By VOA News
July 6, 2023
FILE - High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.
The European Union says China has canceled a planned visit by Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.
EU spokesperson Nabila Massrali said in a written statement Wednesday that Beijing did not give a reason. Massrali said China told the EU that “the envisaged dates next week are no longer possible” and that the bloc “must now look for alternatives.”
“We welcome Representative Borrell to visit China as soon as possible at the convenience of both sides,” foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing Wednesday, adding that China will maintain communications with the EU.
Borrell was due to visit China July 10 for talks with Foreign Minister Qin Gang for talks on trade, human rights and China’s stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The 27-nation bloc has been pressuring Beijing to increase its efforts to persuade Russia to end its nearly 17-month-old invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
The EU issued a statement last week after a summit, describing China as both a “competitor and a systemic rival.”
Jorge Toledo, the EU’s ambassador to China, told reporters Sunday that Brussels and Beijing are scheduled to hold two summits in September, one on the economy and the other on digital cooperation.
This is the second time a planned visit by Borrell to China has been scrapped. A trip planned for April was called off after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters.