US, EU Poised To Join Forces To Contain 'Increasingly Assertive' China - Reports

US, EU Poised to Join Forces to Contain 'Increasingly Assertive' China - Reports

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 23rd March, 2021) Washington and Brussels are about to relaunch a bilateral dialogue on the so-called challenges and threats posed by China, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing informed sources.

The report comes a day after the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia issued a joint statement in which they urged China to stop its "repressive practices" in the Xinjiang province. The five allies accused China of imposing what they call "severe restrictions" on religious freedoms, as well as using forced labor, forced sterilizations and other abuses against the ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang, something Beijing has repeatedly denied.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is currently visiting Brussels to take part in the NATO ministerial, is expected to meet with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Wednesday and that is when the US-EU China dialogue is expected to be relaunched, according to the people familiar with the plan.

The media outlet added that the decision to renew the coordination mechanism came two months after the inauguration of Joe Biden as US president at a crucial moment in Washington's relations with Beijing.

"Biden ...

faces the classic Goldilocks problem with US allies on China: not too hot or not too cold," Eric Sayers from the US think tank, American Enterprise Institute, told the Financial Times, adding that "Europeans have said they want to do more but that now means they will be forced to publicly align with the US."

The US-EU dialogue on China was launched in October 2020 by then-US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Borrell, weeks before the US presidential election. The process was stalled under the Trump administration over numerous disagreements that accumulated between the EU and the US.

Last week, Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held a meeting with Chinese Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi and State Councilor Wang Yi in Alaska. The first session ended with harsh criticism toward each side. The US officials criticized China for Hong Kong events and the alleged genocide against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, while their Chinese counterparts responded by criticizing the United States for hypocrisy, including human rights abuses of African Americans.

Eventually, the sides agreed to push forward high-level dialogue between the two countries and avoid confrontation.