EU ambassador to China hits out at ‘wolf warrior diplomacy’, urges Beijing to cherish ‘Deng Xiaoping legacy’
- China’s image in Europe is worsening and Beijing must do its part to reverse the massive erosion of goodwill, says EU ambassador to China Nicolas Chapuis
- China should allow free debate, be open to discussion on the South China Sea and be prepared to give up ‘developing’ status at the World Trade Organization
European Union ambassador to China Nicolas Chapuis said on Thursday the bloc will seek common ground with the United States to stand up to Beijing’s bullying, intimidation and “wolf warrior diplomacy”, while recommending the government revisit “Deng Xiaoping’s legacy” to seek goodwill in Europe.
Chapuis said China’s image in Europe was worsening and Beijing must do its part to change the “extremely worrying” erosion of goodwill that had taken over the past year.
“In a country like mine, France, where China has had a positive image for more than 300 years, for the first time in French history, China’s image is negative,” he told a forum hosted by IHS Markit and China’s largest state-owned oil company.
Chapuis did not specify the reasons behind China’s worsening public image, but said it was not because of the media.
“It’s because of what has happened during the last year,” he said.
China must allow free debate by letting “one hundred flowers blossom and one hundred schools of thought contend”, he said, referring to a well-known slogan from Chinese history.
Chapuis suggested that China be more open about the South China Sea and consult other nations about the dispute, including Australia, New Zealand and Europe. He admitted it would be a hard proposal for Beijing to accept, as it was trying to exclude “players not in the region”.
“The South China Sea is not only a China issue … it is an international issue,” the ambassador said.
“You are a leader in green technology and in digital technology,” he said. “If you say you are a developing country, then Europe is a developing country - seriously.”
At the same time, Chapuis told the room full of hundreds of delegates - mainly Chinese business executives and researchers in the energy industry - that Europe was looking forward to China’s progress in cutting carbon emissions and the launch of an emission trading market.
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Europe also had high hopes that US president-elect Joe Biden could repair the multilateral system, he said.
As a first step, Europe would like to see the US lift its veto on the nomination of director general at the WTO so that Washington, Brussels and Beijing could jointly rewrite the new rule book for global trade, Chapuis said.
It was also hoped for in Europe that Washington would rejoin the World Health Organization and the Human Rights Council at the United Nations, he added.
“We can engage China on human rights issues” he said. “This is difficult, but it has to be done.”