US warns EU on making friends with China’s ‘totalitarian’

Sallie Anderson

The EU would be deserting its worths if it selected a much deeper collaboration with China’s “dictatorship”, even if it did not get along with US president Donald Trump, the American ambassador to the EU has actually stated.

“The people of China are a wonderful people and I have nothing but respect for them, but general secretary Xi is a dictator,” Ronald Gidwitz, the US envoy, informed press in Brussels on Monday (22 June), describing Chinese president Xi Jinping.

  • Ronald Gidwitz (c) with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo (r) (Image:

Gidwitz noted China together with Iran, North Korea, and Russia as one of the principal “malign actors” on the world phase.

“If you believe the European Union is well served to be in partnership with a dictator, that’s your choice to make,” he stated.

“[But] that’s a false option – that you [the EU] need to make a decision in between the US and China. The real concern is do you favour guideline of law, do you favour democratic organizations, do you favour human rights? And if you do, the option is refrain from doing you favour the US, it’s do you join us to motivate those dictatorships to alter?”, Gidwitz stated.

“Can the EU – a collection of democracies, based on freedom, based on multiculturalism, based on rule of law – can you partner with someone who gives you empty promises, who is not transparent, who completely disregards human rights?”, headded


The US envoy spoke with push the very same day that top EU authorities held a video-summit with Xi and with Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang.

And the worths that Gidwitz mentioned divided the 2 sides.

“We expressed our great concerns about the proposed national security law for Hong Kong,” EU Council president Charles Michel informed press in Brussels later, describing Xi’s current crackdown on Hong Kong democracy.

“The relationship between the EU and China is simultaneously one of the most strategically important and one of the most challenging that we have,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen stated.

The EU authorities did not discuss China’s persecution of its Uighur ethnic minority – another dissentious point.

However von der Leyen likewise alerted of “extremely unfavorable repercussions if it [China] moves forward with enforcing this law [on Hong Kong]”.

And she grumbled about Chinese cyberattacks in the EU and its coronavirus disinformationcampaign


” We have actually seen attacks … on computer systems, on healthcare facilities, and we understand the origin [China] of the cyberattacks,” she stated.

” We mentioned plainly that this [disinformation] can not be endured,” she kept in mind.

“Progress is needed in many areas to rebalance this relationship,” Michel added, describing absence of gain access to for EU companies to China’s domesticmarket


Empty pledge

That was among the “empty promises” that Gidwitz had actually described, after Li, the Chinese prime minister, signed a declaration vowing “non-discriminatory market access” for European business at the previous EU- China top last April.

And for its part, China pressed back versus the EU’s call, in Gidwitz’ words, “to motivate [the Chinese] dictatorship to alter”.

Neither Xi nor Li offered an interview.

However Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Lutong informed press reporters the very same day, according to the AFP news company: “We oppose any foreign disturbance in this matter [Hong Kong]”.

The EU- China top came in the middle of growing talk of a brand-new US- China Cold War, in addition to speculation that Europe would need to select sides.

Returning to EU-US relations, Gidwitz, the American ambassador, confessed that Trump was a tough partner.

” Speaking as a Republican politician … I suggest, we [the EU and US] have actually endured numerous presidents,” he kept in mind, describing his and Trump’s conservative Republican politicianParty


“But I don’t think it’s really a question though of how does one survive four more years of Donald Trump,” Gidwitz stated, ahead of upcoming US elections.

The variety of irritants in transatlantic relations has actually likewise increased under Trump – on diplomacy, trade, and environment, in addition to over Trump’s open support for Brexit and his spiteful remarks about EU leaders, such as German chancellor Angela Merkel.

However Gidwitz stated:”My view is that Donald Trump has made significant improvements in the relationship in many ways”


He singled out the method Trump had actually pressed Nato allies to invest more on defence as his main achievement.

‘ Broken’ collaboration

“You had a partnership where partners were not carrying their load,” Gidwitz stated.

“What Donald Trump did … was to raise the question: ‘Are you really or are you not a partner of the United States?’,” Gidwitz kept in mind.

” And I believe the response is definitely: ‘Yes, the Europeans now, by and big, not totally, however to a big procedure have actually pertained to the conclusion: ‘Yes. Nato is very important and … [spending] dedications ought to be kept,” headded


” If it’s a damaged collaboration, let’s call it what it is … you [EUobserver] presume that whatever was smooth under the previous administration [of US president Barack Obama], when in truth Donald Trump acquired a lot of damaged collaborations,” Gidwitz stated.

“That has been … the undercurrent of this administration: When you have a relationship, you either fulfil it, or get out of it,” he added.

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