China, EU to boost strategic partnership

EU, China to hold talks on blocked investment deal

Xi pushed back against what he described as meddling in China's internal affairs, saying the country wouldn't expect outside parties to act as an "instructor" on human rights.

Noting China and the European Union have worked together in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Shi said that the two sides stand ready to strengthen their cooperation within worldwide organizations such as the World Health Organization, and oppose unilateralism as well as the idea of "decoupling".

The EU will press Xi on Hong Kong, where Beijing has imposed a controversial new security law - a move denounced by the West as an assault on the city's freedoms.

The leaders announced the official signing of the China-EU agreement on geographical indications, stated their commitment to speeding up the negotiations of the China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty to achieve the goal of concluding the negotiations within this year, chose to establish a China-EU High Level Environment and Climate Dialogue and a China-EU High Level Digital Cooperation Dialogue, and to forge China-EU green and digital partnerships.

They also encouraged Xi to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic - which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan late a year ago - and contribute to vaccine research by cooperating with global organisations such as the World Health Organization.

As leaders of China and the European Union hold talks at a virtual summit, the charts below show the economic and cultural ties that link them.

"The EU list of GIs to be protected in China includes iconic GI products such as Cava, Champagne, Feta, Irish whiskey, Münchener Bier, Ouzo, Polska Wódka, Porto, Prosciutto di Parma and Queso Manchego", an EU statement said.

The EU sees China as a "systemic rival" offering great opportunities but also presenting many challenges.

However, EU leaders told Chinese President Xi Jinping that the bloc would no longer be taken advantage of and demanded a fairer relationship in trade.

"The Chinese market remains open to the EU".

"We as Europeans act in close cooperation - we offer our global partners respect, and we expect the exact same from them", Maas said.

The EU and China have been in negotiations since 2013 on a bilateral pact that would reduce Chinese restrictions on European companies.

China needs to allow "rebalancing of the asymmetry" in access and "convince us that it's worth having an investment agreement", she stressed. They claim that the Uighurs are treated equally, and that Beijing always protects the rights of China's ethnic minorities.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU diplomatic ties.

China-EU relations are facing important opportunities, said Shi, hoping that Germany, which now holds the rotating EU presidency, will play an active role in promoting China-EU relations. China is willing to strengthen exchanges with the European side based on the principle of mutual respect so that the two sides can both make progress, said Xi.

The leaders also exchanged views on global and regional issues including the Afghanistan and the Iranian nuclear issues, agreeing to strengthen communication and coordination and to make joint efforts in maintaining worldwide and regional security and stability.

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