On Monday, Xi Jinping co-hosted a China-Germany-EU leaders' meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel via video link.
Everyone was keen on getting along (Xinhua 2):
- “[The leaders] agreed to strengthen communication and cooperation to ensure the success of the upcoming series of major political agenda between China and the EU,…vowing to bring ties up to a higher level
- Sign a China-EU agreement on geographical indications
- Conclude negotiations of the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) within the year
- Establish two high level dialogues: on environment and climate, and on digital cooperation
- Forge “green and digital partnerships”
- “Both sides registered progress on the rules regulating the behaviour of State-owned-enterprises, on forced technology transfer and on transparency of subsidies.”
That’s where Xi put his foot down (Xinhua 2):
- “China firmly opposes...meddling in China's internal affairs by any country."
- “The Chinese people will not accept ‘an instructor’ on human rights and [we] oppose ‘double standards.’”
Get smart: Neither China nor the EU wants to throw in the towel on CAI. But prospects for concluding a deal this year do not look good.