European leaders demand win-win relationship with China

The wave of Chinese investment, which had so far focused on poorer central European states, has raised alarm in Europe that China's acquisition of sensitive assets, such as commercial ports, or involvement in high-end IT projects, such as 5G telecoms networks, posed strategic, intellectual property, and security threats to the EU.

The wife of the former Chinese head of Interpol, who has had no news of him for almost six months since his arrest in China, has asked French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the matter with counterpart Xi Jinping during an official visit to France.

Monday's talks come a day ahead of another meeting in Paris, this time between Macron, Xi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker to explore "points of convergence" between the two trading giants.

Noting the increasing volatility and uncertainty in the worldwide situation with a rising tide of protectionism, Xi said China is willing to work with all parties to firmly uphold multilateralism, improve global governance and jointly address global challenges.

The French president said at a state dinner on Monday evening, March 25, that he hoped to build a "new global governance" with China. he said that he will discuss his goal at the unprecedented meeting with the German chancellor and the president of the European Commission.

The EU is China's biggest trade partner and wants to solidify that relationship.

"France and China consider that in the current context, committing to multilateralism is the best way of promoting global cooperation at a time when risks and common challenges are multiplying", they said.

Thirdly, China and Europe should improve strategic mutual trust, he said. "There can't be multilateralism without the United States", she noted.

Juncker said that labelling China a rival was meant as a "compliment" to the country.

First, it has become crystal clear that Europe (including the European Union) is increasingly important for China's external policy.

He says members states have "old habits of trying to strike the best deal they can with this rising superpower".

The change has been sparked in large part by concerns about China's "Belt and Road" infrastructure venture, also known as the "New Silk Road", which has seen Beijing disperse billions of dollars on investments overseas.

It is very important that China and the European Union (EU) strengthen cooperation in the face of prominent instabilities and uncertainties in the worldwide situation, Xi said.

"We are advancing together". China, knowing the difficulties in negotiating with the European Union as a whole, prefers to deal with European Union member states separately, at least for the issues where national competences dominate.

Xi expressed a willingness to continue long-promised economic reforms sought by Western countries.

Italy's participation comes despite misgivings over the huge venture by other European nations wary of China's growing influence. The document was agreed to during Xi's visit to Rome while meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

  • Tracy Klein