Unique: China cancels EU chief’s video handle at key commerce expo opening

BEIJING/BRUSSELS, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Chinese language authorities behind a serious commerce expo in Shanghai pulled a gap speech by the president of the European Council set to criticize Russia’s “unlawful struggle” in Ukraine and name for decreased EU commerce dependence on China, diplomats mentioned.

The pre-recorded video by Charles Michel was meant to be one in all a number of world leaders and heads of worldwide organizations, together with Chinese language President Xi Jinping, on the opening of the China Worldwide Import Expo (CIIE) on Friday, three European diplomats informed Reuters.

The diplomats, who couldn’t be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, informed Reuters they had been shocked that the speech had been eliminated.

“President Michel has been invited to talk on the fifth Hongqiao Discussion board/CIIE in Shanghai,” Barend Leyts, Michel’s spokesman, informed Reuters. “As requested by the Chinese language authorities, we have now certainly supplied a pre-recorded message which was in the end not proven. We now have handled this matter by regular diplomatic channels.”

The 2 co-organizers of the expo, China’s commerce ministry and the Shanghai metropolis authorities, didn’t reply to Reuters requests for remark. A spokesperson for China’s overseas ministry denied consciousness of the problem.

“I’m not conscious of the related state of affairs,” Chinese language overseas ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian informed an everyday information briefing in Beijing on Tuesday. “I can not touch upon this matter.”

Different dignitaries who spoke on the occasion after Xi included the managing director of the Worldwide Financial Fund, the director common of the World Commerce Group and the presidents of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Belarus, in accordance with the expo’s official web site.

Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus is a staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his nation has hosted 1000’s of Russian troops earlier than and through what Moscow calls “particular operations” in Ukraine.


The European Council president’s speech was set to strongly criticize Russia’s “unlawful struggle on Ukraine” and say Europe is studying “vital classes” from it, in accordance with excerpts of the handle supplied by EU diplomats.

Europe has turn out to be too depending on Russia for fossil fuels, resulting in a commerce imbalance, Michel mentioned.

“In Europe, we wish a stability in our commerce relations… to keep away from overdependence,” in accordance with diplomats acquainted with what he needed to say. “That is additionally the case in our commerce relationship with China.”

Michel can be able to name on China to do greater than cease the bloodshed in Ukraine.

China has constantly refused to criticize the Russian invasion, which has devastated cities throughout Ukraine and killed 1000’s of troopers and civilians because it started on February 24.

“China has a job in utilizing its affect to cease Russia’s brutal struggle… by your so-called “limitless” partnership with Russia,” Michel mentioned, referring to the pact introduced by Xi and Putin in Beijing earlier than the struggle started. “You, China, can assist finish this.”

Each Xi and Michel are anticipated to attend and meet on the summit of the Group of Twenty (G20) heads of state in Bali subsequent Tuesday and Wednesday.

The President of the European Council is likely one of the highest officers of the European Union whose function is to signify the bloc at worldwide summits and bilateral summits with different heads of state.

Since 2019, the EU has formally thought-about China a associate, financial competitor and systemic rival.

The EU’s overseas coverage service mentioned in a paper final month that Beijing ought to now be regarded primarily as a competitor selling “various visions of the world order”.

Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard in Beijing and Jan Strupczewski in Brussels; Further reporting by Eduardo Baptista in Beijing; Enhancing by Lincoln Feast and Gareth Jones

Our Requirements: Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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