Graphic shows EU’s largest trading partners.
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EU-China trade tensions

By Duncan Mil

May 29, 2020 - The European Union is under intense pressure to pick sides between its two biggest trading partners -- the U.S. and China -- over Beijing’s decision to force national security laws on Hong Kong.

European Union governments expressed “grave concern” on Friday over China’s efforts to tighten its grip on Hong Kong, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said following a meeting of the bloc’s 27 foreign policy chiefs.

“We express our grave concern at the steps taken by China… we believe that this seriously risks undermining the one country two systems principle,” Borrell said.

“Our relationship with China is based on mutual respect and trust, but this decision calls this into question,” Borrell told reporters.

China’s efforts to tighten its grip on Hong Kong will likely signal a new U.S.-China clash over the former British colony. The U.S. is considering a range of sanctions if violence escalates, and President Donald Trump has said he’ll announce new U.S. policies on China on Friday.

In the United Kingdom, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has warned the government could reform visa rules for 300,000 Hong Kong residents unless China backs down on its planned security laws.

Effectively the world’s second-biggest economy, the EU is wary of disrupting ties with its two biggest trading partners.

PUBLISHED: 29/05/2020; STORY: Graphic News
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