China pledges open economy at EU summit | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, April 11, 2019

China pledges open economy at EU summit

China on Tuesday said it would push further to open its economy and deepen ties with the EU, which has grown increasingly wary of Beijing's influence in Europe.

EU Council president Donald Tusk hailed Beijing's new commitments at an EU-China summit in Brussels as a "breakthrough" with both sides committed to globalisation and pursuing international rules.

The annual meeting brings together China's number two leader and the EU's top officials and serves as a litmus test of the state of ties between Europe and the Asian giant.

This year's meeting comes at a sensitive time, a month after the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, branded Beijing "a systemic rival" in a special 10-point report that stressed China's unwillingness to play fair on trade.

It also lands amid big questions over Huawei, the Chinese high-tech giant that Washington wants the European Union to ban due to the firm's alleged ties to Chinese state security.

"On the basis of mutual respect and equality, we had intense discussions and reached a substantive joint statement," China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang said after the talks.

"It sets in clear terms both the direction and concrete goals for both sides."

The joint declaration was only agreed after frantic last-minute haggling, but it narrowly avoids the diplomatic dust-up seen two years ago when China refused to sign on to a statement due to a spat over trade.

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