China yesterday rejected demands by the European Parliament that it lift sanctions against EU legislators to save a trade deal between the two sides.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) said that the sanctions were justified and demanded that the European side “immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs [and] abandon its confrontational approach.”
“The unreasonable sanctions imposed by the EU have led to difficulties in China-EU relations. That is what China does not want to see, and the responsibility does not lie with the Chinese side,” Zhao said at a daily briefing.
The European Parliament on Thursday warned China that it would not ratify a long-awaited business investment deal as long as sanctions against its legislators remain in place.
Beijing imposed sanctions after the EU, the UK, Canada and the US launched coordinated sanctions against Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Among those targeted were EU lawmakers Reinhard Butikofer, Michael Gahler, Raphael Glucksmann, Ilhan Kyuchyuk and Miriam Lexmann.
The investment accord was agreed to in principle in December last year, but needs lawmakers’ approval to take effect.
In addition to the lifting of sanctions, legislators said that they would take into account the human rights situation in China when deciding whether to approve the deal.
The EU hopes that the agreement would create new investment opportunities for European companies in China by ensuring that they can compete on an equal footing to their domestic rivals, and help correct a trade imbalance.
China is the bloc’s second-
biggest trading partner behind the US, and the bloc is China’s largest trading partner, EU data showed.
On average, China and Europe trade more than 1 billion euros (US$1.22 billion) per day.
Zhao reiterated China’s stance that the agreement is a “balanced and win-win deal that benefits both sides, rather than a gift or favor bestowed by one side to the other.”
“China has always been sincere in promoting cooperation between the two sides, and we hope that the European side will move in the same direction as us, with less emotional outburst and more rational thinking, and make the right decision in their own interests,” Zhao said.
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