China's top diplomat fails to restore strained ties with Europe

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Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi (File photo)
Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi (File photo)

New York [US], September 5 (ANI): China's bid to mend its strained ties with European countries did not get much traction during a recent five-day Europe visit by Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi.
The article, which appeared in Bloomberg, explains how China's coercive diplomacy is backfiring in European countries.
In Rome, where Wang began his official tour, he had to handle China's relationship with Canada and Italy. This is because Italian officials helped to arrange a previously unscheduled meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.
It is to be noted that diplomatic relations between China and Canada have come under strain after Ottawa arrested Huawei's Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in 2018 at the behest of the United States. In retaliation, two Canadian citizens were detained by Beijing.
Wang faced a barrage of questions about the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests during his visit to Oslo. In response, the Chinese Foreign Minister warned that China would see the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the protestors as interference in its internal matters. Ties between Norway and China soured earlier over the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo.
During Wang's visit to Berlin, his final stop, the issue shifted to Taiwan. The Chinese Foreign Minister had said earlier that Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil would "pay a heavy price" for visiting Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own province. The remarks drew a rebuke from Wang's German counterpart Heiko Maas, who was present at the joint presser.
"The myriad of issues on which Europe and China do not see eye-to-eye would have still been there under the surface. In Paris, for example, French President Emmanuel Macron in his meeting with Wang expressed concerns about human rights and China adhering to its international commitments, but in private," the Bloomberg article stated.
"Just as likely to remain unchanged is Beijing's eagerness to strengthen its ties with Europe, thereby fortifying them against any lobbying from Washington for a coalition to resist China. So even if this trip fell short of expectations, Wang will almost certainly be back again visiting capitals across the continent," it said.
China's ties with Australia took a turn for the worse after an Australian journalist, Cheng Lei, living and working in Beijing for CGTN, was recently detained, although allegations against Cheng remain unknown.
Both Canberra and Beijing have been at war of words over a variety of issues including wine, beef and telecommunications gear, and China's territorial claims in South China Sea. (ANI)