The United States and European Union (EU) discussed a “growing list” of Beijing’s concerning behaviors during a new round of diplomatic talks on China.
The two sides reiterated the importance of a joint effort to uphold international rules and shared values, while pledging “continuous and close contacts,” according to a joint press release of both sides issued on Dec. 2.
It came after the second high-level meeting of the U.S.-EU Dialogue on China in Washington earlier that day, co-chaired by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and European External Action Service Secretary-General Stefano Sannino.
Following the inaugural dialogue in May, the Dec. 2 talk signals increasingly convergent views and deepened transatlantic united front amid rising geopolitical tensions with Beijing.
The two senior diplomats expressed alarm over China’s actions “that are of concern” both at home and overseas, including ongoing human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and violations of rule-based international order.
“Deputy Secretary Sherman and Secretary-General Sannino also discussed the growing list of China’s actions that are of concern, including those that breach international law and run counter to the shared values and interests of the United States and the EU,” the statement reads.
Sherman and Sannino expressed their readiness to counter disinformation “sponsored or supported by China,” beef up economic and technological resilience; and protect intellectual property rights, critical infrastructure, and sensitive technologies, implying multifaceted threats posed by China.
According to the joint release, the two “expressed strong concern over China’s problematic and unilateral actions” in the South and East China Seas and the Taiwan Strait, which undermine regional peace and have a direct security impact on both the United States and the EU.
“They further reaffirmed the importance of upholding and promoting freedom of navigation and overflight in accordance with international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and discussed how to counteract risks in the areas of strategic stability and cybersecurity.”
Sherman and Sannino are due to continue China-related discussions with high-level consultations on the Indo-Pacific on the following day.
U.S. President Joe Biden has stressed the importance of working closely with allies in pushing back against China’s growing power and increasingly assertive behavior worldwide.
A U.S. official briefing ahead of the talks said Washington and Brussels have “increasingly convergent” concerns about China.
A day earlier, the EU stated it has rolled out a $340 billion “Global Gateway” program to invest in global infrastructure projects through 2027. The move would counter China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing’s global infrastructure plan that has been criticized as a vehicle for expanding its geopolitical influence.
European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis has called 2021 “a breakthrough year for EU–U.S. trade relations” in an interview for the Reuters Next conference.
Last month, The United States, the EU, and Japan announced to renew a trilateral partnership to address challenges posed by the non-market policies and practices of third countries.