Four European foreign ministers in China amid tensions with EU

Beijing, May 29 (EFE).- The foreign ministers of Serbia, Poland, Ireland, and Hungary Saturday began a three-day visit to China at a time when relations with the European Union (EU) have hit a roadblock after Brussels halted the approval of an investment deal with the Asian country.

Poland’s Zbigniew Rau, Ireland’s Simon Coveney, Hungary’s Péter Szijjártó, and Serbia’s Nikola Selakovic (the only one out of the four whose country is not part of the EU) would meet their Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

The diplomats would “exchange views on bilateral relations, regional cooperation, China-Europe relations and other issues of common concerns,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters on Friday.

“Poland, Serbia, Ireland, and Hungary are China’s important cooperation partners in Europe, and have long been engaged in friendly relations with China,” he said.

The Chinese spokesperson said his country hoped to “enhance political mutual trust and deepen pragmatic cooperation with the above four countries through this visit” and “achieve comprehensive and balanced development of China-Europe relations.”

Bilateral ties deteriorated in March when Brussels and other Western allies imposed a series of sanctions against four senior Chinese officials and an entity for alleged human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region.

China responded by sanctioning 10 Europeans – including five European Parliament members – and four entities.

It led to the suspension of the approval of the investment deal that Beijing and Brussels had reached in December. EFE


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