China does not present a military threat to “world peace,” the European Union’s top diplomat told reporters on Tuesday.
Josep Borrell, chief of foreign affairs for the E.U., made the remarks after a three-hour conference call with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi. The discussion came amid rising tensions between European powers and China brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“China has a global ambition but at the same time I don’t think that China is playing a role that can threaten the world peace,” Borrell said. “They committed once again that they want to be present in the world and to play a global role but they don’t have military ambitions and they don’t want to use the force to participate in military conflicts.”
In their discussion, Wang and Borrell reiterated points of agreement between the E.U. and China, including their common support for the Iran nuclear deal that the U.S. withdrew from in 2018. The conference was also intended to prepare for future discussions between European and Chinese leaders regarding a joint investment agreement, in which the E.U. hopes to secure equal treatment for its companies operating in China. Currently, China requires certain E.U. businesses to share expertise while operating in the country.
Borrell’s statements come against rising suspicion of Chinese economic and military power within the E.U. In construction of new 5G telecommunications networks, German firms have recently limited their use of technology from Huawei, which the U.S. has said can spy for the Chinese government. Additionally, medical equipment supplied by China to fight coronavirus outbreaks in Europe has proven faulty in many instances.