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The EU is at a crossroads in its relationship with China, and should prioritise its own interests rather than America’s

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September is set to be an important month in redefining the EU’s relationship with China, as the foreign ministers of the bloc gather for a two-day summit where Beijing, and the crisis in Afghanistan, will be high on the agenda. To date, 2021 has not been a good year for ties between Brussels and China.

The decision by the EU to join the United States in a sanctions spree against Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang proved to be a short-sighted mistake which saw China respond, and ultimately delay a much sought-after comprehensive agreement on investment (CAI) offering European firms more market access in the country.

A further crisis, after Lithuania decided to expand its ties with Taiwan, has since made matters worse, with China reducing diplomatic ties with the Baltic country and now considering trade sanctions against it, which EU officials claim is against international law.

The upcoming summit is unlikely to commit to any action, but will aim to forge a new underlying consensus on what strategy to follow. China, on the other hand, is eager to move past the current impasse in ties, as it recognises the importance of keeping the EU onside, and is keen to prevent it forming an alliance with the US as a key part of its own strategy. As a result, Foreign Minister Wang Yi has made a last-minute effort to lobby support, phoning an envoy to France’s President Emmanuel Macron to relay the message that China and Europe should be partners rather than rivals.

It is not surprising that Europe stands at a crossroads in its relationship with China. But,........

© RT.com

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