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Michel-Xi Meeting Could Expose EU Divisions On China Stance

CHINA-EU

Earlier today European Council President Charles Michel confirmed that he would visit China on 1 December to hold talks with President Xi Jinping, as well as senior officials Li Keqiang and Li Zhanshu. The one-day trip (intended to avoid a COVID-19 quarantine at a time when China is recording rising rates of new cases) comes just weeks after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's visit.

  • EU statement said that "Against the backdrop of a tense geopolitical and economic environment, the visit is a timely opportunity for both EU and China to engage. The EU and Chinese leaders will discuss global challenges as well as subjects of common interest."
  • Michel will have to tread a fine line between relaying comments on issues such as Taiwan and China's stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine from more hawkish EU members, whilst looking to avoid any overt confrontation given the close economic ties between China and many EU member states.
  • The solo trip for Michel has been noted by observers. Scholz was criticised for travelling with German business leaders on his visit rather than fellow EU leaders. Michel is likely to receive similar critique for not taking Commission President Ursula von der Leyen or Foreign Policy head Josep Borrell.
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Earlier today European Council President Charles Michel confirmed that he would visit China on 1 December to hold talks with President Xi Jinping, as well as senior officials Li Keqiang and Li Zhanshu. The one-day trip (intended to avoid a COVID-19 quarantine at a time when China is recording rising rates of new cases) comes just weeks after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's visit.

  • EU statement said that "Against the backdrop of a tense geopolitical and economic environment, the visit is a timely opportunity for both EU and China to engage. The EU and Chinese leaders will discuss global challenges as well as subjects of common interest."
  • Michel will have to tread a fine line between relaying comments on issues such as Taiwan and China's stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine from more hawkish EU members, whilst looking to avoid any overt confrontation given the close economic ties between China and many EU member states.
  • The solo trip for Michel has been noted by observers. Scholz was criticised for travelling with German business leaders on his visit rather than fellow EU leaders. Michel is likely to receive similar critique for not taking Commission President Ursula von der Leyen or Foreign Policy head Josep Borrell.