European Union leaders told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday to open up markets, respect minorities and step back from a crackdown in Hong Kong, also asserting that Europe would no longer be taken advantage of in trade, reported Reuters.
Anxious to show that the EU will not take sides in a global standoff between China and the United States, German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined the bloc’s chief executive and chairman to deliver a tough-talking message to Beijing.
“Europe is a player, not a playing field,” European Council President Charles Michel, who chaired the video summit, told reporters in reference to a growing sense in Europe that China has not met its promises to engage in fair and free trade.
“Chinese people will not accept ‘an instructor’ on human rights and oppose ‘double standards’, Xinhua reported Xi as saying during the video summit. “China is willing to strengthen exchanges with the European side based on the principle of mutual respect so that the two sides can both make progress.”