EU-China Relations: The Summit and What Comes Next
Europe’s relations with China have been on a downward trajectory the past few years. The list for this decline is long: Europe’s concerns about human rights violations in Xinjiang, Chinese sanctions on EU parliamentarians, European uneasiness about PRC plans to dominate key strategic technologies, Chinese rebuff to international law in the South China Sea and its military pressure on Taiwan. Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the resulting civilian causalities further strained relations between China and the EU as Beijing abstained in the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly and blamed the conflict on the five waves of NATO expansion.
On April 1, the 23rd EU-China summit took place via video conference. President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, accompanied by High Representative Josep Borrell, met with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in the morning and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the afternoon. Borell later described the meeting as a dialogue of the deaf—the Chinese side had little interest in talking about the war in Ukraine, preferring to discuss shared EU and Chinese interests. In an effort to drive a wedge between the US and the EU, Xi also called on the EU to form its own perception of China and adopt an independent China policy.
In this episode, Bonnie Glaser speaks with Janka Oertel, Director of the Asia Program at the European Council on Foreign Relations to further discuss the April 1 EU-China summit and analyze the overall EU-China relationship.