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Deepening China-Denmark Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and Building a Model for China-Europe Cooperation

Joint article by Wang Yi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China and Martin Lidegaard, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on May 11th 2015.

China and Denmark, far apart as they are, have a long history of friendly exchanges. On 11 May 1950, Denmark established diplomatic relations with China, making it one of the first among western countries and opening new prospects in China-Denmark relations.

Over the past 65 years, this relationship has been maturing, underpinned by ever-strengthening mutual trust. In 2008, the two countries established the comprehensive strategic partnership. In 2012 and 2014, our two heads of state exchanged visits, bringing China-Denmark relations to a new height.

The mutually beneficial and practical cooperation between the two countries keeps growing. In 2014, our two-way trade exceeded US$10 billion, more than 3,500 times the figure in 1950, making China Denmark’s largest trading partner in Asia. Denmark is amongst the European countries with the largest trade volume and largest investment in China per capita. More than 40 cities, regions and provinces are engaged in direct cooperation.

Our people-to-people and cultural exchanges have also developed. Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish master of fairy tales, is a household name in China. The “Little Mermaid” made its first overseas debut at the World Expo in Shanghai. China’s “Happy Spring Festival” and the Danish Cultural Season have been warmly received by people of the two countries. The Sino-Danish Center for Research and Education in Beijing acts as a platform for exchanges between students, scholars and experts. The newly established culture centers of our two countries and the Confucius Institutes now act as new bridges for our cultural exchanges.

Our relations have assumed an increasing strategic importance that goes beyond the bilateral scope. China values Denmark’s role in EU and commends it for consistently championing free trade in EU’s trade relations. Denmark supports that China and EU reach an investment agreement. China and Denmark have increased cooperation and coordination in international efforts such as peacekeeping and fighting pirates off the Somali coast, and both joined the transportation of Syrian chemical weapons and related escort service. We are united in condemning terrorist activities in any manifestation. We will continue to jointly fight against piracy and strengthen consultation and exchanges in counter-terrorism.

Over the past 65 years, China-Denmark relations, in spite of some twists and turns, have kept moving forward steadily. We have enormous internal drive and space to improve cooperation. Looking ahead, we will continue working together and take innovative steps to tap the potential of our comprehensive strategic partnership.

Today, we take the 65th anniversary of our diplomatic ties as an opportunity to put our relations on a more solid footing. We will stay committed to the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, take account of each other’s core interests and major concerns and properly handle our differences in the spirit of seeking common ground. We will continue our exchanges on human rights and cooperation based on this principle, and strengthen cooperation on rule of law and transparency. We support the exchanges by young people of both countries, and will encourage cultural exchanges and cooperation. We will be sincere friends and close partners.

On the basis of the economic and social transition in each country, we will upgrade China-Denmark cooperation. According to a joint work programme, we will consolidate and expand bilateral cooperation in such traditional areas as maritime transportation, energy, clothes and pharmaceuticals. We will support cooperation between our companies, universities and research institutes in technological innovation as the mainstay of our practical cooperation. We will share technologies and experiences in food and agriculture to promote sustainable and effective development of agriculture in the two countries, and provide quality and safe food to consumers. In green economy and ecological areas, we will learn from each other and continuously explore new growth areas and move towards the goal of innovation and manufacturing through bilateral cooperation.

Through the China-Denmark comprehensive strategic partnership we support the four partnerships of peace, growth, reform and civilization between China and Europe. China and Denmark will work together to implement the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda, step up efforts to negotiate the China-Europe investment agreement and facilitate personnel exchanges. China welcomes Denmark to join in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. We will work on the Belt and Road initiative in the context of China-EU cooperation and facilitate the flow of personnel, business, goods, capital and technology across the Eurasian continent. We are ready to actively promote cooperation between China and Northern European countries and enrich the content of China-Europe cooperation.

This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and the end of the Second World War. Both China and Denmark take the opportunity to strengthen cooperation on platforms of the United Nations and other multilateral institutions for the international community to jointly tackle global challenges. We will promote the new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation so as to uphold world peace and common development. China and Denmark support the essential role of the UN in handling global affairs, and we support justified and necessary reform to the UN on the basis of the broadest consensus. We recognize climate change is one of the most pertinent challenges for our societies. China and Denmark will strengthen dialogues and exchanges in climate change policies, and seek a truly global and legally binding climate agreement at COP21 in Paris later this year. We will strengthen our common efforts towards sustainable energy systems, and extend our cooperation into fields like energy efficiency, wind energy and water technology. We also agree to assist the development of renewable energy technologies in Africa under the framework of the Agreement of Renewable Energy Technology Transfer with the UNDP.

A lot has happened during the last 65 years, and we are determined to move our cooperation further. We will work hand in hand to add more substance to the China-Denmark comprehensive strategic partnership, so that it will become a model of cooperation between countries with different historical backgrounds, social systems and development stages, and set a pattern for growing relations between China and Nordic countries, China and Europe and even China and the Western countries at large.