The Conceptual Gap on Soft Power between China and Europe and Its Impact on Bilateral Relations
China-EU relations have enjoyed unprecedented progress over the last two decades. According to the Chinese vice premier Li Keqiang, “China and the EU shall, from a strategic height and long-term perspective, chart out the future for the bilateral relations, strengthen strategic mutual trust, constantly explore the convergence of common interests between the two sides, properly address each other’s major concerns and differences, and promote China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership to maintain long-term, stable and sound development.”1 The absence of fundamental geopolitical conflicts between China and Europe in the post-Cold War era has facilitated the process of engagement. Since 2004, the EU has been China’s leading trading partner, and bilateral trade more than doubled between 2003 and 2009. At the same time, bilateral relations also suffered some setbacks, with the significant decline in Europe’s view of China because of open disputes on a number of issues — Tibet, climate change, and others — important to both sides.
KeywordsForeign Policy Soft Power Bilateral Relation Public Diplomacy Confucius Institute
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