“Senior EU officials have unsuccessfully sought to persuade Beijing to push Moscow toward appeasement,” Eurasia Group experts wrote in a note on Tuesday. “[They] It will now seek to recruit Xi, but the feeling in Brussels is that China is not interested in putting pressure on Russia.”
The row over the Russia-Ukraine crisis stands in contrast to the economic relations between China and Europe, which have deepened during the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s a look at how things are — and what’s at stake.
What’s on the table
“The way China deals with this conflict will have an impact on the future of EU-China relations in general,” Reinhard Botkofer, head of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with China, told reporters ahead of the summit.
China acknowledged the tension in the room, but backed away from any assertions of wrongdoing.
“The current international situation is volatile,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press conference on Wednesday.
China has long sought to drive a wedge between the United States and the European Union, with officials and state media often citing the importance of the bloc’s “strategic independence” from Washington.
big business partner
Despite the pressure China and the European Union depend heavily on each other for hundreds of billions of dollars in trade each year.
In 2021, this trend continued: the total trade in goods between China and the European Union amounted to 695.5 billion euros (about 777 billion dollars), compared to 631.4 billion euros ($704 billion) in trade between the United States and the European Union.
China was the number one source of EU imports and the third largest destination for EU exports, after the United States and the United Kingdom, according to Eurostat.
who trades what
Cars, machinery and communications equipment are among the most traded commodities between Europe and China.
For Europe, automobiles and their components are among the hottest exports, while aviation and electrical equipment are very popular.
Meanwhile, baby strollers, data processing machines, furniture and other household appliances are among the top Chinese sellers in Europe. Many products flow into the Netherlands, home to Europe’s largest port in Rotterdam.
The region’s largest exporters to China are Germany – which alone accounts for €104.7 billion ($116.5 billion) of goods shipped to China – followed by France and the Netherlands.
Currently, however, tensions are high over one particular, Much smaller EU country: Lithuania.
This move is angry The Communist leadership in Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, although it has never ruled it.
“The problem between China and Lithuania is political, not economic,” he said.
Janka Auertel, director of the Asia program at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the issue was likely to be on the top of EU leaders’ concerns on Friday.
“Brussels will have to send a strong signal of unity to deter further attacks – implicit or explicit -,” she said.
Eurasia Group analysts said that given the large number of current issues, this is “not a start” for now.
– CNN Beijing bureau contributed to this report, Irene Nasir, Julia Horowitz, James Frater, Martin Guilando and Luke McGee.
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