EU, China Relations Strong Amidst Suspicions, Says Chinese President

China’s President Xi Jinping 
Mark Schiefelbein / POOL / AFP

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that China and Europe were “advancing together” but that the two trading blocs needed to overcome “suspicions”.

“Of course there are differences and competition, but it’s positive competition,” Xi told a press conference in Paris with the leaders of France, Germany and the European Commission.

“We are advancing together. We shouldn’t let suspicions lead us to be constantly looking backwards.”

Xi was speaking on the third day of a France visit dominated by concerns over China’s massive investments on the continent, which are being built up through a series of bilateral deals.

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French President Emmanuel Macron urged his Chinese counterpart to “respect the unity of the European Union” and called for an “exemplary relationship” between Europe and China during the joint press conference.

“No one is naive but we respect China,” Macron said, while adding that EU leaders “naturally expect our major partners to respect the unity of the European Union and the values that it has and carries in the world.”

Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker all labelled China a “rival”, and Merkel and Juncker urged the Asian giant to give the EU the same market access as it afforded Chinese companies.

Referring to China’s vast “New Silk Road” infrastructure project connecting the country with Europe, which has sparked unease in the EU, Merkel said: “We Europeans want to play a role.”

But, she added, “there has to be a bit of reciprocity on either side and we have a bit of difficulty in finding it.”

Juncker said that labelling China a rival was meant as a “compliment” to the country.

Speaking ahead of a EU-China summit in Brussels on April 9, he also called for a more balanced relationship.

“European businesses must see the openness in China” that Chinese companies enjoyed on the continent, he said.

Chinese President Makes Surprise Visit To Fleet In South China

(FILES) This file photo taken on October 25, 2017 shows Chinese President Xi Jinping waving at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. WANG ZHAO / AFP

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday stressed the “urgent” need to build a powerful navy during a surprise visit to observe naval exercises in the disputed South China Sea, state media reported as the country prepares for live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait.

The region has become a potential flashpoint, with the US saying China’s activities in the area pose a threat to freedom of navigation in the strategically vital waterway, where Beijing has built an archipelago of artificial islands capable of hosting military equipment.

Footage of Xi’s visit on state broadcaster CCTV showed the president watching jets taking off from China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and joining sailors for a meal.

In a speech to the assembled troops, Xi said China’s task to build a powerful navy “has never been as urgent as it is today”.

His visit comes as Washington engages in its own muscle flexing in the region, where the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt gave a demonstration Tuesday for members of the Philippine government.

China’s own naval drill — involving the Liaoning and dozens of other vessels — began at the end of March, with US officials saying the two exercises are separated by several hundred kilometres (miles).

Some 48 warships, 76 fighter jets, and more than 10,000 navy personnel took part in the drill at an undisclosed location, said China Military, a newspaper affiliated to the People’s Liberation Army.

Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea despite rival claims from several of its Southeast Asian neighbours.

China regularly protests when US warships’ carry out “freedom of navigation” operations near its islands.

– Live-fire exercise –
Xi’s visit came as China announced plans to hold live-fire naval drills next week in the narrow strait separating the mainland from Taiwan, an act that could ratchet up tensions with the island.

“Live-fire military manoeuvres will take place… in the Taiwan Strait on (Wednesday) April 18, 2018 between 8am and midnight,” the maritime safety administration of Fujian, the province that lies opposite Taiwan, said in a statement.

China, which regards self-ruled Taiwan as its territory — to be reunited by force if necessary — has stepped up air and naval patrols around the island since Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in May 2016.

She refuses publicly to accept the “One China” formula agreed between Beijing and Taiwan’s previous government.

Chinese warplanes conducted 25 drills around Taiwan between August 2016 and mid-December last year, according to Taipei.

The Liaoning and other vessels passed through the Taiwan Strait on March 20 — the day Xi warned against any attempts to divide China.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said it would keep a close eye on the upcoming exercise.

“The defence ministry stresses that the military can comprehensively monitor and respond to the regional situation to ensure national security. We ask the public to rest assured,” it said in a statement.

US, China Ratify Paris Climate Agreement

Barack-Obama-Xi-JinpingThe United States and China have officially ratified the Paris agreement to curb climate-warming discharges.

The world’s two biggest economies confirmed this on Saturday, saying the ratification could help put the pact into force before the end of the year.

UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, who is in China to witness the declaration, received the plan to join the agreement from American President, Mr Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping.

A senior adviser to President Obama, Brian Deese, observed that the joint announcement should push other countries to formally join the deal.

