The European Union’s foreign policy leader said on Sunday that Beijing’s behavior, especially what happens with Taiwan, will decide the relationship between China and Europe.
In a remote address at the start of the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers meeting in Japan, EU High Representative Josep Borrell highlighted two of the themes that have emerged ahead of the three-day gathering: the need for a united approach to China and concerns about Taiwan.
China is front and centre as the foreign ministers of the world’s advanced democracies meet in the Japanese resort town of Karuizawa. The only Asian member of the grouping, Japan has deepening worries about neighbour China’s growing might in the region and is particularly focused on the possibility of military action against Taiwan.
“Anything that happens in Taiwan Strait will mean a lot to us,” Borrell said, stressing the need to engage with China and keep communications open.
The ministers will likely discuss their “common and concerted” approach to China, a senior U.S. State Department official said.
Beijing views Taiwan as Chinese territory and has not renounced the use of force to take the democratically governed island. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen says only the island’s people can decide their future.
Recent comments by French President Emmanuel Macron have highlighted potential differences between Europe and the United States on China. In interviews after he visited China this month, Macron cautioned against being drawn into a crisis over Taiwan driven by an “American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction”.
That prompted a backlash, and on Friday European foreign policy officials urged Beijing not to use force over Taiwan, taking a tough stance.
“There is collective concern about a number of the actions that China is taking,” the U.S. official told reporters on the plane to Japan from Vietnam, declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information.
In Vietnam, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. Both sides expressed a desire to deepen their ties, as Washington seeks to solidify alliances to counter China.