Closer Sino-EU ties eyed at G20

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/6 0:08:39 Last Updated: 2017/7/6 23:23:49

Sideline talks with Trump expected to focus on North Korea

German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets Chinese President Xi Jinping upon his arrival at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday. Photo: AFP

The upcoming G20 summit offers China and EU an opportunity to further strengthen ties amid the US' waning influence in the region, with the meeting between the top leaders of China and the US on the sidelines of the summit set to focus on the North Korean issue, experts said.

Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, saying that China supports a "united, stable, prosperous and open" EU, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Calling on China and the EU to build partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization, Xi said he hopes China-Germany relations could play leading and stabilizing roles to help maintain the high-level development of China-EU relations.

"The G20 summit gives China and the EU an opportunity to further strengthen ties as US President Donald Trump holds a suspicious attitude toward an international coordinating mechanism, including the G20 summit," Da Wei, director of the Institute of American Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

During her meeting with Xi, Merkel said she was grateful for China's support to Germany as host of the upcoming G20 Hamburg summit, adding that Germany values China's pivotal role in international affairs and appreciates China's support of multilateralism.

Eberhard Sandschneider, a China expert at Berlin's Free University, was cited by Reuters as saying that Merkel's main goal was to gather as many allies as possible on the climate, trade and Africa before the G20 summit, describing the encounter as a pure "coordination meeting."

"Trump has provided an irresponsible image for the US by going against free trade and withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, which have disappointed domestic elites as well as US allies, including Germany. As Germany plays a larger role in solving global issues, it needs China's support, which China is also willing to offer," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Xi, together with Merkel, also attended the opening ceremony of Berlin Zoo's "Panda Garden," and is scheduled to watch a football match between Chinese and German youth teams.

Xi-Trump meeting

Xi will meet with Trump and South Korean president Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, and experts said the meeting between Xi and Trump will play an important role in stabilizing Sino-US ties, as they have been strained by disputes over North Korea, the South China Sea and Taiwan.

"The Korean Peninsula issue will top their meeting ... The two sides may exchange views on the current situation and the US may reiterate its disappointment over China's ability to rein in North Korea," Li said.

North Korea's latest test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday marks a direct challenge to Trump, The Washington Post reported.

Da said the US may ask China to cut oil supplies to and sever trade with North Korea to pressure Pyongyang.

"The US should reflect on its role in the deteriorating situation instead of pinning the blame on China. And it's of no use for the US to be impatient or hope for an instant solution to the North Korean issue since it involves the interests of many powers in the region," Li said.

While the US insists on pressuring North Korea, other countries like China, Russia and South Korea prefer a peaceful engagement which provides room for discussions at the G20 summit, Li said.

"Russia and China share a consensus on how to solve Korean Peninsula issues. And Russia has to take action since US moves in Northeast Asia have overlooked Russia's interests and damaged the regional strategic balance," Li said, adding that Russia's active engagement could help limit possible unreasonable actions by the US.

Xi and Trump are also expected to discuss the South China Sea issue and the Taiwan question, as well as recent US provocations that challenge China's positions on these issues, experts said.

"Trump may want to retain good relations with China, but his ability to provide a stable foreign policy is questionable and has disappointed US elites, who may push for a tougher policy toward China," Li said.

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