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Politics

In China, EU's Mogherini talks North Korea, 'New Silk Road'

During a high-profile visit to Beijing, the EU's foreign policy chief has urged cooperation in reducing tensions with North Korea. She described China and the EU as "global powers" with a shared responsibility.

Wrapping up a three-day visit to Beijing, the EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, on Thursday said the EU and China shared responsibility for tackling disorder within the international community and building a rules-based order.

Speaking at China's prestigious Tsinghua University, Mogherini told students that rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula have worldwide implications, warning that a crisis with North Korea "will have a global fallout."

China and the EU have a "common responsibility and an interest to avoid a military escalation in the Korean Peninsula, to push for North Korea to abide by its international obligations and re-engage with the international community," Mogherini said.

Tensions have flared in the Korean Peninsula since US President Donald Trump ordered the deployment of a naval attack group off the Korean Peninsula, prompting threats of "all-out war" from Pyongyang.

Mogherini on Wednesday addressed the need for China and the EU to work together "in times of growing tensions and geopolitical unpredictability."

"China and the European Union are global powers: we have a joint responsibility to work together towards a more cooperative, rules-based global order," Mogherini said.

Europe on the 'New Silk Road'

Since 2012, Brussels has pursued a bilateral investment treaty with China that would provide European companies easier access to Chinese markets. The EU has also sought to replace existing bilateral deals between China and EU nations with one overarching agreement.

"The European Union and China have one of the world's biggest trade and investment relationships and our partnership has an increasingly global dimension that goes beyond the bilateral one," Mogherini said.

On Thursday, the EU's foreign policy chief went on to call for China to open opportunities for European enterprises in Beijing's ambitious "One Belt, One Initiative" project.

The project, which imagines an overland and maritime "New Silk Road" linking Asia, Africa and Europe, has been championed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Over the past year, Beijing has doubled-down on globalization, a stark contrast to Trump's apparent protectionism.

"Obviously, for us, it is essential that the opportunities are opened up for all, including Europeans," Mogherini said.

"I know that some in the world are concerned about a more confident and outward-looking China. I do not share this view," she added.

ls/sms (AP, Reuters)

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