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EU-ASEAN Ministerial Charts Progress

21 January 2019

21 January 2019

 EU and ASEAN Foreign Ministers today agreed to upgrade their relationship to a ‘strategic partnership’, in a show of "support of multilateralism and the rule-based global order".

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Xi Refuses Outside Pressure to Reform (Plus Latest EU Policy Paper)

19 December 2018

19 December 2018

In a major speech on 18 December marking 40 years since the reform and opening up of the Chinese economy by Deng Xiaoping, President Xi Jinping praised the country’s great development from poverty to prosperity and warned that ‘no one is in a position to dictate to the Chinese people what should or should not be done.’ China would develop at its own pace, in its own style, without outside interference or pressure.' 

He stated that China would never seek to be a global hegemon and China’s development ‘will never constitute a threat to any other country.’ Xi made no direct mention of the current trade dispute with the US but emphasised China’s role as a defender of world peace and the international order. 

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European Think Tank Network on China - Report on Political Values in Europe-China Relations

10 December 2018

Last week, the European Think Tank Network on China (ETNC) published its latest report, titled "Political values in Europe-China relations". In its report, the group of researchers from 17 European states analyze the role political values (democracy, human rights and the rule of law) play in Europe's China policy, and whether China has any influence on the understanding of political values in Europe. 

The report finds that three particular factors are of importance to the variety in European approaches towards China: historical legacy, economic relations with China and Chinese pressure. It also finds that Europe's recent impact on China's political values has been rather limited - with the exception of a number of limited individual cases. 

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Council adopts new EU Strategy on India

10 December 2018

10 December 2018

Today, the Council endorsed the Commission's Communication on a new India Strategy. This marks the adoption of the EU's new India Strategy. This new strategy will provide the policy framework for the EU's continued and strengthened engagement with India for the following years.

The Council welcomed the increasing role and responsibility of India on the global stage, through its ambitious foreign policy and fast growing economy. The EU and India aim at jointly promoting peace and security, and strengthening the rules-based global order. The Council furthermore strives for increased cooperation between the EU and India in the promotion of effective multilateralism, growth and prosperity in the EU and India and the wider Asian region, in tackling global challenges such as sustainable development, and in pursuing security interests.

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EU Ambassador to China: ‘New Silk Road cannot be one-way street’

21 November 2018

Speaking at an EU-Asia Centre event in Xi’an on 17 November, Nicolas Chapuis, the EU ambassador to China, welcomed President Xi’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) but said that it should not be a vehicle for China to outsource its overcapacity to developing Asian nations. It should respect international norms and standards as regards sustainability. Huge loans provided under the BRI were often leading to unsustainable debt levels in some countries. In living up to earlier commitments, China must adopt policies to genuinely open up the its services sector, progressively abolish quotas, restrictions and bans on imports, and deepen structural reforms on competition policy, intellectual property rights, standard-setting and transparency in public procurement.

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Xi Opens Shanghai Import Expo

6 November 2018

6 November 2018

On Monday, President Xi Jinping opened China’s first ever import-oriented expo in Shanghai. The President, under strong pressure from Trump on trade, never mentioned the US president by name but sent a strong message claiming that China was a defender of free trade and opposed to protectionism. He said that China would continue opening up and be an attractive market for foreign investors. China would not close its door but would not be pressed to act against its own interests. 


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Landmark China-Japan Summit

30 October 2018

30 October 2018

Last week’s visit to China by Japanese Prime Minister Abe has opened a new chapter in relations between the two strongest powers in Asia. For several years relations remained cool because of disputes over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and Abe’s visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine. 

When Beijing hosted APEC in November 2014, Xi and Abe shared an awkward handshake. In May 2018, Premier Li Keqiang visited Japan for the China–Japan–ROK trilateral summit as well as a bilateral visit with Abe. Now, as both countries are threatened by Trump’s tariff policies, they are seeking to rebuild ties.

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EU_ASIA

Successful ASEM in Brussels

22 October 2018

23 October 2018

Successful ASEM Summit in Brussels

Last week’s ASEM summit was regarded as a success by all participants who, after some disputes on the South China Sea, DPRK and WTO reforms, signed off a reasonably ambitious final statement calling on nations to fight protectionism and defend the rules-based multilateral system. 

In what may be interpreted as a clear defensive signal to President Trump, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with European Commission President Juncker to assess progress in EU-China relations, including on WTO reform and on the investment agreement that is currently being negotiated.

One of ASEM’s greatest strengths is that it has a solid bottom-up dimension, bringing together governments as well as parliaments, the private sector, the academic community and civil society organisations. It therefore has the capacity to engage with several different stakeholders.

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ASEM Comes To Town

17 October 2018

17 October 2018

Apart from the UN General Assembly, the biggest gathering of world leaders take place in Brussels this week for the biannual Asia-Europe meeting, known as ASEM. Representing two-thirds of the world’s population, trade and GDP, Europe and Asia have lots to discuss.

As the US retreats into quasi-isolationism, this is a golden opportunity for the EU and Asia to get their act together in defending the rules-based, multilateral system, and also working out how better to connect their two continents. 

ASEM turns 22 this year. It has got over its teenage tantrums and is turning into a responsible young adult. It still needs nurturing but no one can deny that it has a useful role to play in today’s highly uncertain world.

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Mogherin-Asia connectivity

Mogherini Presents EU's Much Anticipated Connectivity Strategy

21 September 2018

19 September 2018

On 19 September, the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini adopted a long-awaited Communication, forming the elements for an EU Strategy on "Connecting Europe and Asia." 

The Communication lays out the conditions on which the EU is ready to invest in connectivity throughout Europe and Asia. It emphasizes the need for investments to be sustainable - environmentally, socially, financially and economically, with due respect for multilaterally agreed standards on transparency in public procurement, equal market access for businesses and a level playing field. 

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