Xi, Li to meet with EU leaders over Ukraine

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The talks are expected to exclude the human rights dialogue – a sideline component of the annual summit for the third year in a row…reports Asian Lite News

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang will participate in a summit with European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday (April 1) to discuss the Ukraine crisis.

“President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, accompanied by High Representative Josep Borrell, representing the EU, will meet Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in the morning and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the afternoon,” the EU Council said in a statement.

According to the statement, the parties will discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the humanitarian situation in the country, as well as bilateral relations between China and the EU.

“The leaders will also discuss the state of bilateral relations and areas of shared interest such as climate change, biodiversity and health, as well as ways to ensure a more balanced and reciprocal trade relationship,” the statement said.

The talks are expected to exclude the human rights dialogue – a sideline component of the annual summit for the third year in a row.

The previous EU-China summit was held in June 2020. The session of 2021 was called off after Brussels’ accusations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang set off a flurry of sanctions between the European Union and China.

The present talks are also expected to revive the negotiations on the bilateral trade deal, the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI).

The talks come amid reports of China advising its companies to adopt a “cautious” approach towards deals with Russia as the country appears to be succumbing to the Western powers who have imposed severe sanctions on Russia.

Recently, Sinopec, Asia’s largest oil refiner moved to stop major investments in a gas chemical plant and a venture to market Russian gas in China in the wake of unexpectedly heavy Western-led sanctions against Moscow, The Standard Hong Kong reported.

Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine last month after recognising the Ukrainian breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as “independent republics.” Russia has since continued to maintain that the aim of its operations has been to “demilitarize” and “de-nazify” the country.

The Russian actions were immediately condemned by almost all the western countries, who rolled out severe sets of sanctions targetting the Russian economy, and key individuals.

A number of countries, including the US, UK, France, Italy, Finland and several others, also banned Russian aircraft over their airspaces. (ANI)

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