News / Asia

On EU Visit, Chinese President Caught in Ukraine Dilemma

On EU Visit, Chinese President Caught Up in Ukraine Dilemmai
X
April 01, 2014 1:36 AM
China’s President Xi Jinping is wrapping up a week-long tour of Europe aimed at fostering better economic ties with its number one trading partner. Observers say long-held concerns over human rights in China continue to hamper relations - but Europe is also seeking China’s diplomatic backing in its dispute with Russia over Ukraine. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Henry Ridgwell
China’s President Xi Jinping is wrapping up a week-long tour of Europe aimed at fostering better economic ties with its number one trading partner.

Observers say long-held concerns over human rights in China continue to hamper relation. But Europe also is seeking China’s diplomatic backing in its dispute with Russia over Ukraine.

Spectators applauded as the Xi toured a zoo outside Brussels Sunday to see his country’s traditional tool of diplomacy - pandas. Two animals were lent to Belgium in advance of the visit - the first by a Chinese president in four decades of relations between Beijing and the European Union.

Trade topped the agenda at talks Monday. Both sides are anxious to deepen their shared economic relationship, says Jonathan Fenby, former editor of the South China Morning Post and author of "Will China Dominate the 21st Century?"

“China for some time has wanted to build up relations with the EU really as a counter to the power of the United States,” he said.

Xi pressed EU leaders to consider a free trade deal with China. But Europe has voiced concerns that Chinese firms circumvent international trade rules. Last year a dispute over the price of solar panels led to the EU imposing import tariffs. China responded with restrictions on imports of European wine.

Jonathan Fenby says that friction has caused divisions in Europe.

“China on the whole prefers bilateral relationships rather than broader relationships which might diminish its freedom of action," he said. "And Europe on the other hand has really had longstanding divides among the members of the European Union about whether the relationship with China should be purely commercial, whether politics should come into it; whether human rights should come into it.”

Outside the talks, campaigners tried to force human rights onto the agenda -
Pro-Tibet activists demonstrate during a visit by China's President Xi Jinping in Brussels, March 31, 2014.Pro-Tibet activists demonstrate during a visit by China's President Xi Jinping in Brussels, March 31, 2014.
x
Pro-Tibet activists demonstrate during a visit by China's President Xi Jinping in Brussels, March 31, 2014.
Pro-Tibet activists demonstrate during a visit by China's President Xi Jinping in Brussels, March 31, 2014.
accusing China of committing gross violations against Tibetans and minority Uighur communities. Among them was Tibetan immigrant Tenzin Namgyal.

"We want President Xi Jinping to immediately start a dialogue with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and immediately release all the political prisoners,” he said.

Relations between the EU and Russia have deteriorated sharply after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. China abstained from voting on a U.N. Security Council resolution affirming Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Speaking in Berlin Friday, XI did not condemn or support Russia’s actions.  He said that the Chinese government accepts the basic principle of international relations to not get involved in the internal affairs of a sovereign country and to accept the sovereignty and integrity of all countries.

The overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich put China in a difficult position, says Jonathan Fenby.

“China obviously cannot be expected to be sympathetic with a new regime in Kyiv which has come to power on the back of a revolt and demonstrations against an authoritarian regime,” he said.

Fenby says China also is wary of siding with Russia, fearing it may provoke Washington to further pivot its military balance toward Asia.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: nr1 from: USA
April 01, 2014 12:41 PM
Sweden learned the hard way, during the Cold War, that remaining neutral made both sides distrust you.

It is not right but it is human nature at its basic level.

by: meanbill from: USA
March 31, 2014 9:40 PM
LISTEN to China? --- China always stays neutral in taking sides in other countries disputes, and only make statements regarding China, and the Chinese people, and territory...
People keep making-up interpretations on what China means, when in truth, they only mean what they say.. (they are neutral, and say nothing confrontational to any side?). ....... REALLY
In Response

by: Keith from: chicago
April 01, 2014 8:30 AM
neutral? that's just another opaque word useful to the chinese to avoid the facts.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs