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The demands come as tensions continue to worsen between China and the EU, just weeks after Beijing threatened to impose sanctions on the bloc. Yang Jiechi, a high-ranking member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has now demanded the EU step up its efforts with Beijing – and get into line on controversial topics.
The Chinese diplomat said this year – the 45th anniversary of ties between the two superpowers – should be an opportunity for both sides to “work together to meet each other halfway”.
He added the EU was “one of the most important foreign relationships for China” and “differences in social systems and development modes” should not be a barrier to cooperation as the two sides’ shared interests expand.
Mr Jeichi said Beijing was also ready to press ahead with negotiations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea after tensions soared with the United States over military exercises.
He suggested the two sides should strengthen the political guidance for bilateral relations, enhance political mutual trust, converge common ground and resolve differences.
He also urged the EU to “expand the scale of bilateral trade and advance green development and digital economy corporation”.
But most importantly, Mr Jiechi stressed the EU should “beef up cooperation in combating the COVID-19 outbreak”.
Finally, he called on both sides to resolve global and regional hotspot issues and maintain close coordination on the reform of the UN Security Council, the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization.
Divisions have emerged between the EU and China over the role of Chinese companies building 5G networks.
Brussels has also raised severe concerns about human rights and issues such as Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Beijing is also accused of interning a million members of Muslim minority groups, which China denies.
Professor Wang Yiwei, academic of European studies at Renmin University in Beijing, said: “European companies are facing increasingly competitive Chinese rivals.
“Issues such as Hong Kong and Xinjiang offer the bloc another perspective.
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“The coronavirus pandemic sounded the alarm on over-reliance on China and served as a wake-up call on diversification and self-sufficiency.
“The EU is adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach on the outcome of the China-EU investment deal negotiations, especially any major political commitment by President Xi Jinping in the upcoming video summit with EU leaders on September 14, as well as the presidential election result in the US which may reshape its relationship with Washington.”
China threatened to impose sanctions on the EU after the European Parliament passed a resolution in June to bring China before the International Court of Justice over its decision to adopt the new law.
In the resolution adopted by 565 votes to 34, with 62 abstentions, MEPs claim China’s decision to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong violates the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The resolution concluded the parliament “believes that the EU should use its economic leverage to challenge China’s crackdown on human rights by economic means”.
But China claims the EU had distorted the facts.
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