At this week's virtual China-EU summit, the message from China was of peaceful coexistence, openness and multilateralism.
The EU focused rather more on a level playing field, and breaking down barriers to allow greater access to the Chinese market.
But both the EU and China made it very clear theirs is an ongoing dialogue – with plenty of opportunity for improved trading conditions, and a chance to come together to lead the world in the fight against its biggest challenges.
To find out, Stephen Cole spoke with Lin Goethals, Programme Director at the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels, and Wang Yiwei, Director at the Center for European Studies at Renmin University.
They both claim there is a willingness to engage from both parties – on everything from climate change to data security – and outline the hurdles that still need to be overcome.