‘Damage control’ at heart of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s mission to Europe

  • Leading diplomat’s five-nation tour expected to focus on 5G and Huawei as more countries ban Chinese technology giant
  • Beijing’s hard line on Hong Kong and its handling of the coronavirus pandemic have also drawn European criticism

South China Morning Post
Date: 24 Aug, 2020
By: Stuart Lau


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected to make Italy the first stop on his European visit. Photo: Xinhua

China’s foreign minister will begin a five-nation “damage control” tour of Europe on Tuesday and is expected to meet French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Wang Yi’s visit follows criticism of Beijing in Europe, over its handling of the 

coronavirus

 as well as the hardline policy in Hong Kong. More European countries are also rejecting Chinese 

5G

 technology.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday said Wang would visit Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, France and Germany from Tuesday to September 1. It is Wang’s first overseas trip since the coronavirus outbreak.

Zhao said China and Europe should work together to revive the global economy and protect multilateralism. China hoped Wang’s visit would further the progress of both sides’ political and economic agendas, as well as their work on stabilising supply chains after the pandemic, he added.

Lucrezia Poggetti, an expert on EU-China relations at the Mercator Institute for China Studies, said Wang’s visit would be a “damage control exercise”.

“Beijing’s main goal is to prevent the creation of a united transatlantic front against China, particularly on 5G,” she said.    [FULL  STORY]

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