Tag: EU-China relations

Lawmakers from US, EU form alliance to counter China
Americas, Europe

Lawmakers from US, EU form alliance to counter China

Following recent Chinese overtures in Hong Kong, in a unique effort, Members of Parliament (MP) from the US and Europe have formed an alliance to look into the issue.

18 MPs from the US and Europe have come together to form the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). The cross-continent initiative will also look into China’s role in the COVID outbreak.

US Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez are part of the alliance. Other representatives are from the European Parliament, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, and Sweden.

The group will work towards a “strategic approach” on issues about China.

Rubio, without mincing words, said, “China, under the Chinese Communist Party, presents a global challenge.” The IPAC will coordinate the response to that “challenge.”

The alliance will work towards safeguarding the international rules-based order, uphold human rights, and promote fair trade. The 18 member body will also work for strengthening security and promoting national integrity.

The US has objected to discriminatory trade practices of China in the past. Recently tension between the two has flared up over how China handled the novel Coronavirus crisis. The death toll in the US, from the viral infection, has crossed over a hundred thousand.

The US government has also raised concern over China tightening grip over the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong.

China in late May announced that it would impose National Security law in the former British colony. The US, UK, Australia reacted sharply over this move. The US announced that it would take steps that might alter Hong Kong’s special trade and economic relationship with the US.

Recently the US Congress passed a bill allowing the US President to take steps against Chinese human rights violations against the Uyghurs.

Senator Rubio and Menendez are known for their hardline stand against China. The two had introduced the bill to impose sanctions against China in then Congress in 2019, against human rights violations in Xinjiang province.

China has increased its patrol in the South China Sea. It is also intruding on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

China’s Hong Kong law escalates tensions for EU in the world order
Asia Pacific Focus

China’s Hong Kong law escalates tensions for EU in the world order

China’s handling of Hong Kong has raised grave concerns with the European Union governments, implying that it will affect the EU-China relations. Furthermore, the EU is facing potential complications with the United States over Washington’s unprecedented response to the tensions between China and Hong Kong. This dilemma has emerged for the EU amid inevitable efforts of post-pandemic recovery and continuing tussle with the UK on a major foreign policy issue since Brexit.

During a meeting with foreign ministers of the 27 nations of the bloc on Friday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called for the need for dialogue over Hong Kong and to discuss with Chinese authorities about the repercussions of the move on some issues of mutual interest. EU’s cautious statement came after strong condemnation from the United States, Britain, Australia, and Canada against Chinese legislation against Hong Kong’s freedom.

Notably, EU’s relations with China have been facing certain strains amid the Coronavirus pandemic and ongoing Sino-US cold war which can pose adverse consequences in the world order.

Responding to China’s move in Hong Kong, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US will no longer treat Hong Kong as autonomous for trade and economic purposes, which will have drastic impacts on the economy of the city. Earlier, US President Trump also announced to impose sanctions on China over its Hong Kong approach. On the other hand, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab said that the UK will extend visa rights for as many as 300,000 Hong Kong British national (overseas) passport holders if China continues with the repressive laws. Meanwhile, Retaliating to international criticism of its national security law on Hong Kong, China on Friday threatened countermeasures against the UK and the US.

Significantly, the EU has been divided on China amid the ongoing circumstances. While European governments have been ensuring measures to tighten their defence against Chinese investment in Europe, certain leaders of the bloc raising questions against China’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. Even though world governments have been critical of China’s security law, the European Union has maintained a diplomatic stand. At the same time, the bloc is making efforts to steer clear from the US-China spat.

China’s National People’s Congress on May 28 approved a resolution to impose controversial national security laws on Hong Kong which would ban any activities that would endanger China’s national security, secession, and subversion of state power in the city. Critics have been calling China’s move as a big blow to Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedom that has been enshrined in the territory’s laws since 1997.

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