Remarks by President of the European Council Donald Tusk after the 19th EU-China Summit
2 June 2017
Good afternoon, let me first of all welcome Premier Li in Brussels. It is very good to have you here.
Yesterday evening we had a good informal meeting with Premier Li and this morning we have just concluded our plenary session of this year’s EU-China summit. We had fruitful and constructive talks that underline the importance we both attach to EU-China relations.
China and the European Union are strategic partners. We have a stake in each other’s success. Our cooperation is broad and continues to broaden and strengthen on issues like trade and investment, climate change, the migration crisis, North Korea, and a security partnership in Africa. We share many interests. Most importantly, we share a fundamental interest in upholding and strengthening the rules-based international system. For example, respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine has been our common position since 2015. And in these difficult times we have a joint responsibility to protect this system and demonstrate its added value in all aspects of our relations.
Today, we are stepping up our cooperation on climate change with China. Which means that today, China and Europe have demonstrated solidarity with future generations and responsibility for the whole planet. We are convinced that yesterday’s decision by the United States to leave the Paris Agreement is a big mistake, bigger than not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, because Paris is fairer. But the fight against climate change, and all the research, innovation and technological progress it will bring, will continue, with or without the US.
However, strong transatlantic ties are far more important and far more durable than the latest, unfortunate decisions of the new Administration. Strong transatlantic ties are still the best guarantee that the people and nations who advocate freedom and peaceful order will not be left helpless or alone.
We also discussed the issue of human rights today. How we can further improve cooperation on this at the bilateral and international level. I expressed our concern about freedom of expression and association in China, including the detention of human rights lawyers and defenders, as well as the situation of minorities such as Tibetans and Uighurs. I am glad we could agree that the next round of our human rights dialogue will take place later this month.
Finally, on North Korea, we welcome China’s efforts. We share a common interest in peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, de-escalation of tensions, and for North Korea to comply with its international obligations and abandon all nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. We count on China’s continued support to achieve these objectives. Thank you.