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Mogherini Visit to China and India

27 April 2017

Federica Mogherini had successful talks in China and India (plus Russia) in the third week of April. In both countries, largely as a reaction to the unpredictability of the Trump administration, she found a renewed interest in a strong EU as a pillar of the multilateral system especially on free trade and climate change. There was also growing interest in the EU as a security actor.

The China leg was to participate in the regular strategic dialogue with State Councillor Yang Jiechi. She also met the Minister of National Defence Chang Wanquan, PM Li Keqiang, EU business leaders, and gave a speech at Tsinghua university. The visit also helped prepare the annual EU-China summit scheduled for early June in Brussels.

 Building on President Xi’s Davos speech in which he emphasised China’s commitment to multilateralism, Mogherini was able to engage her Chinese interlocutors in a range of issues where the EU and China could work together.  These included trade where she pressed for conclusion of the bilateral investment negotiations; climate change – maintaining Paris commitments; UN sustainable development targets; urbanisation and innovation. Mogherini explained the on-going EU legislative proposal to change the EU’s anti-dumping procedures, which would impact on MES.

 

The foreign policy agenda covered latest developments surrounding the DPRK with the Chinese pushing their proposal of the US and ROK suspending military exercises while the DPRK refrained from further nuclear testing. There was much common ground on the Middle East (Syria and Iran) and a willingness to increase cooperation on Afghanistan. Interestingly there was also a greater readiness for China to engage on Africa, a recognition of common security threats and that that the EU had certain experience of the continent. 

 

In India Mogherini met with Minister of External Affairs Swaraj and also called on PM Modi and National Security Advisor Doval. The visit was partly follow up to last year’s summit in Brussels and preparations for this year’s summit in Delhi in October. Again there was much talk of promoting the multilateral agenda in the face of uncertainty from Washington. Both sides accepted that their strategic partnership was not fulfilling its potential and sketched out areas to deepen cooperation including Afghanistan, climate change, counter-terrorism, migration, maritime security and non-proliferation). There were also exchanges on the Korean peninsula and China as well as discussion on how the EU and China could deepen cooperation on India’s modernisation agenda (water, energy, urban development). Prospects for reaching agreement on the FTA before the summit, however, seem dim.