December 10, 2020
BEIJING (Reuters) – The European Union and the United States should work together to stand up to coercive Chinese diplomacy and coordinate with other countries in the region on the disputed South China Sea, the EU ambassador to China said on Thursday.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, due to take office on Jan. 20, has spoken of the need to revitalise alliances with like-minded democracies as a core source of strength in dealing with China.
EU Ambassador Nicolas Chapuis, speaking at an energy forum in the Chinese capital, said the EU hoped to reach agreement with the new U.S. administration on policy towards China.
“Let’s cooperate with China as much as we can, when we can, when China is ready to cooperate. And let’s disagree when we must,” Chapuis said.
“We need to have a common understanding to say ‘no’ to bullying and intimidation, coercive diplomacy, ‘wolf-warrior’ diplomacy,” he said, referring to China’s increasingly assertive foreign policy.
Chapuis also called for European countries to work with Australia, New Zealand and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to “find common ground” about the disputed South China Sea.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea and warns other countries not to interfere in its dealings with Southeast Asian countries that also claim parts of the waterway and worry about China’s increasingly militarised presence there.
“Freedom of navigation is essential. The South China Sea is not only a China issue, it is an international issue,” Chapuis said.
(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian and Muyu Xu; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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