Ukraine Tops EU-China Virtual Summit Agenda
By RFE/RL April 01, 2022
The European Union is expected to seek assurances from Beijing that it won't assist Russia in bypassing economic sanctions imposed over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine at a virtual summit between the 27-member bloc and China on April 1.
EU officials say they will also look for indications that China is ready to cooperate on bringing an end to the war.
The two sides are also scheduled to discuss Beijing's travel ban on members of the European Parliament, China's economic boycott of EU member Lithuania over the latter's relations with Taiwan, the status of a stalled investment agreement, and civil and political rights in authoritarian China.
China has come under increasing international criticism over abuses committed against Uyghurs and other mainly Muslim groups in northwestern Xinjiang Province through mass internment, forced labor, population control, and the elimination of the minorities' religious beliefs and culture.
Beijing denies abuses, saying it is "reeducating" Uyghurs to prevent radical Islam and terrorism.
The United States and many rights groups have alleged that Beijing is carrying out genocide.
China has refused to condemn Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, criticizing punishing economic sanctions brought by the West against Moscow while parroting Russian disinformation about the war.
"We are looking for assurances that China has no intention of providing an economic lifeline or other support to Russia during this war," an EU official told reporters on March 31, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.
Almost 14 percent of China's total trade is done with the EU, and 12 percent with the United States, compared to just 2.4 percent with Russia.
European Council President Charles Michel, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will first meet with Chinese officials led by Premier Li Keqiang, then later with President and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping.
With reporting by Reuters and dpa
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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