TV mutes Chinese premier
China’s Premier Wen Jiabao (L) attends a signing ceremony with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (C) and EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at the start of the EU-China summit in Brussels. REUTERS photoMedia following yesterday’s EU-China summit in Brussels lost the last words of a complaint delivered by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao against the European Union when a live video broadcast was reportedly cut intentionally.
After listing positive achievements in EU-China ties during a ceremony closed to the press but broadcast live, the Chinese premier chose forceful language to demand the lifting of an EU arms embargo and ask EU nations to lift all tariffs on Chinese goods, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday.
“I have to be very frank in saying this ... but the solution has been elusive over the past 10 years. I deeply regret this and I hope the EU side will take greater initiative to solve these issues,” he added.
That was when the sound and picture suddenly cut, though the premier had not quite finished his speech.
“Broadcast services received a message saying the public part [of the ceremony] was over,” said a European Union diplomat who asked not to be named.
The previous day, the EU executive announced it was scrapping plans to organize a press conference at the close of the summit, as is traditional at such events, after failing to agree with Chinese authorities.
China had wanted to vet the journalists, said a European diplomat who asked not to be named.
EU sources had said ahead of the annual summit that “we have agreed to disagree” with the Chinese on the arms embargo.
The issue continues to divide EU member states and Britain notably has refused to bend to pressure from France and Spain to review the embargo.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who was also meeting Wen, triggered fresh debate over the issue by saying in a report last year that the embargo was “a major impediment” to developing EU-China ties.
China’s WTO membership
China will not get full market status until 2016 after accepting a 15-year transition period when it joined the World Trade Organization.
“We both (China and the European Union) follow free and open economic and trade policies, reject trade protectionism and work to advance economic globalisation,” Wen told a business conference on the sidelines of the summit.
He also said he believed Europe was able to overcome its debt crisis, and that China continued to invest in European government debt.
“Europe is on the right track in tackling its debt issue, and what is crucial now is to fully implement all the policy measures,” Wen said.
With Wen attending his last EU summit, European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso paid tributes to his role in fostering burgeoning ties over the past 10 years.
“Your role has been essential in bringing us to where we are today,” Van Rompuy told Wen in opening remarks, highlighting phenomenal growth in trade and other ties between the two sides. The 27-state EU bloc is China’s single largest export market while China is the EU’s second largest trading partner after the United States, with total trade worth nearly 430 billion euros ($560 billion) in 2011.
Deal on carbon emissions
Meanwhile, China, the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter, has struck a deal to work with the European Union to cut greenhouse gases through projects including the development of Chinese emissions trading schemes, the European Commission said yesterday.
The European Union and China have frequently clashed over climate policy and Beijing has flouted EU law requiring all airlines using European airports to pay for their emissions through the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), Reuters reported yesterday .