US, EU welcome ‘converging’ positions on China

The approach of the United States and Europe towards China is “more and more convergent”, declared Friday the American Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, after meetings with the head of the diplomatic service of the European Union.

US President Joe Biden has underlined as a hallmark of his foreign policy the importance of working closely with his allies to push back what his administration sees as China’s increasingly assertive behavior in the world.

The EU and the United States on Thursday expressed concern over China’s actions in the South and East China Seas and the Taiwan Strait, which they say have a “direct impact” on their security and safety. respective prosperity.

Sherman, speaking at a Brookings Institution briefing with Stefano Sannino, secretary-general of the European External Action Service, said Washington was determined to stand “side by side” with European partners to engage China with “collective force”.

“We see our approach and the EU’s approach to the PRC as complementary and increasingly convergent and aligned,” she said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

Sannino, speaking after two days of talks with Sherman in Washington, said the EU recognizes the importance of China, but does not hesitate when Beijing’s actions fall outside the rules. He called recent Chinese measures against EU member Lithuania “extremely worrying” and “unacceptable”.

“When I see the way… the Biden-Harris administration defines its relationship with China, when I see how it defines its interests in the Indo-Pacific region, I think we’re really going in the same direction,” said Sannino.

Sannino said Europe was striving to create an environment in the Indo-Pacific conducive to cooperation, but where the cost of confrontation was “extremely high”, including by strengthening its security presence.

He said the EU is keen to strengthen its economic and cultural ties with Democracy Taiwan, an exporter of key components for European industry that Beijing claims to be its own.

China downgraded diplomatic relations with Lithuania after Taiwan’s representative office opened in Lithuania on November 18.

Since then, Lithuanian officials have said that China has imposed a customs blockade on Lithuanian exports and has been pressuring companies in third countries not to do business with the small Baltic state.

While Sherman and Sannino have both highlighted common concerns and approaches, EU-US relations are still recovering from the shock of a deal struck between the US and former EU member Great Britain. -Brittany, to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, which torpedoed an important French contract with Canberra. .

Sannino said it’s not just a business issue, but a trust issue.

“We can’t say these aren’t scars left behind, but all scars… can be healed,” he said. “So it depends a little bit on the effort that is made, on the medication that you apply.”

He said Australia was an important and like-minded regional partner.

“So I hope that can be done and that it can return to a more normal situation. And I hope that it can happen as soon as possible.

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