EU and China to seek to cool tensions at video summit

epa08076424 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi looks on prior to a meeting with European Council President Michel at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 17 December 2019. Wang is on an official visit to Brussels as part of his trip to Europe. EPA-EFE/JOHN THYS / POOL

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The European Union and China will seek to cool tensions on Monday at a video summit, their first formal talks since ties soured over European accusations that Beijing has spread disinformation about the novel coronavirus.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel – the EU’s chief executive and chairman – will hold video conferences with Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping.

“We are ready to work with China. But we also expect China to assume its responsibilities as one of the world’s largest economies,” said a senior official helping prepare the summit. “The pandemic has heightened some (EU) concerns.”

No joint statement is expected after the summit, scheduled to start at 0800 GMT.

EU officials say China has sought to pressure EU countries that criticise its handling of the novel coronavirus, using social media to spread fake reports of European neglect of COVID-19 patients. Beijing has denied wrongdoing.

Even before the pandemic, the two trading partners had differences, including over Hong Kong and an investment pact that is being negotiated.

via Reuters

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