15:19 GMT18 January 2021
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    The comments follow a major investment treaty agreed between the two economic powerhouses, sparking concerns in Washington amid tensions in the ongoing US trade war with China.

    Europe should not be influenced by other nations in its relations with Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a meeting with Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides on Tuesday as reported by the South China Morning Post.

    Chinese-EU relations should "not be affected by external interference" but should advance "towards win-win cooperation", Wang said, adding Beijing regarded the 27-member bloc as a major force for a multipolar world.

    “China-EU consensus outweighs differences. The two sides are partners, not systemic rivals. China and the EU should understand and respect the choices of each other’s people, actively expanding common interests and enhancing mutual trust,” he added.

    The news comes as officials have hailed the deal as a success, despite criticisms over alleged human rights abuses and forced labour in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), which Beijing has repeatedly denied, the report read.

    But according to a recent interview with CNN, the deal has triggered concerns in Washington, where President-elect Joe Biden's administration aims to boost soured ties between the US and EU, as well as work with European allies.

    “We are confident we can develop a common agenda on issues where we share deep concerns about China. And it’s not just on trade, it’s on technology. It’s on human rights. It’s on military aggression,” incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN at the time.

    What Are the Four Aspects of Developing China-EU Relations?

    FM Wang Yi's comments come after he announced four-point strategy to increase EU-China ties in August. The goals come amid efforts to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and meet UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    COVID-19 Partnership
    • Build an anti-COVID-19 partnership and promote cooperation on post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
    • Strengthen cooperation on vaccines, medicines and testing kits.
    • Boost support for the World Health Organisation (WHO), Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) as well as other global institutions.
    • Launch a "fast lane" to boost personal exchanges and "green channel" for exchanging goods.
    Investment
    • Boost investment and "work for win-win results".
    • Adopt a "flexible, practical and cooperative approach" to talks, including implementing the free trade agreement, among others.
    • Conduct a joint feasibility study on when to rollout the free trade agreement process.
    • Strengthen coordination on macroeconomic policies and conclude China-EU 2025 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation.
    Green and Digital Partnership
    • A "green and digital partnership" to increase China-EU cooperation.
    • Deeper cooperation on the circular economy, green technology, renewables, sustainable finance as well as artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing, among others.
    Multilateral Affairs
    • Deepen international partnership and work closer in multilateral affairs.
    • Cooperate on climate change and multilateral cooperation to boost sustainable development globally.
    • Strengthen dialogue and cooperation on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development to tackle global challenges.

    The news comes after Brussels and Beijing struck the deal ahead of New Year's Eve last year, with the agreement being confirmed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

    According to EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) was the "most ambitious outcomes that China has ever agreed with a third country".

    The agreement comes just days after the EU and United Kingdom struck a post-Brexit trade deal on Christmas Eve and Beijing inked the 15-member Regional Cooperative Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's largest deal in history, in November.

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    Tags:
    foreign investment, investment, bilateral trade, Ursula von der Leyen, US-China trade war, sustainable development, china trade deal, free trade agreement, China, European Union (EU), Wang Yi
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