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World EU seeks tougher China policy ahead of possible summits

13:00  29 may  2020
13:00  29 may  2020 Source:   reuters.com

China will not flinch in face of U.S. confrontation: government official

  China will not flinch in face of U.S. confrontation: government official China will not flinch from any escalation in tensions with the United states, but believes economic cooperation and recovery should be the top priority, a Chinese government official said on Thursday. © Reuters/DAMIR SAGOLJ FILE PHOTO: Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for National People's Congress (NPC), addresses reporters ahead of China's annual session of parliament at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Bilateral ties between China and the United States have soured as Washington has accused Beijing of mishandling the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and blamed it for job losses and business closures caused by th

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union foreign ministers sought to toughen their strategy on China on Friday to counter Beijing's increasingly assertive diplomacy and accelerate efforts to end unfettered access for Chinese business in Europe.

Josep Borrell holding a sign: FILE PHOTO: EU, Spain, UN, hold donor conference for Venezuela © Reuters/POOL FILE PHOTO: EU, Spain, UN, hold donor conference for Venezuela

Amid European criticism of Beijing's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, EU foreign ministers met via videolink for their first discussion before two possible EU-China summits this year, one expected at the end of June and another in September.

The EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell called this week for a "more robust" China strategy and told the U.N. Security Council of his "deep concern" about China's new security law for Hong Kong, calling on Beijing to reconsider.

U.S. plans to sell $180 million in weapons to Taiwan, angering China

  U.S. plans to sell $180 million in weapons to Taiwan, angering China China said it is "firmly opposed" to the sale.The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that the State Department had approved a possible sale of 18 MK-48 Mod6 Advanced Technology Heavy Weight Torpedoes to Taiwan. The sale will also include equipment, training, logistics support and U.S. government and contractor engineering.

Borrell is due to hold a news conference at 1100 GMT.

The EU is trying to find a middle path between U.S.-Chinese rivalry, but the bloc is also divided internally over China, with some countries benefiting from its largesse.

Three senior diplomats said there was increasing frustration with what the EU says is Beijing's failure to make good on an April 2019 agreement that China reciprocate the broad market access that Chinese companies enjoy in Europe.

Next month, the European Commission, the EU executive, is expected to come forward with guidelines on ways for EU governments to potentially limit China's access to public tenders in Europe, seen as a way to pressure Beijing.

The EU is frustrated by what Europe says is a lack of progress in negotiations with Beijing, albeit partly hampered by COVID-19 lockdowns that limit diplomacy.

This week, German ambassadors told their counterparts at two separate meetings that host Germany could delay the summit between European Union leaders and China's President Xi Jinping in September because of the impasse.

However, another EU diplomat said Berlin is working on hosting a summit in the town of Leipzig on Sept. 14. A German government spokesman declined to comment.

(Additional reporting by Sabine Siebold in Berlin; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Coronavirus, climate, aid to Africa: Macron-Xi Jinping interview .
© Provided by Le Point macron, xi jinping, eu, france, china Despite the coronavirus epidemic and the sanitary measures which hamper international meetings, Macron and Xi Jinping had a long telephone interview on Friday. The opportunity for the French President and his Chinese counterpart to talk about the management of the pandemic, aid to Africa and climate and biodiversity issues, announced the Élysée Palace.

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