Remarks by President of the European Council Charles Michel after the EU-China summit via videoconference
1 April 2022
Good afternoon. We have just concluded our EU-China summit. Today’s summit is not business as usual, because this is a war-time summit. We are living through the gravest security crisis in Europe since World War Two. Putin’s war in Ukraine continues to kill women and children and destroy entire cities, and this is a blatant violation of international law. The European Union’s top priority is to stop the war as soon as possible and to protect the Ukrainian people.
In times of crisis, dialogue is needed more than ever. That is why we focused on what can be done to end this war as soon as possible. The EU and China agreed that this war is threatening global security and the world economy. This global instability is not in China’s interest and not in the EU’s interest. We share a responsibility as global actors to work for peace and stability. We call on China to help end the war in Ukraine. China cannot turn a blind eye to Russia’s violation of international law. These principles are enshrined in the UN Charter and principles sacred to China.
The EU, together with its international partners, has imposed heavy sanctions on Russia. Our goal is to put pressure on the Kremlin to end the war. These sanctions also have a price for us in Europe, but this is the price of defending freedom and democracy. Any attempts to circumvent sanctions or provide aid to Russia would prolong the war. This would lead to more loss of life and a greater economic impact. This is not in anyone’s long-term interests. We will also remain vigilant on any attempts to aid Russia financially or militarily. However, positive steps by China to help end the war would be welcomed by all Europeans and by the global community.
We also discussed areas of shared interest where we cooperate, such as global health. We want to engage with China and all members of the WHO on a new agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. We are also cooperating with China to protect our planet. We can and we must do more. We must be ready for COP27 in Egypt later this year. We also called on China to further increase its ambition on environment, biodiversity and climate action.
We also discussed areas where we disagree. We raised our concerns about China’s treatment of minorities in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, and of the people of Tibet. This includes the crackdown on human rights defenders. We also expressed our regret at the dismantling of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle in Hong Kong. We also insisted a lot on the relaunch of the Human Rights Dialogue, and Prime Minister Li Keqiang confirmed that this relaunch would take place. We also raised individual human rights cases.
We also discussed our trade and economic relationship with China, to make it fairer, to ensure reciprocity, to achieve a level playing field, to rebalance our bilateral trade and investment relations. We also raised the issue of China’s discriminatory trade practices against Lithuania and the effects on the integrity of the single market.
We also touched on a number of international issues: Taiwan, of course, and the importance of preserving stability and the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, the challenges in Afghanistan, as well as the situation in Myanmar and the Korean Peninsula.
En conclusion, nous avons eu l’occasion de mener ces discussions avec les autorités chinoises dans ce contexte exceptionnel: cette situation extrêmement grave, avec cette guerre déclenchée par la Russie en Ukraine. Cette guerre est une tragédie pour l’Ukraine. Cette guerre est aussi une agression contre l’ordre international fondé sur des règles et contre le droit international en général.
Nous avons eu l’occasion d’argumenter, de plaider, d’expliquer quelle est la position de l’Union européenne et de quelle manière nous comptons sur l’engagement de la Chine afin d’agir de manière active, afin de participer à tous les efforts pour restaurer la paix et la stabilité.