“The signal of the two large emitters taking this step together and taking it early, far earlier than people had anticipated a year ago, should give confidence to the global communities and to other countries that are working on their climate change plans, that they too can move quickly and will be part of a global effort,” Reuters quoted Deese as saying.

Obama’s aide hinted that the US President was expected to meet the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on the sidelines of a Group of 20 nations meeting in Hangzhou, China, this weekend.

We’ll Build Resilient Nigerian Cities – President Buhari

Buhari President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Shanghai said that his administration would give priority to the building and development of resilient and viable cities comparable with other developed cities across the globe.

At separate meetings with the Mayor of the Chinese city of Shanghai, Mr Yang Xiong and the Director of Shanghai Free Trade Zone, Liu Fangzhou, President Buhari said that the Federal Government would give full support to Free Trade and Export Processing Zones in the country to spur rapid economic development.

Buhari-China-Free-Trade-Zone-inspectionThe President, who visited the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, said Nigeria was prepared to learn how to make its cities more viable from those that have achieved development.

“We have already identified the development of infrastructure which will bring industries that create jobs and help us to diversify the economy.

“We are going to work hard to achieve these within the period we have in office. Nigerians will see progress and feel the impact,” the President said.

Buhari-China-Free-Trade-Zone

Commending the hardwork and incredible success story of the city of Shanghai, President Buhari said that the virtues of hard work were central to every human achievement and development.

In his remarks, the Mayor of Shanghai expressed the willingness of several Chinese businesses to key into the vision of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, for Africa by investing in Nigeria.

Also speaking, the Director of the Free Trade Zone commended the effort of the Nigerian government towards the diversification of the economy and encouraged the country to focus on a favourable policy environment to encourage foreign investors.

Buhari Holds Talks With Chinese President

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Xinping, on the sidelines of the ongoing Forum on China Africa cooperation (FOCAC).

Earlier on Friday, the Chinese President announced a new investment package worth more than 70 billion dollars for Africa.

Speaking briefly with journalists at the end of the meeting, Channels Television asked President Buhari the outcome of the meeting from a Nigerian perspective.

He hinted that he would likely visit China early 2016 to follow up on some of the discussions they had.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) officially flagged of in Johannesburg, South Africa on Friday, with more than 40 African leaders personally attending.

Buhari arrived South Africa on Thursday evening for the FOCAC.

Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit Begins In Johannesburg

FOCAC....The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has officially flagged of in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more than 40 African leaders personally attending.

China is making promises of heavier infrastructural, as well as agricultural capacity building initiatives.

President Muhammadu Buhari will meet with the Chinese President, Ki Jinping, for bilateral talks. He is also expected to meet business leaders later in the day.

Buhari arrived South Africa on Thursday evening for the FOCAC. He is also expected to discuss ways of removing all obstacles in the way of the 3,050 megawatts Mambila Power Station, considered a strategic project which was conceived in 1982 but has not taken off.

Taiwan, China To Hold Historic Summit In Singapore

Taiwan, China To Hold Historic Summit In SingaporeTaiwan’s President, Ma Ying-Jeou, says he will be meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Singapore on Saturday.

Being the first ever meeting between leaders of the two countries, history is about to be made in Asia as both leaders said the talks would focus on relations across the Taiwan straits.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when the nationalist government fled to the Island after defeat by the communists.

However, ties have improved since President Ma took office in 2008.

The Chinese government claimed Taiwan as part of its territory and threatened to counter any move for outright independence by military force.

Russia Stages Massive WW2 Parade Despite Western Boycott

RussiaAs the whole of Europe continues to mark 70 years since the end of World War Two, Russia is staging its biggest military parade to celebrate the anniversary.

Thousands of troops are marching on Red Square in Moscow, and new armour being displayed for the first time.

Many world leaders are boycotting the event because of Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis but more than 20 Heads of States are in Moscow.

Chinese President, Xi Jinping, is attending the event in a sign of closer ties as a column of Chinese troops also took part in the parade.

Dignitaries from India, former Soviet republics and communist-era allies such as Cuba, also attended.

United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, was also among those watching.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, U.S. President, Barack Obama and the French and British leaders, all skipped the parade, but will attend a wreath-laying ceremony in Moscow on Sunday.

As the event began, President Vladimir Putin said international co-operation had been put at risk in recent years.

Russia denies claims by the West that it is arming rebels in eastern Ukraine.

More than 6,000 people have been killed since fighting began in April 2014 in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.