Press statement, Beijing, 16 July 2018
Let me first of all thank you, Premier Li, for your warm welcome here in Beijing. We just finished a fruitful meeting in which we agreed to develop the EU-China strategic partnership further.
We discussed foreign and security cooperation and the situation in our respective neighbourhoods. We reiterated our support for the peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue through diplomatic means, and for a complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. We are also united in our commitment to the continued, full and effective implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.
And today we will also discuss the situation in our neighbourhood, including in Ukraine. I will repeat our position that the only way to a sustainable solution to the conflict is through the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
On human rights, it is not always easy to find agreement as differences persist. But we agreed to enhance exchanges in follow up to the recent Human Rights Dialogue.
Now, let me repeat what I told Premier Li at our meeting a bit earlier. Today, on the same day as Europe meets China in Beijing, American President Trump and Russian President Putin will talk in Helsinki. We are all aware of the fact that the architecture of the world is changing before our very eyes. And it is our common responsibility to make it a change for the better. Let us remember, here in Beijing, and over there, in Helsinki, that the world we were building for decades, sometimes through disputes, has brought about peace for Europe, the development of China, and the end of the Cold War between the East and the West. It is a common duty of Europe and China, America and Russia, not to destroy this order, but to improve it. Not to start trade wars, which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history, but to bravely and responsibly reform the rules-based international order. This is why I am calling on our Chinese hosts, but also on Presidents Trump and Putin to jointly start this process from a reform of the WTO. There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos. Today we are facing a dilemma: whether to play a tough game such as tariff wars and conflicts in places like Ukraine and Syria, or to look for common solutions based on fair rules. This is why responsibility, predictability, spirit of cooperation and respect for our common rules and commitments are so important these days.
The EU is committed to working towards the modernisation of the WTO and calls on all partners to contribute positively to this goal. We propose a comprehensive approach to improving, together with like-minded partners, the functioning of the WTO in crucial areas. We need new rules in the field of industrial subsidies, intellectual property and forced technology transfers, reduction of trade costs, as well as a new approach to development and more effective dispute settlement. The aim of this reform should be to strengthen the WTO as an institution and to ensure a level playing field. Thank you.