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EU urges China at summit not to help Russia in Ukraine war According to Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a statement ahead of her meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium March 7, 2022 Kenzo Tribouillard/ Pool and

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By Philip Blenkinsop and Yew Lun Tian

BRUSSELS/BEIJING (Reuters) – The EU and Chinese leaders met for their first summit in two years on Friday with Brussels, pressing Beijing to ensure it would not supply Russia with weapons. nor did it help Moscow evade Western sanctions imposed for its invasion of Ukraine.

In unusually open language, EU officials close to those preparing for the summit said any help offered to Russia would damage China’s international reputation and jeopardize China’s international reputation. jeopardizes its relationship with its biggest trading partners – Europe and the United States.

The Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, along with the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, have begun virtual talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. . They will be available later on Friday to speak with President Xi Jinping.

An EU official said China’s stance on Russia was a “million-dollar question” on Friday. Another pointed out that more than a quarter of China’s global trade was with the bloc and the United States last year, compared with just 2.4% with Russia.

“Do we prolong this war or do we work together to end this war? That’s the essential question for the summit,” the official said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated China’s call for peace talks this week, adding that the legitimate concerns of all sides should be addressed.

Wang Yiwei, a Europe expert at Renmin University in Beijing, said both China and the EU wanted the war to end.

“I imagine China would want to use this summit to discuss with the EU how to create acceptable conditions for Putin to climb down from his current position,” he said.

China itself is also concerned that European countries are adopting tougher foreign policy signals from the United States and has called on the EU to “exclude outside interference” from their relations with China. Country.

Relations were already strained before the Ukraine war.

In 2019, the EU abruptly switched from soft diplomatic language to calling China a systemic adversary, but seeing it as a potential partner in combating climate change or pandemics.

Brussels and Beijing signed an investment agreement at the end of 2020, designed to address some of the EU’s concerns about reciprocal market access. However, this is currently on hold after Brussels sanctions against Chinese officials for alleged human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region prompted Beijing to blacklist individuals and entity of the EU.

China also suspended imports from Lithuania after the Baltic EU country allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in its capital, angering Beijing, which views the democratically-ruled island as a its territory.

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