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17 Oct, 2022 09:28

EU urged to rethink its China policy – FT

Beijing's relationship with the bloc is in the crosshairs over the conflict in Ukraine, the newspaper reports
EU urged to rethink its China policy – FT

The European Union must embrace a tougher stance towards China, as Beijing has come to pose a more significant challenge to the West, the bloc's foreign service has recommended, according to the Financial Times.

The new stance is reportedly partly due to China's refusal to denounce Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

The ministerial paper, which advises EU countries on overall China strategy, reportedly said that it “has become an even stronger global competitor for the EU, the US” and their allies, adding that this development makes it necessary “to assess how best to respond” to challenges stemming from Beijing’s actions.

According to the paper, the factors that should prompt the EU to rethink its China policy include Beijing’s “backing for Russia in its invasion of Ukraine,” its alleged threats to the self-governed island of Taiwan, which China regards as its own territory, and the supposed crackdown on human rights.

Meanwhile, China’s deepening ties with Russia amidst the Ukraine conflict are said to be “a worrying development . . .[that] cannot be ignored.” Beijing’s stance on the hostilities has “brought China to more directly contest western democracies,” the paper said.

One EU official, interviewed by the outlet, noted part of the document which claims “China is not going to change,” adding that it’s moving towards “all-out competition” with the West, both in economic and political dimensions.

The policy paper, which is supposed to be discussed by EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday prior to a debate on China at a summit on Thursday, explained that the EU’s view of Beijing as “partner-competitor-systemic rival” is no longer valid.

Only one paragraph of the document is said to be dedicated to potential partnership areas, including climate change, environment, and health.

Earlier this year, the EU, while confirming its commitment to cooperation, publicly recognized that relations have deteriorated, due to such “irritants” as Beijing’s counter-measures against EU human right sanctions and its stance on the Ukraine conflict.

While many Western countries have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia after Moscow started its military campaign in Ukraine in late February, China has refused to join them. It has repeatedly stated that the West and Ukraine had failed to address Russia’s “legitimate security concerns” while blasting NATO for pushing tensions between Moscow and Kiev to a “breaking point.”