Chinese President Xi Jinping told Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone call on Wednesday that he hoped Europe would “make positive efforts towards China” following the dispute over the treatment of Uyghurs. China official media reported.
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The call comes as China makes its first contact with a European leader since adopting mutual sanctions last month over allegations of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, where relations between China and the EU have deteriorated significantly.
“Relations between China and the EU are developing a new phase, as well as various challenges,” Xi told the government-run New News Agency, which is asking the EU to make an “appropriate verdict” independently. ”.
China has expressed concern over US efforts to strengthen alliances around the world, including in Europe, to counter the growing influence of President Joe Biden and to protect the weakened liberal democracy in the Trump administration.
“It is important to fully understand the general direction of development of Sino-European relations from a strategic point of view, respect for each other and eliminate interference,” G told the conference. Chancellor Merkel.
The Chinese president said he wanted his country to “adhere to multilateralism” with the EU and cooperate with Europe on issues such as climate change.
China and the EU concluded talks in December for a major trade agreement, which has not yet been approved by the European Parliament.
However, the deal could be called into question after the EU imposes sanctions on China, which faces allegations of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region.
China has responded by imposing sanctions on various MEPs, academics and the German think tank.
EU, US, Canada and Britain have imposed coordination sanctions on senior Chinese officials suspected of committing repression in Xinjiang, resulting in Beijing adopting other sanctions.
Shortly afterwards, Swedish fashion giant H&M targeted Chinese consumers by boycotting, after last year vowed not to use Xinjiang cotton, which is suspected to have been somewhat cultivated by forced laborers.