by Liu Chang
BEIJING, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- A stronger and closer China-European Union (EU) partnership would be of tremendous help to the European region's painful wrestling with its chronic debt and the efforts worldwide to jump-start a more robust global economic recovery.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Brussels on Wednesday to attend the annual meeting with EU leaders, and both sides should take the summit as a unique opportunity to settle trade disputes and work together to move their all-round cooperation up a notch.
For the past decade, apart from frequent contacts between their senior leadership and growing exchanges among peoples of all walks of life, China and the EU countries have also groomed a rather remarkable expansion in trade cooperation.
The EU has now become China's top trading partner and its largest export market. Statistically speaking, last year saw two-way trade between China and the EU quadruple that of 10 years ago, to 567.2 billion U.S. dollars.
The regional bloc is also a key technology provider and important source of foreign investment for China.
However, this fast-growing trade has already suffered a big blow because of the region's mounting debt problems, which began in Greece almost three years ago.
The European Central Bank's recent bond-buying and the German Court's approval of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) are still far from calming the widespread fears of the bloc's final disintegration, not to mention boosting market confidence in the region's vibrant future economic resurgence in the long run.
If no further substantial actions are taken, the hovering debt problem, like a huge black hole, is certainly going to drag down the economic recovery of Europe and even jeopardize the momentum for global economic growth.
As one of Europe's key partners and a responsible member of the international community, Beijing has been fully aware that tackling the debt is not just Europe's business in this economically globalized world.
As promised, China will continue to play a positive role in helping soothe Europe's debt concerns through expanding its contribution to the International Monetary Fund, purchasing European bonds, and increasing its investment in the region.
In the meantime, both sides can not afford to allow their win-win cooperation to be undermined by trade disputes, which is commonplace for almost every bilateral trade partnership globally.
They should also work together to oppose all forms of trade protectionism, and to prevent these disputes from further escalating into destructive trade wars.
Therefore, the best possible option available to both China and the EU is to resolve their trade disputes via candid negotiations, including the recent alleged dumping of Chinese solar products, and the China-EU summit presents as a valuable platform for this to happen.
And it is encouraging that German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday said all EU nations wanted to solve the solar panel issue through political dialogue.
As the global economy looks on, hoping for future directions at one of the most critical junctures in history, it is in the best interests of China and the EU nations to properly handle their differences and come together to strengthen a partnership that could benefit both sides.
Special Report: Premier Wen attends China-EU summit, visits Belgium