On Monday June 22th, a virtual summit was held between the Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, delegates from the EU and President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, in representation of China. The meeting came after the original summit that was intended to occur in September was postponed.
Ursula von der Leyen stated in a conference on Monday that “the relationship between the EU and China is simultaneously one of the most strategically important and one of the most challenging that we have.”
CGTN, a state-led media agency, reported on the event stating that the talk consisted of discussions to ensure the minimization of “the economic damage caused by the deadly coronavirus” in both territories. The same source indicated that after the reunion China’s premier Li Keqiang commented on the possibility of a cooperation between the two regions in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Both parties reaffirmed their desire to strengthen their bond and carry out a mutual alliance. “The desire of EU-China cooperation has never abated,” stated one of the leaders according to the China’s Xinhua News Agency. The Official Chinese media sources indicated that the summit was useful to ensure the development of their relationship through means such as the finalization of the “China-EU Comprehensive Investment Agreement by this year, a key agreement that would afford broader access to the Chinese market for European business and investors”, according to the CGTN.
Although the meeting served to open up communication, other foreign media agencies reported on certain disagreements that occurred throughout the conversation. According to Politico EU, current controversial topics such as the one of Hong Kong and the cyberattacks in Australia were brought up by the European representatives but did not receive a direct response by the Chinese authorities. The Chinese delegated did not want to discuss the progression of such issues. Regardless, the media source also indicated that there was also no official statement that proved that these matters were discussed.