Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday called on the EU to act “independently and autonomously,” a day after U.S. President Joe Biden vowed to confront Beijing with “extreme competition.”

Wang made the remarks in a video meeting with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who told his Chinese counterpart that the EU had “strong bonds” with the U.S. and welcomed Biden’s “commitment to working cooperatively with international partners and multilateral institutions.”

Beijing’s move to test Brussels’ geostrategic loyalties came after Biden said on Sunday that “there’s going to be extreme competition” between the U.S. and China. His secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the U.S. “would work with its allies and partners in defense of our shared values and interests” after a call with China’s most senior diplomat, Yang Jiechi, on Friday.about:blank

Despite being labeled by Brussels as a systemic rival, China is encouraged that the EU is emphasizing “strategic autonomy,” which would preclude Europe veering too far into a U.S. orbit to confront China. Indeed, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have been quick to snuff out the idea that Paris and Berlin would join any kind of U.S.-led democratic alliance against China.

“As long as China and the EU make policies independently and autonomously from the perspective of the common interest, there would be big achievements. The China-EU comprehensive agreement of investment is a good example,” Wang said.

He also told Borrell that China did not approve of the “lies and disinformation” surrounding the treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang and pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong, as EU officials voiced concern over human rights violations there.

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February 9, 2021 at 02:14AM