EU chief Michel to head to China for Xi meeting

European Union chief Charles Michel

© APA | European Union chief Charles Michel

# 24 November 2022 12:46 (UTC +04:00)

European Union chief Charles Michel will head to Beijing next week for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a European official told AFP on Thursday, APA reports citing the Straits Times.

The official, confirming a report in the Financial Times, said the European Council president’s Dec 1 visit would be formally announced later Thursday.

The trip comes amid a lively debate between EU capitals as to how to handle relations with China, amid concerns over Beijing’s rights record, threat to Taiwan, trade pressure on some EU countries and support for Russia.

The United States is pushing its Western allies to align themselves against China, but some EU members with important trade links resist splitting world affairs into two camps.

Mr Michel walks a line between Germany, with its important economic interests in China, and EU members such as Lithuania, which has courted Beijing’s anger by building links with Taiwan.

EU capitals have also been concerned by China’s bond with Russia, even in the wake of Moscow’s invasion and bombardment of Western-backed Ukraine.