EU looks for deeper Indo-Pacific ties amid China concerns

·2-min read
Representative image
Representative image

London [UK], September 16 (ANI): Amid the growing Chinese aggression and ongoing developments in Afghanistan, the European Union will seek new digital partnerships with Japan, South Korea and Singapore, and closer trade and investment relations with Taiwan.

This push by the EU is aimed at building influence in Asia after the messy US and NATO military exit from Afghanistan, Nikkei Asia newspaper reported.

According to a draft strategy document seen by the publication, the bloc will seek to reinforce semiconductor value chains with Asian partners as the pandemic amplifies fears about industrial supply chain vulnerabilities.

Earlier this year, the EU released its own Indo-Pacific strategy policy paper, which the experts regarded as an unprecedented declaration that promises to put the EU at loggerheads with China.

"Democratic principles and human rights are also under threat from authoritarian regimes in the region, putting the region's stability at risk," says the document, as seen by the newspaper. "Similarly, efforts to establish a global level playing-field based on transparent trade rules are increasingly undermined by unfair trade practices and economic coercion. These developments increase tensions in trade, supply and value chains."

According to Nikkei Asia, the EU proposes to explore the possibility for talks on digital partnership agreements with Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore. "These would enhance cooperation on -- and interoperability of standards for -- emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. The accords would enable deeper cooperation on data governance, trusted flows and data-based innovation, and would complement World Trade Organization negotiations on e-commerce," the report added.

On Wednesday, a Chinese diplomat issued a warning to the EU for "discriminatory actions" against Chinese businesses. Wang Weidong, commercial counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Germany promised that China will not "sit idle" regarding such actions.

This comes amid reports of EU officials seeking to intensify scrutiny of Chinese businesses and adopt a more hostile approach toward China, Global Times reported. Chinese state media said that Wang's remarks signal that China will take countermeasures if officials in Europe move to crack down on Chinese businesses.

Earlier in May, members of the European Parliament had voted to freeze the legislative process for ratifying the EU's investment pact with China, until Beijing lifts sanctions against EU lawmakers, in retaliation for the condemnation of human rights abuses in Xinjiang province.

The motion was passed by 599 MEPs, with 30 votes against and 58 abstentions, hurting the prospect of the major economic pact, officially known as the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment. (ANI)

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