2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Closing session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing 2/2
BEIJING / BERLIN (Reuters) – President Xi Jinping told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday that he sees “various challenges” in relations between China and the European Union and hopes the EU can “independently” make correct judgments, a statement from the Chinese government said. The statement quoted Xi as saying during a phone call that the EU and China should respect each other and “eliminate interference,” adding that China is willing to work with the global community to promote the “fair and reasonable distribution” of COVID vaccines. -19 and opposes vaccine nationalism. Last month, the EU imposed its first major sanctions against Chinese officials since 1989 for alleged human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region. Beijing, which denies the allegations, fought back by blacklisting some EU lawmakers and entities. The United States, Britain and Canada also sanctioned Chinese officials for Xinjiang, with the dispute threatening to derail an investment pact between the EU and China agreed in late 2020 after years of negotiations. German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said Merkel and Xi had discussed international efforts to produce and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, deepen economic cooperation and steps to protect the climate and biodiversity. She said the leaders agreed to deepen bilateral ties at the Sino-German government consultations planned for the end of April. “The chancellor stressed the importance of dialogue on the full range of ties, including issues on which there are different opinions,” Demmer said, without giving details of the areas in which Germany and China differ.