Brussels, Apr 1 (EFE).- China should help end the war in Ukraine and “actively engage” in achieving global peace, the European Union said Friday.
“Equidistance is not enough, active engagement for peace is important and every player should play its role,” president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, told reporters following the EU-China summit in Brussels.
The summit focused on easing economic relations amid mounting pressure from the West for Beijing to cool its alliance with Russia.
“China has an influence on Russia and therefore we expect China to take its responsibility to end this war and that Russia comes back to a peaceful negotiation solution,” she added.
So far, the Chinese government has been ambiguous in condemning the invasion of Ukraine.
The EU considers it is in China’s interest to stop the war to avoid jeopardizing global economic stability, especially given that in 2021, 13.7% of Chinese exports were with the EU, ahead of trade with the United States which amounted to 12.5% of exports, and Russia with only 2.4%.
“We hope that our arguments were heard by China and that it takes in consideration the importance of their international image and the importance of the economic relation between the EU and China,” European Council president Charles Michel, added.
The EU leaders said discussions with Chinese premier Li Keqiang during the summit were “open and frank” despite their opposing political ideologies.
“We share the same goals, we want peace, we want prosperity, we want security,” Michel said.
Chinese president Xi Jinping said China and the EU should “strengthen communication” and “bring global stability” during this “complicated” period.
“Given the circumstances, China and the EU, two of the world’s major forces, civilizations and markets, should strengthen communication, especially on issues concerning global peace and development,” Xi said in a video message.
Meanwhile, Li Keqiang said Beijing would push for peace in Ukraine “in its own way” and was willing to play a constructive role together with the international community.
Economic relations between the EU and China soured last year when the block issued sanctions on Beijing over reported violations of human rights in Xinjiang province, the first such economic measures since the Tiananmen massacre in 1989.
In December 2020, EU lawmakers ratified an investment agreement that would have paved the way for European companies to compete on equal terms in the Chinese market but the deal has since stalled.
In a move that further stagnated relations, the EU challenged China at the World Trade Organization in February over Beijing’s veto on exports of Lithuanian products, after Vilnius allowed the opening of a trade office in Taiwan, over which Beijing makes territorial claims.EFE