The mood is tense: for the first time in decades, the EU has imposed sanctions on the People’s Republic. In a telephone conversation with the Chancellor, President Xi Jinping urged more respect.
In a telephone conversation with Chancellor Angela Merkel, China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping expressed his hope of expanding cooperation with Germany and the European Union. Amid growing tensions between the two sides, according to the official Xinhua news agency, China’s President said in an interview on Wednesday that relations between China and the EU saw “new opportunities and different challenges”. The key, however, is to take a determined course that is based on a strategic perspective and mutual respect and “excludes interference”.
The conversation took place two weeks after the European Union had imposed sanctions against China for violations of human rights for the first time in more than three decades. They are directed against those responsible for the persecution of the Muslim Uyghur minority in northwest China.
Beijing laments “interference in internal affairs”
The government in Beijing lamented “interference in internal affairs” and imposed even more extensive counter-sanctions against German and other European politicians, experts and institutions.
The Xinhua report did not reveal how Merkel and Xi responded to the dispute. “China’s development is an opportunity for the European Union, and we hope that the EU will independently make a correct decision and really achieve its strategic autonomy,” said Xi Jinping in a possible indirect reference to the US under the new President Joe Biden want to pursue a common China policy with their allies.