China and the European Union have an "inescapable common future", with no alternative but to co-operate more closely for the sake of their peoples' well-being and prosperity as well as world peace and stability, writes Stanley Crossick on Blogactiv, quoting from his latest book "China-EU: A common future".
“No big issue on the world's agenda - be it energy, the environment, climate change or security - can be solved without China's active participation", Crossick states.
China's re-emergence as a first-rank economic and political power leaves the EU with no choice other than to seek to upgrade its already good relationship with China and transform it into a "strategic partnership transcending trade and investment issues", the author claims.
Crossick is confident that such an upgraded relationship will "lead internationally to diplomatic complicity and internally to a civil society dialogue" in China.
"After 30 years of interaction and cooperation, China and the EU are at a crucial crossroads," the blog says, referring to the "historic times" signified by the arrival of new political leaders in the EU, giving extra relevance to this moment of opportunity.
Moreover, China is preparing to welcome the world to the Olympic Games this summer and China's transition continues with the World Expo in two years' time. Crossick particularly refers to the country's intention to care more for its poorest citizens, while at the same time promote space exploration and industrial innovation.
However, improving internal cohesion and regional stability will remain on top of the agenda for China's current and future leaders, the blogger believes.
Crossick concludes by saying that in pursuing a closer relationship, the EU must not refrain from highlighting China's deficiencies, including the country's unsatisfactory compliance with its WTO obligations, particularly in terms of access to the services market.
The new strategic partnership should focus on closer co-operation in the field of energy and development – primarily towards Africa, but not exclusively so – and promoting better mutual understanding through person-to-person exchange at all levels, Crossick believes.
"Mutual understanding helps working together, and working together builds trust," he states.