The Strategic Dialogue allowed for discussion on bilateral issues, including preparations for the upcoming summit, as well as on regional and global challenges. The High Representative expressed his commitment to a constructive, mutually beneficial and results-oriented relationship.
“China is without doubt one of the key global players. This is a fact and China will increase its global role. We have to engage with China to achieve our global objectives based on our interests and values.”
The High Representative recalled the important commitments made by the EU and China at the 2019 EU-China Summit, and stressed the need for implementation of these commitments and to advance all aspects of the bilateral agenda in order to achieve tangible results, remain ambitious, and reinforce mutual trust and reciprocity. In this context, the High Representative referred notably to the shared commitment the two sides made to build a more balanced and reciprocal economic relationship on openness, non-discrimination, fair competition, ensuring a level playing field and transparency. The conclusion of an ambitious EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement in 2020 remains a joint commitment, and the High Representative stressed the EU’s expectation that this agreement will substantially improve market access, the elimination of discriminatory requirements and practices affecting foreign investors, the establishment of a balanced investment protection framework and the inclusion of provisions on investment and sustainable development.
As regards human rights, the High Representative recalled the EU’s concerns about the treatment of minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet. He also raised a number of specific cases. The regular EU-China Human Rights Dialogue will take place later in the year, as soon as current coronavirus-related travel restrictions ease.
The High Representative recalled concerns regarding Beijing’s imposition of national security legislation on Hong Kong. He insisted on the need to preserve Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy in line with the principle of “One country, two systems”.
“I put on the table the need that China takes steps to de-escalate the situation and respect its international commitments and the Hong Kong Basic Law.”
The High Representative and the Foreign Minister discussed the response to the coronavirus and the High Representative stressed the need to learn lessons from the handling of the pandemic and to support vulnerable countries in their recoveries.
The High Representative stressed the European Union’s strong commitment to the rules-based multilateral system, including through the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation.
The High Representative and the State Councillor addressed a number of regional and international issues, including their mutual commitment to upholding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal), support to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive peace process, the Middle East Peace Process, and the situation in Syria. On Libya, the High Representative stressed that the only way towards solving the crisis is through a political process, not by military means, and that all parties need to respect the truce that they agreed to and that a ceasefire needs to be implemented. They discussed the situation on the Korean peninsula, with the High Representative stressing the importance of full and strict implementation of all UN Security Council Resolutions and support to diplomatic efforts aimed at building trust and establishing lasting peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, free of nuclear weapons.