Beijing has intensified criticism of Europe’s “triple position” policy on China, which simultaneously views the Asian superpower as a systemic partner, competitor and rival.
“The EU’s triple positioning for China is mutually contradictory and nullified,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Maltese counterpart Evarist Bartolo in Chinese. Chengdu city on Friday.
“China and Europe are partners, not competitors,” Wang said, according to a statement issued by the Chinese government. “China and Europe do not have serious conflicts of interest or historical muddles.”
Wang has long rejected the notion that China is a rival to Europe, but his latest comments represent a more forceful criticism of the EU’s three-pronged approach.
The EU took that stance in 2019 with the aim of a balanced approach that includes human rights sanctions and tighter control of foreign subsidies, while increasing cooperation in areas such as climate change and fostering economic ties, especially when closing an investment pact half a year ago.
Lately, however, the EU has become tougher. In a progress report on relations in April, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen criticized Beijing’s “authoritarian change” and said that EU member countries should not have their differences with China “under the rug”.
Wang’s use of the word “contradictory” is in line with a recent tightening of Beijing’s position, as Western countries step up calls for cooperation on carbon emissions ahead of the COP26 global climate summit in November, while tensions rise in other areas, especially situations. in Hong Kong and Xinjiang and concerns about the use of Chinese technology.
Earlier this week, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zhao Lijian warned that climate cooperation with Washington would be “closely related to the overall health of Sino-US relations” after US climate envoy John Kerry urged China to cut emissions quickly.
Such comments are raising questions about whether China will try to harness climate cooperation in its overall tense relationship with the United States and Europe.
Malta expresses technological concerns
Underscoring Europe’s concerns, Bartolo of Malta launched a veiled attack on China’s focus on the use of technology during his talks in China.
“The world has the resources, scientific advancement, and technology to feed humanity, cure most diseases, and educate billions of children. It is up to politicians to decide whether knowledge and wealth are used to liberate or enslave people, for peace and prosperity or for war and misery, ”he told Wang, according to a report. Malta government reading.
Apparently echoing a joint transatlantic effort this week to name and shame China for massive cyberattacks on Microsoft’s servers, Bartolo added: “No country should allow its territory to wage a cyber war against other countries.”
Malta was one of only four EU countries that refused to sign ajoint declaration last month he expressed concern about the situation in Xinjiang at the United Nations Human Rights Council. It is also one of the few EU members to join Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-billion dollar consortium of global infrastructure plans that the EU sees as a potential threat.
Wang China appreciates Malta’s stance on which it expressed fundamental sovereignty issues.
“China places emphasis on Malta’s geographical advantage,” Wang told Bartolo. “We would like to sign an implementation proposal with Malta on [Belt and Road] and make plans for a pragmatic bilateral relationship in the post-coronavirus era. “