Relations with China will depend on its attitude towards Russia, says von der Leyen

by Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The future of relations between the European Union and China will depend on how Beijing negotiates with Russia, said on Thursday Ursula von der Leyen, who will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron next week to discuss China. is about to travel.

“How China continues to negotiate with Putin’s war of words will be a deciding factor for future EU-China relations,” the European Commission president said during a speech in Brussels.

He said it was China’s responsibility to promote a “just peace” to end the war in Ukraine, which required the withdrawal of invading Russian forces.

President Xi Jinping last week pledged to strengthen ties with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

He also gave a measured assessment of Chinese policies, acknowledging that relations with Beijing have become “more distant and more difficult” in recent years.

He said that given China’s economic size and global influence, the EU’s handling of the relationship will be a decisive factor for the EU’s economic prosperity and security.

The EU should continue dialogue with China and raise difficult issues, but cooperate in areas such as climate change and nature protection.

“It is partly for this reason that I am going to Beijing with President Macron,” she said.

Economically, the EU should “rebalance” its ties and reduce its reliance on China for key imports such as lithium and other essential minerals.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Sudip Kar-Gupta; French version Editing by Nathan Vifflin, Kate Enstringer)

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