PARIS (BLOOMBERG) – Foreign Minister Wang Yi is advocating for China and the European Union to reach a deal on investments by the end of the year, Les Echos reports.
Yang, who’s on a European tour, said he hopes negotiations will bear fruit by the end of 2020, the French newspaper reported, citing declarations he made during a talk to a think-tank in Paris.
On Friday, Wang met with President Emmanuel Macron, and the French leader raised concerns about China’s human rights record in dealing with pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong and ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang.
Wang on Sunday (Aug 30) reiterated China’s defence, saying Beijing’s new security law for Hong Kong aimed to end chaos in the former British colony. Muslim Uighurs sent to detention camps in China were sent there for job training and had been released, Wang said, according to Associated Press.
China is looking to push back against a US campaign to convince allies to shun cooperation with Beijing.
The Chinese minister kicked off a week-long European tour on Tuesday that includes stops in Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, France and Germany.
The trip comes after US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo used a recent European trip to warn that China poses a greater threat than Russia.
In Norway, Wang cautioned against giving a Nobel Peace Prize to Hong Kong protesters – underscoring the limitations of Beijing’s diplomatic charm offensive.
Negotiations on the investment deal with the EU revolve around access to the Chinese market for European companies, sustainable development and labor provisions, Les Echos added.
On Saturday, Wang met with the Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who said topics discussed included climate change, the food, aeronautics and nuclear industries, as well as political developments in Mali, Lebanon, North Korea and Iran.
“The minister reiterated our position on respect for international law in the South China Sea,” and “France’s serious concerns about the deterioration of the human rights situation in China, particularly in Hong Kong and Xinjiang,” Le Drian said in a statement.
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