China cancels visit from EU chief as bloc leaders agree to reduce Chinese dependence

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China has cancelled a visit to Beijing planned for next week by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Brussels said Tuesday.

The senior EU official was due to head to China for talks with foreign minister Qin Gang, after earlier having to delay a trip in April due to a Covid infection.

“Unfortunately, we were informed by the Chinese counterparts that the envisaged dates next week are no longer possible, and we must now look for alternatives,” EU spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said.

The cancellation comes after EU leaders at a summit in Brussels last week backed a strategy aimed at reducing the bloc’s dependency on China for key tech and components.

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The EU has said relations will depend on China’s approach to the war in Ukraine and has urged Beijing to use its influence over Moscow to “press Russia to stop.”

But the 27-nation bloc insists it is not looking to “decouple” from the world’s second-largest economy entirely, even as it seeks new supply lines for critical materials elsewhere.

EU states, with their disparate economic and political interests, have long struggled to fashion a united stance on China, and the United States has pushed them to take a tougher line.

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