The upcoming summit between China and the European Union (EU) is expected to further boost bilateral strategic trust and mutually beneficial cooperation, as well as point out the direction for the development of bilateral relations in the post-COVID-19 era, said a senior Chinese diplomat on Sunday.

Zhang Ming, head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, told Xinhua that the 22nd China-EU Summit, which will be held on Monday through video link, is set to be an important occasion to discuss how to make the bilateral relations more productive and substantive in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The summit will be the first of its kind after the inauguration of the new EU leaders last year, and the highest-level bilateral meeting since the coronavirus outbreak, said Zhang.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, “we have reached out to each other in times of need and joined forces to promote global cooperation in expertise sharing, vaccine and medicine development,” Zhang said.

With the pandemic still raging, China and the EU need to jointly support the World Health Organization playing the leading role, step up information and experience sharing, speed up vaccine and medicine development, and increase the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in order to contain the spread of the virus as quickly as possible, said Zhang.

“No one is safe, until everyone is safe,” Zhang said.

As the world is faced with increasing unilateralism, it is of utmost importance to strengthen global response to health crisis and improve public health governance on the basis of multilateralism, noted Zhang, suggesting that China and the EU should explore tripartite cooperation with Africa so as to help African countries fight against the virus.

Rejecting the term of “systemic rivalry” between China and the EU, Zhang said the interaction between the two sides should be a positive win-win cycle rather than “a knockout match, which allows only one winner.”

He said that the nature of China-EU relations featuring win-win cooperation remains unchanged and there is no fundamental conflict between China and the EU.

The two economies are interdependent and the two sides should open fast-track travel services so as to facilitate resumption of work and keep supply chains stable, Zhang said.

“China and the EU account for one third of global GDP and each has a huge stake in the other side,” Zhang said. “The world is looking to us to steer the course of post-COVID-19 recovery in a spirit of openness and cooperation.”