BRUSSELS, Sept 14 (KUNA) — The European Union Monday called for a more “balanced and fair” relations with China, emphasizing that trade can energize economic recovery of the two sides from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today’s meeting represents another step forward in forging a more balanced relationship with China,” Charles Michel, President of the European Council, told an online press conference in Brussels after a videoconference with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
They discussed four key topics; climate change, economic and trade issues, international affairs and human rights and COVID-19 and economic recovery.
“We have a robust trading relationship with China. The EU is China’s first trading partner. On average, we trade over EUR one billion (USD 1.1 billion) a day. Trade can energize our economic recovery. But we want more fairness,” said Michel.
“COVID-19 remains a deep and urgent threat. Only collective and transparent action will send this virus to the history books. There is only one way to find a vaccine and deploy it in all countries that’s global cooperation,” he stressed.
The EU side reiterated its concerns “over China’s treatment of minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet and the treatment of human rights defenders and journalists. We asked for access for independent observers to Xinjiang,” he said.
A press release after the meeting said the two sides welcomed the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha. They also confirmed their commitment to upholding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal).
With regard to Hong Kong, EU Leaders voiced their concerns about the erosion of the fundamental rights and freedoms following the imposition of the national security law in Hong Kong on 30 June.
The EU also referred to the escalating tensions in South China and urged for self-restraint and a peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law.
Besides Michel, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the EU Presidency, also represented the EU from Berlin