China’s Envoy warns EU about the ‘peril’ of following US trade curbs

Ambassador to the bloc calls for resistance to unwarranted pressure on Beijing and promises not to be ‘trampled upon’A senior Chinese diplomat stated that Washington should not demand that Europe curb trade with Beijing. He warned any country that severes business ties with China would do so “at their own risk.”

Fu Cong, China’s ambassador to the EU claimed that the US would “stop doing nothing” to disturb normal relations between the bloc’s China and the bloc. He also stated that Europe was experiencing a “protectionist tendency”.

Fu warns European politicians to not undermine positive sentiment towards China. It will only be at their peril.

The ambassador singled out Netherlands as having “succumbed to the pressure from the US” and announced restrictions for China’s exports of high-end semiconductor-making technology. According to the extent of the controls, Beijing might retaliate.

Fu stated that “we do hope that the European governments, and the European politicians can understand their interests and resist the unwarranted US pressure,” and urged the EU to continue its pursuit of “strategic autonomy”.

He referred to the Netherlands and said: “They must be aware of the fact China cannot simply sit back and watch its own interests being trampled in this manner without taking any action.”Fu spoke on the same day that Ursula von der Leyen (president of the European Commission) promised to tighten oversight of trade and investment flows into sensitive technological areas like quantum computing.

Von der Leyen spoke out to say that Brussels needs “new defensive tools” in order to update its security policies against an assertive China. Strong coordination is key to a strong European-China policy . . We must be willing to overcome the divide-and- conquer tactics we are likely to face.”

As relations between the two economic superpowers fall apart over Beijing’s support of Russia and Taiwan, the US has intensified efforts to persuade allies to be more cautious towards China. Von der Leyen wants to be distinct from the US and stresses that her goal is to “de-risk” China, not “decouple”.

China has strong business relations with certain European countries. According to a Wednesday paper by the German think-tank Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft, German companies spent a record EUR11.5 billion in China last year.

Recent EU proposals include increasing supplies of crucial raw materials and increasing domestic production of green tech to decrease China’s dependence. The EU can also use new trade defense tools to counter economic intimidation, curb access for Chinese state subsidised firms and producers who use forced labour.

Fu stated that many of the measures were in violation of World Trade Organization rules, and suggested Beijing would file formal complaints to the Geneva-based organization.

The US and its allies accuse China, along with their allies, of destroying the global trading system through the use of huge industrial subsidies, restrictions on outward investment, and violations of intellectual property protections.

After Beijing placed sanctions on European parliament members, the ratification process of the EU-China investment agreement was halted in 2021. Fu stated that he hoped that the EU leadership would have the courage and political power to approve the deal.

When asked if China would lift sanctions to unlock the process, he replied that Beijing was open to all solutions as long as they were based on equality and reciprocity.

Ambassador said that it was a mistake by the EU to allow the Ukraine conflict to dictate its relations to China.

He said that he didn’t believe it was a rational approach to tie the relationship with China to the Ukrainian crisis. He also stated that Russia’s legitimate security interests must be respected.

He maintained that there was still “room for negotiation” and for China and the EU, to work together in peace promotion.

He said that there was “no way to rule out” the possibility of a telephone call or meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Noting that high-ranking Chinese officials had been in contact with their Ukrainian counterparts.

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