China, EU agree to work toward bilateral summit later this year

Chinese Premier Li Qiang and European Council President Charles Michel agreed Sunday to work toward a successful bilateral summit later this year as they met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Li told Michel there is no geopolitical conflict between China and the region, let alone a fundamental conflict of interests, and the development of the Asian economy is "an opportunity, not a risk" for Europe, the ministry said.

A prosperous China should benefit the EU and the whole world, and Brussels has no intention of containing China's development, Michel was quoted as saying

Amid an intensifying rivalry between China and the United States, Beijing has been eager to strengthen ties with the European Union.

Li, who attended the G-20 summit in place of President Xi Jinping, also held talks Saturday with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the Indian capital, according to the ministry.

Earlier Sunday, Li told British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that Beijing and London should jointly oppose overstretching the concept of security in economic cooperation, as they are both beneficiaries of free trade, the ministry said.

Li called for respecting each other's core interests and major concerns in an apparent reference to Taiwan, the self-ruled democratic island claimed by Beijing, and Hong Kong, a former British colony handed over to China in 1997.

The two agreed that their countries will properly handle differences, the ministry added.

On Saturday, the Chinese premier met with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and said Beijing and Rome should continue to expand bilateral trade, according to the ministry.

Bloomberg said Sunday that Meloni signaled Italy's intention to exit from China's signature Belt and Road global infrastructure program during the meeting with Li. Italy joined the initiative in 2019 as the only major Western country to do so.

© Kyodo News