Ukraine: An EU-China summit to prevent Beijing from aiding Moscow – 04/01/2022 14:29 pm

Chinese Premier Le Keqiang in a video conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on April 1, 2022 in Brussels (POOL / Olivier Matthys)

Chinese Premier Le Keqiang in a video conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on April 1, 2022 in Brussels (POOL / Olivier Matthys)

The European Union (EU) on Friday sought to persuade China to drop its aid to Moscow in the face of Western sanctions during a virtual summit in Beijing, Ukraine, which seeks to renew its economic ties with war-torn Europe.

European Commission President Ursula Van der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel spoke on behalf of member states for nearly two hours with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday morning (Brussels time).

A meeting with President Xi Jinping is also scheduled for 2 p.m. (1200 GMT).

“In Ukraine, China refuses to take on hot and cold wars, block divisions and sides,” the agency’s chairman Wang Ludong tweeted. Europe to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Chinese and European officials have agreed to “work together to maintain global peace, stability and prosperity” and to “hold talks on energy and food security,” Wang added.

As for the EU, the summit is mainly aimed at urging China not to support Russia too aggressively.

It is important to know whether “definitely China is using its influence to help Moscow avoid ceasefires, humanitarian corridors” or “sanctions”. A European official on Thursday.

Beijing refuses to condemn the invasion of Ukraine and praised the “rock-solid” alliance with Moscow in early March, defending Russia’s “legitimate” concerns for security.

– “Strategic calculation” –

“Europeans will seek to influence Chinese leaders’ strategic calculations by highlighting the economic costs they will suffer during their firm support for Russia,” estimates Grzegorz Stec of the German Institute Merrix.

Charles Michael (L), President of the European Council, Joseph Borel (D), President of the European Diplomacy, and Ursula van der Leyen, President of the European Commission, in a video conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on April 1, 2022 in Brussels (Pool / Olivier Mathis)

Charles Michael (L), President of the European Council, Joseph Borel (D), President of the European Diplomacy, and Ursula van der Leyen, President of the European Commission, in a video conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on April 1, 2022 in Brussels (Pool / Olivier Mathis)

German Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer fears that “China’s contingent reaction is a way to be on the Russian side without cost. Without too much pressure, it will bring more aid to Putin.”

But the EU is a prisoner of strong interdependence with Beijing: it absorbs 15% of exports from Asian companies, supplying manufactured goods and key components. Twenty-seven to 10% of exports are represented by China, which is the main market for European entrepreneurs, especially Germany.

At the urging of Berlin, the European Union and China signed an ambitious investment agreement at the end of 2020.

But its approval today was blocked by EU sanctions to punish the use of forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region and Beijing’s counter-sanctions against EU parliamentarians and researchers.

This is compounded by the conflict over China blocking imports from Lithuania after Taiwan’s representation in the country opened.

Henceforth, Valerie Niquet of the Strategic Research Foundation warns that “the risk is that China will + excessively + adhere to its neutrality in order to gain concessions such as the resumption of negotiations on the investment agreement.”

– “Illusion” –

On Wednesday, Russian diplomat Sergei Lavrov, who visited Beijing, reaffirmed the two countries’ “unlimited” friendship against the United States in the name of a new “multipolar world order”: a rising vision. Concerns about the emergence of an “official” mob against Western nations.

Evolution of Russia's imports and exports with its key partners (AFP /)

Evolution of Russia’s imports and exports with its key partners (AFP /)

“The idea of ​​separating China from Russia is illusory: once the war in Ukraine is over, the focus of the United States will return first and foremost, not on friendship, so it is keen to maintain its cooperation,” said Judge Sylvie Berman, former French ambassador to Moscow and Beijing.

And remember that China is not isolated, many countries (India, Pakistan, South Africa, Brazil …) refuse to criticize Moscow.

As for Beijing, the Europeans have allowed themselves to be dragged into a conflict provoked by Washington, which has exposed the effects of the West.

The nationalist daily Global Times warned on Thursday that Russia would be highly dependent on gas and that “Europe could be shooting itself in the face with US sanctions.”

The newspaper rejected any link between EU-China relations and the crisis over Europeans and Moscow over the Ukraine war, while the two issues were “inseparably linked,” the European official said.

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