Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman and European External Action Service Secretary General Stefano Sannino held the second high-level meeting of the EU-U.S. Dialogue on China on December 2 in Washington. They reviewed the work of the six working groups that were launched since the first high-level meeting in May. They reiterated that the EU’s and United States’ respective relations with China are multifaceted and emphasized the importance of the EU and United States maintaining continuous and close contacts on our respective approaches as we invest and grow our economies, cooperate with China where possible, and manage our competition and systemic rivalry with China responsibly.
Deputy Secretary Sherman and Secretary General Sannino also discussed the growing list of China’s actions that are of concern, including those that breach international law and run counter to the shared values and interests of the United States and the EU. They discussed ongoing human rights abuses and violations in China, including the systemic repression of ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang and in Tibet, and the erosion of autonomy and democracy in Hong Kong. They expressed a shared interest in continued exchanges and cooperation, including in multilateral fora, on human rights issues in China. They also reaffirmed the importance of upholding international law and principles, and strengthening the effectiveness of multilateral institutions by coordinating to advance shared priorities related to human rights, global standards, clear institutional procedures, and wherever possible on elections in international organizations. Noting the harmful effects of disinformation on democratic societies, they expressed their readiness to deepen U.S.-EU information sharing on disinformation sponsored or supported by China.
Deputy Secretary Sherman and Secretary General Sannino reaffirmed the importance of protecting and building economic and technological resilience, diversifying and strengthening supply chains, and addressing economic coercion. They reiterated the importance of close EU- U.S. cooperation to uphold the rules-based international order, including securing a level playing field for all countries. They also emphasized the importance of protecting intellectual property rights, critical infrastructure, and sensitive technologies, as well as information-sharing on tools to strengthen economic resilience, reduce loopholes and vulnerabilities, and shield against risks, including from non-market practices.
They expressed strong concern over China’s problematic and unilateral actions in the South and East China Seas and the Taiwan Strait that undermine peace and security in the region and have a direct impact on the security and prosperity of both the United States and European Union. They further reaffirmed the importance of upholding and promoting freedom of navigation and overflight in accordance with international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and discussed how to counteract risks in the areas of strategic stability and cybersecurity.
Deputy Secretary Sherman and Secretary General Sannino recognized the importance of diplomacy with China, most notably where interests intersect and where constructive cooperation is possible. They debriefed on recent EU and U.S. high-level meetings with Chinese government officials, including in support of common goals in Iran and the Korean peninsula, and stressed the importance of results-oriented engagement on key transnational challenges, such as the climate crisis, health security, and trafficking in persons and drugs. Building on the recent EU-China and U.S.-China statements on climate action, they discussed working with Chinese government counterparts on policy matters such as reducing methane emissions and decarbonization, as well as sharing the results of these meetings.
Deputy Secretary Sherman and Secretary General Sannino decided to continue meetings in this dialogue at senior official and expert levels, with the next high-level meeting to take place in mid-2022.