European Council president Donald Tusk has expressed “concern” on freedom of expression and association in China, including the situation of the persons belonging to minorities such as Tibetans and Uighurs.
The former Polish PM was speaking in the wake of an EU-China summit in Brussels earlier this week.
It was the 17th summit between two sides but it was the first one for Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Tusk himself. It was also the first time Chinese Premier Li had travelled to Brussels as leader.
The summit comes as the EU and China celebrate the 40th anniversary of their bilateral relations.
Afterwards, Tusk said, “It was a good moment to look at what we achieved so far, and, more importantly, to think about what more we can do now and in the future.”
He added, “I support China’s ambitious reform process and have no doubt that it will be a success. We also discussed how we could further improve cooperation on human rights at the bilateral and international level.
“I expressed our concerns on freedom of expression and association in China, including the situation of the persons belonging to minorities such as Tibetans and Uighurs. In that context, I have encouraged China to resume a meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives.”
The summit agenda also included global challenges, such as climate change and development which Tusk said “we need to face together.”
He said, “We discussed how to promote low carbon and climate-friendly investments bilaterally and internationally. We agreed to aim for a fair and ambitious deal at the climate conference in Paris in December. One shared goal should be to keep global average temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.”
The two sides also agreed that the next round of their human rights dialogue and the second visit of the EU Special Representative for Human Rights to China will both take place, separately, in November this year.
Tusk said the focus will also be their respective neighbourhoods, in particular Ukraine.
“It is important to re-assert that the conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine can only be solved by peaceful means and through full respect for international law, especially for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence,” said Tusk.
“A stable and prosperous Ukraine is both in the interest of Chinaand the European Union. We are both committed to assist its reforms and development.”
The official said the 70th year since the end of World War II is a “moment to reflect on our shared duty to promote reconciliation and cooperation in our respective regions.”
Tusk went on, “My message is that dialogue, respect for international law and effective crisis management mechanisms are needed for the Asia-Pacific to enjoy the peace, security and prosperity that everybody hopes it will.”