China and EU Postpone Leipzig Summit Amid Pandemic
What’s new: The European Union and China agreed to postpone their annual summit because of the coronavirus pandemic, said Steffen Seibert, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman. The summit had been scheduled to take place Sept. 14 at Leipzig, Germany, after Berlin takes over the EU’s rotating presidency next month.
The spokesman said in a statement Wednesday that Merkel held separate phone talks with China's President Xi Jinping and EU Council President Charles Michel.
“They agreed that due to the overall pandemic situation, the meeting cannot take place at the planned time and will be postponed,” he said. There has been no updated schedule for the summit.
The background: China has been stepping up efforts at closer ties with the EU by negotiating a bilateral investment treaty at a time when relations with the United States worsens over a series of disputes on economic, geopolitical and technological competitions. Meanwhile, the 27-member bloc is trying to formulate a coordinated approach toward China on a variety of issues including security concerns over the participation of China’s telecommunication giant Huawei in the European market.
“We are working to wrap up negotiations on the China-EU investment agreement within the year and expand mutually beneficial cooperation in new areas such as connectivity, the environment, the digital economy and artificial intelligence,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said May 24 during a press conference.
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