Qin Gang’s visit corroborates the strengthening China-Europe ties

By Imran Khalid | Gwadar Pro May 15, 2023

Editor's Note: The writer is a freelance columnist on international affairs based in Karachi, Pakistan. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.


As he wrapped up his three-nation trip to Europe on May 12, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang expounded upon the need to ensure the stability and vitality of the ever-evolving relationship between China and Europe amid changing and volatile international situation.

"China and Europe are two globally influential powers, two vast markets, and two great civilizations. I deeply felt, through the visit, a strong willingness of the European side to enhance communication, coordination, and to promote mutually beneficial cooperation with China," Qin said when asked about how to maintain sound development of China-Europe relations at a joint press conference with his Norwegian counterpart Anniken Huitfeldt.

During the last three years, China and Europe have faced a considerable challenge in maintaining direct communication and exchange, given the rapidly changing landscape of international politics. This "disconnect" between the two sides can be attributed, in no small part, to two major events: the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The resulting void has been a cause for concern, prompting Beijing to take proactive steps towards engagement not only with Europe but also with other regions. Recognizing the significance of this expanding gap, China has remained resolute in its efforts to forge closer ties with the European continent. In doing so, it aims to bridge the divide and ensure that lines of communication remain open and active. These efforts will be critical in shaping the future of China-Europe relations and in ensuring that both parties are able to navigate the complexities of the geopolitical arena with confidence and mutual respect.

Qi Gang’s recent sojourn betokens the intention of Beijing to rekindle its ties with the European Union, as the bloc endeavors to extricate itself from the long shadow of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. During this trip to Europe, Qin Gang, in his extensive discussions with counterparts and senior leadership in Paris, Berlin and Oslo, effectively conveyed China’s foreign policy of religious adherence to mutual respect, equal treatment, mutual benefit and win-win results, and in seeking common ground while reserving differences.

"China has always seen Europe as a comprehensive strategic partner and has always shown clear support for Europe's efforts to strengthen strategic autonomy and its active role on the international stage. China-EU relations should neither target, be attached to, nor be limited by a third party," said Qin.

Qin’s trip has also corroborated the fact that China and Europe are aligned in their opposition to the divisive and isolationist doctrine of "decoupling and breaking chains."

Qin's recent foray into Europe is being hailed by Western media as a major diplomatic triumph for China, owing to the overwhelmingly effusive and cordial reception he received from European leadership.

Apparently, Washington is not comfortable with the growing closeness between China and Europe, and the mounting inclination of European leaders to collaborate with China in the search for a political resolution to the Ukraine crisis. The tenacity with which Beijing has been pursuing ties with European leadership has caught Washington off guard, leaving it scrambling to muffle China's renewed overtures to Europe. 

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