This all took place after the foreign policy chief took a call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday. Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, said: “I suggested to launch a distinct bilateral dialogue focusing on China and the challenges its actions and ambitions mean for us – the United States and the European Union.” These comments come days ahead of the EU-China summit, over a lack of commitment from China on widening market access and creating a level playing field for European businesses in China.
Mike Pompeo has been regarded as more of an engaging force with the EU, whilst US President, Donald Trump, has been seen as a more hostile figure.
Either way, it seems likely that with President Trump’s frustrations towards China, a united front with the EU and US is a likely prospect.
However, the US State Department still yet provides an official comment as to whether or not there has been a bilateral agreement between the two unions.
In a statement, department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said that Pompeo and his European counterparts had discussed the importance of “upholding our shared commitment to democratic values that serve as a bulwark against Russian and People’s Republic of China attempts to undermine democratic societies”.
Josep Borrell has said the EU and US have exchanged views on China’s “growing assertiveness on many fronts.”
“There are issues that we face together in the relationship with China, and where our close cooperation is very important to address them jointly.”
“This includes for sure the situation in Hong Kong.”
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“The optimal version of a China dialogue would be one that fully engages the rest of the European Commission, including trade, foreign policy, industrial policy and digital issues.”
To many Borrell’s proposals comes as a shock, as it’s been reported that in a recent blog post on Sunday, he commented saying that the EU would not form a transatlantic alliance with the US on China.
On the blog post, he wrote: “Amid US-China tensions as the main axis of global politics, the pressure to ‘choose sides’ is increasing.”
“We as Europeans have to do it ‘My Way’, with all the challenges this brings.”
There has been confusion over the conflicting signal the European bloc has been sending about potentially working with the US.
Although Borrell is still not willing to divulge into any more details, US advisers have suggested that they could still create a useful channel to keep each other informed.
It may not be an official alliance but more of an informal arrangement in which the two powers discuss differences, and in some cases forge a common approach”.