EU Seeking Closer Security Ties With China

EU Seeking Closer Security Ties With China
EU Seeking Closer Security Ties With China

Europe aims to improve security and defense cooperation with China, especially in the Middle East and in the fight against human trafficking, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Tuesday following high-level talks in Beijing.

Federica Mogherini’s two-day visit comes as Beijing launches a diplomatic offensive to move Sino-European relations beyond trade and raise China’s international profile, buoyed by its success winning European participation in a new Asian bank, Reuters reported. Trade is still at the core of the relationship, worth $519 billion (467b euro) last year, but China’s bid to deepen cooperation on world affairs resonates with the EU as it seeks to forge a more unified foreign policy among its 28 member countries.

Mogherini told reporters during a joint appearance with China’s top diplomat, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, that the two discussed “concrete possibilities” of strengthening security and defense ties, pointing to the example of successful anti-piracy cooperation in the Gulf of Aden.

“We discussed the situation in Iraq and Syria and briefly in Libya, where the European Union and China share common interests and where our joint efforts could make a real difference,” Mogherini said. She also said both sides had reiterated that the conflict in Ukraine can only be solved “diplomatically.”

She praised China’s “precious” role in Iran nuclear talks and said China had an “important role” to play in countering human trafficking as it is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Mogherini’s visit comes ahead of a China-EU summit in Brussels in June, where she said opportunities to work on infrastructure cooperation would also be discussed.

China appears set on reworking existing global governance mechanisms, laying down a challenge to the United States and the institutions that Washington has dominated since World War II.

Those efforts enjoyed spectacular success recently when the nascent Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) won unexpected backing from European governments who chose to join despite Washington’s misgivings.