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Beijing wants closer ties with Europe, says Xi

Courtesy: Dawn News/AFP

SHANGHAI: China is willing to strengthen relations with Europe, President Xi Jinping said on Friday, at a meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo in Beijing.

De Croo arrived in China on Thursday, attending the inauguration of the new Belgian embassy in Beijing and meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the same day.

“China is willing to work with the European Union to promote steady progress in China-EU relations in the new year,” Xi told De Croo when the two men met on Friday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, according to a readout by state broadcaster CCTV.

“In the face of the chaotic international situation, it is necessary to build more bridges between China and Europe,” Xi said, adding that the two sides should “jointly promote world peace, stability and prosperity”.

Beijing and the EU are major trade partners but the bloc has recently signalled a desire to reduce reliance on China in technology and other areas.

The EU has launched an enquiry into China’s subsidies for homegrown EV makers after accusations that their cheap products undercut European competitors — claims denied by Beijing.

And deteriorating ties between China and the West in recent years have given rise to concerns in Brussels over the potential vulnerabilities posed by AI, misinformation, and data security.

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