On 10 December, the European Union and China held their 11th annual consultations on security and defence.
They exchanged views on regional security issues, on maritime security including in the South China Sea, and on possible cooperation and coordination with EU missions and operations under its Common Security and Defence Policy. The EU also raised increasing tensions in the Taiwan Strait. They welcomed the good cooperation in specific areas, such as the fight against piracy off the Horn of Africa, where China has been cooperating with EU NAVFOR Atalanta.
To advance its interests and uphold its values, the European Union engages with China on a wide range of issues, in line with the multi-faceted policy approach set out in the March 2019 Joint Communication of the European Commission and of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy “EU-China: A Strategic Outlook”, which was recently reaffirmed by the European Council. This includes talking about security and defence issues, where China is an increasingly active global actor, with growing military capabilities.
The EU-China annual consultations on security and defence serve to keep channels of communication open on these important issues. They help the EU and China to better understand their respective goals and approaches, build greater trust, and identify opportunities for cooperation when interests converge, but also raise issues of concern where needed.
The consultations were co-chaired by Pawel Herczynski, Managing Director for Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Response at the European External Action Service, and by Major General Zhang Baoqun, Deputy Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China.