China, Afghanistan and the coronavirus crisis will be on agenda of the video conference of EU foreign ministers later on Friday, top German diplomat Heiko Maas said ahead of the meeting
BERLIN (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 29th May, 2020) China, Afghanistan and the coronavirus crisis will be on agenda of the video conference of EU foreign ministers later on Friday, top German diplomat Heiko Maas said ahead of the meeting.
The talks come a day after Chinese parliament passed a resolution to start developing national security law that would ban secessionist and subversive activity in Hong Kong in the wake of a year of protests in the special administrative region. Supported by the Hong Kong leadership, the move has triggered a backlash from the local opposition and Western countries that express concerns about a possible infringement on civil rights. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already suggested that special treatment of Hong Kong under US laws ends, as it allegedly no longer enjoys the full range of autonomy from China.
Ahead of the EU ministers' informal meeting, Maas said that the European Union is "strong when we speak with one voice," noting that it is especially important in relations with China. According to Maas, the bloc has taken a "clear position" that Hong Kong's high level of autonomy "must not be eroded," expecting that civil freedoms will be preserved as well.
Speaking about possible sanctions on China, he expressed belief that "the past has shown that it is important first of all to conduct a dialogue with China," while being "very united" in promoting the EU's agenda and principles. The bloc, he went on, plans to discuss many topics with Beijing at the EU-China summit in September, including "real progress in bilateral relations through an ambitious investment agreement" and climate issues.
Apart from China, Friday's video conference would focus on developments in Afghanistan, where the Eid al-Fitr ceasefire has shown that truce is possible, the diplomat said, stressing the importance of reducing violence and launching intra-Afghan talks as soon as possible.