AUKUS partnership shows 'Cold War mentality,' says China's Wang Yi
Giles Gibson in Brussels
Europe;Brussels, Belgium


China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the new AUKUS partnership shows a "Cold War mentality," during talks with his European Commission counterpart, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell on Tuesday.

Under the AUKUS deal between the UK, the U.S. and Australia, Washington will share nuclear submarine technology with Canberra. 

The announcement of the new partnership earlier this month blindsided the European Commission, which said it had not been consulted beforehand. The new pact also means Australia will scrap a deal to buy submarines from France.



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In retaliation, Paris recalled its ambassador to the U.S.. France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described AUKUS as a "stab in the back."


Video conference between Chinese and European officials on Tuesday. /EBS

Video conference between Chinese and European officials on Tuesday. /EBS


Climate change talks 

According to China's Foreign Ministry, Wang also said climate change could be a "major pillar for cooperation" with Europe. The European Commission didn't immediately release its summary of the talks. The video conference was the 11th round of high-level dialogue between Beijing and Brussels. 

On Monday, the EU and China also held talks on the environment. Frans Timmermans, the executive vice president for the European New Deal, said on Twitter that the two sides discussed "climate targets, emissions trading, and coal phase-out."

China's President Xi Jinping recently pledged to stop funding coal projects abroad during an address to the United Nations General Assembly. However, China still relies heavily on coal for energy production at home.


Wang Yi speaks to Josep Borrell on a video call. /@EUChinaMission on Twitter

Wang Yi speaks to Josep Borrell on a video call. /@EUChinaMission on Twitter


Europe's new Indo-Pacific strategy 

These talks also came after the European Commission unveiled its strategy for the Indo-Pacific region this month. 

As well as pushing for stronger trade ties with the region, the strategy calls for member states to boost naval deployments to the Indo-Pacific "to fight piracy and protect freedom of navigation in the region." 

Specifically mentioning China, Borrell said the new strategy is "one of cooperation but not confrontation." 

However, there are points of tension in the EU-China relationship. In April this year, the Commission expressed concern about "the presence of large Chinese vessels" at Whitsun Reef, west of the Philippines. China claims large sections of the South China Sea as its territorial waters.

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