanctions against China except in arms sale. In June that year, China and the European Union reached an agreement on strengthening political dialogues between them including annual meetings between Chinese Foreign Minister and the Foreign Ministers of the EU "Troika" during the UN General Assembly, meetings between Chinese Foreign Minister and diplomatic envoys of the EU and its members in China every half year, meetings between the Foreign Minister of the EU Presidency and China's ambassador to this country every half a year, and political consultations between experts at DG's level from time to time.

In 1995 and 1996, the European Union passed A Long Term Policy for China-Europe Relations and New Strategy Towards China, calling for more importance attached to the role and influence of China and a strategy of "constructive engagement" so as to strengthen the cooperation and dialogues between the two sides in all fields including the economic and trade field. The documents restated that EU's China Policy was complete, independent and long-term-oriented. In 1998, the EU further adopted measures to improve its relations with China including not to tabling or co-sponsoring any anti-China motion in the UN Commission on Human Rights, amending its anti-dumping regulations and removing China from the list of non-market economies. Through its new document Building a Comprehensive Partnership with China, it further calls for enhanced China-Europe relations, deepened cooperation and exchanges between the two sides in all fields and China's entry into the WTO.

Recent years have witnessed sound political relations between the two sides, frequent exchanges of high level visits and active political consultations at all levels. State leaders including President Jiang Zemin, Chairman Li Peng of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Premier Zhu Rongji and Chairman Li Ruihan of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference visited the EU member states. Leaders of most EU member states also visited China. In April 1998, the First China-EU Summit Meeting was held in London whereby Premier Zhu Rongji met with Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, the then EU Presidency, and President Jacques Santer of the European Commission. They issued a joint statement that laid out their consensus on establishing a 21st-century-oriented and constructive China-Europe partnership of long-term stability and institutionalized the annual China-EU summit mechanism. In 1998, the Italian President, heads of government of seven European countries including the UK and France and President Jacques Santer of the European Commission visited China respectively, making the year the busiest in terms of frequency of visits by leaders of the EU and its members. In 1999, leaders of the EU and its member states including Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands, Finnish President, German Chancellor, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and Vice President Sir Leon Brittan of the European Commission visited China. In addition, political consultations and dialogues at different levels have also been carried out between China and the EU and its member states including five rounds of political consultations at the DG level between China and EU since 1994, seven rounds of China-EU human rights dialogue, three judicial seminars and two seminars on the rights and interests of women since 1995. China's National People's

Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference have also maintained normal exchanges with the European Parliament and the EU Economical and Social Council.
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