Brussels, 26 June 2023 (TDI): On June 22, 2023, Stefano Sannino, Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and Victoria Nuland, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, convened for the fifth high-level meeting of the EU-US Dialogue on China and the fourth meeting of the EU-US High-Level Consultations on the Indo-Pacific.

During their discussions, Secretary General Sannino and Under Secretary Nuland addressed recent engagements with China and the trajectory of their respective bilateral relationships.

They emphasized the significance of purposeful and results-oriented interactions and the importance of maintaining open communication channels with China.

Both officials reiterated that the relationships between the EU, the U.S., and China are multifaceted and stressed the need to calibrate approaches based on China’s actions and the broader geopolitical context.

They expressed openness to continued substantive engagement with China on matters of common interest and global responsibility.

Important topics covered in the meeting

Economic resilience was a key topic of discussion, with a focus on de-risking, establishing fair trade and investment conditions, and reducing dependencies in critical sectors such as energy transition minerals.

Secretary General Sannino and Under Secretary Nuland voiced concerns about the use and threat of economic coercion, which undermines the rules-based international order and the multilateral trading system, including the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Furthermore, they emphasized the importance of strengthened assessment, preparedness, resilience, deterrence, and responses to economic coercion, as agreed upon at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima.

The officials also addressed China’s stance regarding Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. They reaffirmed that any direct or indirect support for Russia’s war efforts, including circumvention or undermining of sanctions and arms transfers, would be met with a strong reaction and consequences for the respective relationships with China.

Both sides exchanged information on their messaging to China, emphasizing the need for a complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders as an essential component of a just and lasting peace.

Secretary General Sannino and Under Secretary Nuland discussed the importance of engaging China to leverage its influence with Russia constructively, particularly regarding issues such as the welfare of children and prisoners of war, nuclear safety, and humanitarian support.

They also expressed concerns about China’s information manipulation, including the amplification of pro-Kremlin disinformation and propaganda related to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

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In addition to China-related discussions, Secretary General Sannino and Under Secretary Nuland held the fourth high-level Consultations on the Indo-Pacific. They reaffirmed the shared commitment of the EU and U.S. to enhance coordination and cooperation in support of a free, open, inclusive, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law and respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and peaceful resolution of disputes.

The officials assessed geopolitical trends in the Indo-Pacific region and discussed opportunities for collaboration and synergies, particularly in regional connectivity efforts.

They welcomed the memorandum of understanding between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), which aims to facilitate strategic investments in the Indo-Pacific.

Secretary General Sannino and Under Secretary Nuland concluded the meeting by affirming their intent to continue close coordination on China and the Indo-Pacific. They also expressed their gratitude for the cooperation of Wendy R. Sherman, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, who has played a significant role in advancing the EU-U.S. partnership.

The next rounds of the Dialogue on China and the High-Level Consultation are scheduled before the end of 2023.