Beijing demands the EU to distance itself from America’s China policy

AIn view of the diplomatic tensions between the European Union and China, President Xi Jinping has appealed to Chancellor Angela Merkel to work to improve relations between China and the EU. In a telephone conversation with Merkel on Wednesday, Xi called on the EU not to allow itself to be involved in the United StatesChina policy. The EU must “independently come to a correct judgment and achieve real strategic autonomy,” said Xi Jinping, according to the state news agency Xinhua.

Friederike Böge

Political correspondent for China, North Korea and Mongolia.

Johannes Leithäuser

In March, the EU imposed human rights sanctions against China for the first time since 1989, in close coordination with Washington. Beijing responded with punitive measures against MEPs and academics. As a result, numerous members of the European Parliament questioned the ratification of the investment agreement agreed in December. Xi now said that both sides must “respect each other and eliminate interference”.

The Federal Chancellery confirmed the phone call, but only indicated in general terms that open issues also played a role. In a press release, the Chancellor said that she “underlined the importance of dialogue across the full range of relationships, including issues where there are differences of opinion”. Merkel’s conversation with Xi served, among other things, to prepare for the German-Chinese government consultations.

Xi Jinping called on the federal government to use the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing in February 2022 for increased exchange with China. A few hours earlier, the US State Department raised a potential boycott of the Games. The State Department spokesman said the possibility of a boycott would “definitely” be discussed with allies and partners. The State Department later made it clear that such talks had not yet taken place. In Berlin it was said that the decision on participation in international competitions would be made by the sports associations.

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