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The EU’s Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen speak after a summit with China. European Council President Charles Michel, right, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at a media conference following an EU-China summit, in video conference format, in Brussels, June 22, 2020 (pool photo by Yves Herman via AP).

As China-EU Relations Sour, a Key Investment Pact Stalls

Monday, June 22, 2020

Earlier this month, Germany announced that a landmark summit between the European Union and China, planned for September in Leipzig, would be postponed. It was initially slated to be the first-ever meeting between China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and all 27 of his counterparts from EU member states. Officials had hoped to make progress at the meeting on a key investment treaty, but have now decided to delay it, ostensibly due to travel difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Many analysts aren’t buying that excuse, though. Relations between Europe and China have deteriorated of late in part because of a disinformation campaign waged by Beijing scorning European countries for their allegedly weak handling of the pandemic and obscuring China’s own lack of transparency about the virus. There are also fresh concerns about Beijing’s efforts to tighten its grip over Hong Kong. Against that backdrop, many observers saw little chance of any progress being made by September, especially on the investment pact and on efforts to increase cooperation on tackling climate change. ...

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