China, EU set to hold summit in March
The European Union and China plan to hold a summit at the end of March, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday, amid concerns over a Chinese blockade of Lithuanian exports.
“An EU-China summit is scheduled, at first sight, for the end of March. This will give me the opportunity to visit China to prepare for it,” Borrell announced after an informal meeting of foreign ministers from the EU. EU in Brest, France.
The last EU-China summit took place by videoconference in June 2020 between the presidents of the EU institutions and the Chinese leaders.
European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Borrell then met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang before holding an exchange of views with President Xi Jinping.
The summit “will be an important moment to see where we are in our relationship with China. Some things are going well, some things are not so good,” Borrell said.
At the meeting in Brest, foreign ministers discussed Chinese actions against Lithuania and their impact on other EU member states, he said.
Ministers expressed their full solidarity with Lithuania and talks are underway to “continue de-escalation in this crisis”, he said.
In November, China downgraded diplomatic ties with Lithuania and stopped issuing visas there in protest at Vilnius’ decision to allow Taiwan to open a representative office under its own name.
Beijing balks at any official use of the word Taiwan for fear of lending a sense of international legitimacy to the island, which China considers part of its territory.
Several Lithuanian companies and business owners complained last month that China was blocking their exports because their goods were not cleared in the country.
EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis told a German newspaper that Chinese customs also do not process goods from other EU countries if they contain parts from Lithuania.
The EU is discussing a draft regulation against what it sees as coercive and intimidating measures – a tool to quickly punish any country using economic sanctions to pressure the EU or any of its members.