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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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abe xi

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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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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HR/VP Federica Mogherini in the EP on the state of EU-China relations

12 September 2018

On 11 September, the European Parliament adopted a non-legislative report, authored by Bas Belder MEP (ECR, NL) on the general state of EU-China relations. The adoption in Strasbourg was followed by a plenary discussion with HR/VP Federica Mogherini on the state of Sino-European relations. 

The report underlined the need for the EU and China to continue to cooperate and reaffirmed the EU's China policy of different modes of engagement for different policy areas. HR/VP Mogherini welcomed the report and underlined that the EU's continued dialogue with China can help the world move beyond the current chaos, towards a better global order. The dialogue will remain based on clarity, on respect, on the EU's interests and values, benefitting both Europe, China and also the rest of the world.

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Mogherini visit deepens EU-Asia relations

12 August 2018

Federica Mogherini spent the first half of August on a major diplomatic effort to deepen EU-Asia relations. After attending the Asean regional forum (ARF) in Singapore, and holding more than a dozen bilateral meetings, she visited Korea, followed by New Zealand and Australia.

Her visit reflects a growing Asian interest in strengthening ties with the EU which is now viewed as a stable and predictable actor, compared to the uncertainty that characterises the US under Trump. The constant refrain from all Asian leaders in recent months is that they do not wish to see the current rules-based international system destroyed.

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Imran Khan

Imran Khan wins Pakistan Elections

30 July 2018

Former cricketer Imran Khan, whose PTI party won more seats than other parties in the 25 July elections, is on course to be the next PM of Pakistan. The second party, the PML-N, led by former PM Sharif, had alleged vote-rigging but said the outcome of elections would be accepted ‘for the sake of democracy.’ There now seems, however, some doubt on this commitment leaving the final outcome uncertain.

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