EU officials says Europe has been ‘naive’ about China

Greg Nash

European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said Europe has been “a little naive” in dealing with China but that it was beginning to take a more pragmatic approach.

Borrell told France’s Le Journal du Dimanche that China and the EU are “on the same side” in that they both promote multilateralism. However, he said, that commonality does not necessarily mean they see eye-to-eye on global governance in general, according to Politico Europe.

“We Europeans support effective multilateralism with the United Nations at the center,” Borrell said. “China, on the other hand, has a selective multilateralism that wants, and is based on, a different understanding of the international order.”

“We have to see what is behind the word,” he added.

The coronavirus pandemic, Borrell added, has deepened the Washington-Beijing rivalry. President Trump, he told the publication, sees multilateralism “as a zero-sum game where America would have everything to lose. This view is false.”

Borrell also expressed skepticism about Trump’s insinuation that the virus was engineered in a Chinese laboratory.

“One must always take the statements of the president of the United States with care,” Borrell said. “[A] few days ago, he recommended that we drink disinfectant to fight the coronavirus.”

Although U.S. intelligence services have contradicted Trump’s suggestion on the origin of the virus, a recent report from the Department of Homeland Security faulted Beijing for downplaying the threat.

Early in the pandemic, China attempted to obscure changes in trade by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” according to the report.

The country also failed to inform the World Health Organization for most of January that the virus was a contagion, according to the report. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that China “did all that it could to make sure the world didn’t learn in a timely fashion” about the threat.

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump Mike Pompeo

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