12/18/2019, 10.21
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Beijing: By hook or by crook, Europe must trade with us

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says that Europe and China are "non-competitive" partners. But for the investment agreement, China is not taking the steps required by the EU. The threats of Ambassador Wu Ken in Berlin.

Brussels (AsiaNews) - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said yesterday that Beijing wants Europe to be a trading partner, not a "rival". In a meeting with European Council President Charles Michel he said that "the two sides should strengthen the conscience of being partners" and make it clear that "we are not competitors".

Last March, the European Commission called China "a systemic rival" that takes advantage of the freedom of trade that exists in the EU to acquire "technological leadership" and "promote alternative models of governance".

The European Commission also asked for clarifications and changes of style in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the New Silk Road, so that it benefited not only Chinese companies, as has happened so far, but also European companies. It also demanded greater freedom in foreign investment in China.

An investment agreement is still far from being concluded and Wang Yi's visit to Europe wants to hasten it. But for the European side it is China that has failed to make any progress.

In talks with the new European leadership, Wang also demanded that the EU "maintain balance and justice by issuing well-informed and independent judgments on 5G". The reference is to the limitations in the name of security that several European countries are implementing on the use of the 5G communication system proposed by Huawei, suspected of being linked to the Beijing government.

In fact, controversy surrounding 5G is brewing in Germany these days. Chancellor Angela Merkel opted not ban to Huawei, and her decision is receiving much criticism even from members of her coalition who would rather block the Chinese communications giant.

Four days ago the Chinese ambassador in Berlin, Wu Ken, in a rally organized by the Handelsblatt newspaper stated that "if Germany takes the decision to exclude Huawei from the German market, there will be consequences. The Chinese government will not stand idly by”.

Beijing is critical of Germany for the latter's position in defense of the Hong Kong democratic movement and the Uyghur population in Xinjiang.

Wang Yi's haste to conclude the investment agreement is also explained by the fact that from September 2020 it will be Germany to preside over the EU.

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