Europe should not shy away from working with China, Wang says

BEIJING (Reuters) – Europe should not be afraid of working with China because of competition, foreign minister Wang Yi said at a press briefing on Friday with his French counterpart in Beijing.

“China’s position is clear, we will adhere to our support of Europe’s strategic autonomy,” Wang said when asked about China’s view of its relationship with Europe.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna was visiting the Chinese capital, and earlier met Premier Li Qiang with whom she discussed a broad range of topics including rebalancing France’s economic relationship with the world’s second largest economy.

China, facing trade issues with the European Union, has also been called out for its non-transparent laws on foreign businesses operating in the country.

“We will listen to the voices of European businesses, earnestly solve problems of foreign investors in China,” Wang said.

European officials have repeatedly vowed to reduce economic dependence on China in critical sectors.

“Of course there will be competition in cooperation, but we should not be afraid of cooperation because of competition. The biggest risk we need to get rid of is the uncertainty brought by broad politicisation,” Wang said, adding that the dependency most in need of reduction is protectionism.

Wang said China maintains normal friendly relations with all countries including Iran and Russia, as well as France.

“We believe that as long as China and Europe join hands, there will be no camp confrontation, there will be no world divisions and there will be no new Cold War,” he said.

Wang also said he hopes to deepen traditional exchanges with France in civil nuclear and aerospace and explore emerging areas such as education and scientific research.

(Reporting by Laurie Chen, Ethan Wang and Bernard Orr; editing by Christina Fincher)