Taiwan conflict, persecution of minorities, sanctions: Relations between Beijing and Brussels are noticeably strained. In view of global challenges, EU Council President Michel is still traveling to China. it is the first visit since the recent wave of protests.
China's head of state and party leader Xi Jinping received EU Council President Charles Michel in Beijing. The meeting will deal with the tense geopolitical situation, the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and the future relationship between the European Union and China. Other topics include the fight against climate change, trade tensions and economic relations.
Relations have recently deteriorated noticeably: Beijing and the EU are at odds over Chinese backing for Russian President Vladimir Putin, China's threats to Taiwan, human rights violations, the persecution of minorities such as in Xinjiang or Tibet, and Chinese sanctions against EU politicians.
The EU sees China as a "partner, competitor and rival" at the same time. From a European perspective, however, China has shifted the balance of challenges and opportunities over time. Given China's important role in dealing with global and regional challenges, the EU continues to seek dialogue and cooperation, the European side said.
Because of the strict zero Covid protocol in China, Michel, like Chancellor Olaf Scholz, was only in Beijing for a one-day visit at the beginning of November and was isolated in a "closed circuit". It is the first personal visit by an EU leader to Beijing since the pandemic began.
Michel is also the first foreign politician to meet Xi Jinping following the recent wave of protests against China's tough zero Covid measures. Out of displeasure with lockdowns, forced quarantine, mass tests and constant control over the Corona app, thousands demonstrated in several cities with a population of more than one million over the weekend. Since then, a large deployment of security forces has largely prevented protests.