Home World EU tells China ‘variations’ have to be addressed; Italy pulls out BRI pact

EU tells China ‘variations’ have to be addressed; Italy pulls out BRI pact

EU tells China ‘variations’ have to be addressed; Italy pulls out BRI pact

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press conference at the European Union Delegation to China compound after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang in Beijing, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks throughout a press convention on the European Union Delegation to China compound after assembly with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang in Beijing, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023.
| Photo Credit: AP

EU President Ursula von der Leyen instructed Chinese chief Xi Jinping on Thursday that the bloc and its largest buying and selling companion should deal with their variations, within the first in-person EU-China summit in over 4 years.

Underlining Beijing’s challenges in getting Europe onside, news broke on the eve of the summit that Italy — the bloc’s third-largest economy — had withdrawn from its vast Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

China and the EU have ramped up diplomatic engagement this yr in an try and restore broken ties.

In opening remarks, Ms. Von der Leyen, flanked by European Council President Charles Michel and EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell, instructed Mr. Xi “there are clear imbalances and differences that we must address”.

“At times our interests coincide,” she mentioned, pointing to EU-China cooperation on synthetic intelligence and local weather change.

“When they do not, we need to address and responsibly manage the concerns that we have,” she mentioned.

Mr. Michel, in flip, mentioned the bloc was searching for a “stable and mutually beneficial” relationship with China.

A day earlier than the assembly in Beijing, Italy mentioned it had formally withdrawn from the BRI, a central pillar of Mr. Xi’s bid to broaden China’s clout abroad.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has lengthy been against Italy’s participation in an initiative considered by many as an try by Beijing to purchase political affect — and whose financial advantages to Rome have been restricted.

Asked about that call on Thursday, Beijing slammed the “smearing” of the venture.

‘Zero belief’

The EU hopes conferences on Thursday will even provide an opportunity to debate areas of frequent curiosity.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Xi urged his European guests to “jointly respond to global challenges”.

But different sensitive subjects are on the agenda, from human rights to the yawning EU-China commerce hole.

And in talks with Premier Li Qiang Thursday afternoon, Von der Leyen reiterated her considerations about that “imbalance”.

“We have to address the root causes for that and handle the resulting impact,” she instructed Mr. Li.

The bloc was eager to “deepen our cooperation whenever possible and to manage our differences when it’s necessary”, Mr. Michel additionally instructed the Chinese premier.

Following their assembly with Mr. Li, Ms. Von der Leyen and Mr. Michel will attend an official dinner and a news convention within the night.

European officers have mentioned repeatedly this yr they intention to “derisk” their financial ties to China after the warfare in Ukraine uncovered the continent’s vitality dependence on Russia.

Beijing’s aim this week can be to “hinder or delay derisking at a minimum cost”, Grzegorz Stec, an analyst at China-focused assume tank MERICS, instructed a media briefing Wednesday.

Also on the agenda on the summit would be the preventing between Israel and Hamas — in addition to Russia’s warfare in Ukraine.

China, which has not condemned Moscow’s February 2022 invasion of its neighbour, welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to Beijing in October, with Xi hailing their “deep friendship”.

Such camaraderie is unlikely in Thursday’s talks with EU leaders, who one analyst mentioned had “zero trust” in Beijing.

“Both sides are unlikely to get what they want from the other side,” Nicholas Bequelin, a senior fellow at Yale’s Paul Tsai China Center, mentioned.

The Europeans have mentioned they’ll urge Beijing to make use of its ties with Moscow to push it to finish its warfare towards Ukraine.

But talking to journalists on Thursday night, one Chinese Foreign Ministry official prompt Beijing wouldn’t be capable to sway Moscow.

Russia “is a very independent sovereign nation”, Wang Lutong, director basic of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s European division, instructed a press briefing.

“President Putin is making his decision based on his own national interest and security,” he mentioned.

He additionally mentioned he believed that Beijing “could not be held accountable” for the imbalance in commerce.

“We are very keen to importing more [products] from Europe, particularly high advanced technologies and high valued products,” Mr. Wang mentioned.

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Content Source: www.thehindu.com

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