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The US and EU will resume a joint effort to manage a more assertive China

The US and EU will resume a joint effort to manage a more assertive China

The US and EU are ready to restart a joint effort to address China’s growing demand after working with the UK and Canada to impose sanctions on civil servants for human rights violations in Xinjiang.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will resume US-EU talks in China on Wednesday in Brussels with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels, according to people familiar with the plan.

The conversation began before Donald Trump ran for re-election in November but was unsuccessful, in part because of frustration with the former president’s approach. The state department refused.

The decision to renew the dialogue, which will focus on areas such as human rights and security, came two months after Joe Biden was named US president at a crucial moment in Washington’s relations with Beijing.

In addition to imposing penalties on Wednesday, Tuesday, Uyghur treatment in Xinjiang, USA he announced harsh measures For weakening the autonomy of the financial center against Chinese and Hong Kong officials. The final decision was made before talks between Blinken and Jake Sullivan, a U.S. national security adviser, and senior Chinese officials in Alaska. extra public feed.

Maaike Okano-Heijmans, an EU-Asia expert at the Clingendael Institute, think-tank, said the European government was concerned last week about whether they could cooperate with the US. Terrifying consensus with China Washington.

“Biden’s approach is different because it’s about multilateralism,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. But the tone in which Alaska went home may be harder than some expected. I wonder if that will be a little worrying for Europeans. “

A senior US official has stressed that Blinken does not mean that Yang Jiechi (China’s chief foreign policy chief) will not cooperate with Beijing.

“The theater around the opening notes it did not reflect subsequent civil, foggy and fundamental debates, “he said.” We are clear with other nations that they should not feel the need to choose between the US and China, and that we will work with China when we value the interests of the American people. “

Public debate between left-wing Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted that relations would remain frozen in the Biden administration © Frederic J. Brown / Pool / Reuters

The EU called on the US to cooperate with its allies in taking over China from the Trump administration. But it has also tried to perceive the bloc as part of a global alliance against China, maintaining a policy of seeing its 2019 partners, economic competitors and “systemic rivals” at the same time – a tactic that worries Beijing. China returned to Xinjiang measures by imposing its own sanctions on EU institutions, parliamentarians, think tanks and academics.

All of this has a complicated effort to work towards a common EU approach, which is decided by consensus among the 27 Member States.

“Now there is a US administration that said it wants to work really hard [with allies] Will Europe be willing to take a “yes” answer? “said Lindsay Gorman of the German Marshall Fund in the United States, think tank.

A person familiar with the US-EU effort in China said the two sides were committed to working together, such as artificial intelligence standards and supply chains. He added that there was no indication that the Biden team would take a “my path or highway” approach that could complicate the collaboration.

Eric Sayers of the American Business Institute, think-tank, said the U.S. should focus on reaping victories with allies with “small but significant opportunities,” such as human rights, supply chains and China’s economic hardship.

“Biden. . . Goldilocks faces a classic problem in China with US allies: not too hot or not too cold, “he added.” Europeans have said they want to do more, but that means they will be forced to publicly align with the US. “

European governments have already taken action against Beijing. Under pressure from the US administration under the Trump administration, some countries have put a limit on Huawei, allowing the telecommunications group to enter the market, and have been vigilant with Chinese espionage.

The EU is also working with the US and Japan to make changes to the World Trade Organization, which would focus China’s activities in areas such as industrial subsidies.

But the divergent views of EU countries on trade are an area that is harder for China to take. Hungary is keen to cultivate relations with Beijing and Germany, the bloc’s largest economy, for hurting export cars to the world’s largest car market.

“Biden. . . Europe will be encouraged to join China’s tough stance, ”said Rhodium Group adviser Noah Barkin.“ This will mean very tough opportunities in Brussels, Berlin and Paris. Last week showed that it is much more difficult to ride the rope between Washington and Beijing. ”

An EU-China investment agreement What was agreed in December was supposed to show that relationships could be constructive. The deal came to an end despite concerns over human and labor rights provisions, and he criticized China for giving him a diplomat a few weeks before the inauguration of the Way, as his group was pleased.

But bans against China’s five MEPs have called into question whether the European Parliament will approve the deal after imposing sanctions on Xinjiang. “Trying to silence this organization could backfire,” said Bernd Lange, chairman of the parliamentary trade committee that is verifying the deal, he tweeted After the Chinese revenge.

“It looks like the dam is broken. . . In Brussels, “said Theresa Fallon, an EU-China relations expert and founder of the Center for Russia’s Europe Asia Studies.” China is taking Europe into the arms of the United States. “

Continue Demetri Sevastopulo and Michael Peel On Twitter

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