The Czech EU Presidency has said dialogue with China will include extremely important human rights concerns. However, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said strategic partnership talks needed to respect a principle of non-interference in a country’s internal affairs.
This was at a one-day European Union-China reconciliation summit in Prague, aimed at helping along global economic recovery. Beijing pulled out of a summit scheduled for last December because it was angry that French President Nicolas Sarkozy had met the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. This summit saw the participants sign cooperation agreements revolving around science and technology, small and medium-sized companies and energy. Bilateral trade is valued in the area of 300 billion euros per year. The EU is now China’s biggest trade partner. Both sides are keen to go on developing this. Before the summit, official Chinese sources said cooperation includes participation in each other’s stimulus plans and fighting trade and investment protectionism. As for common climate change efforts to reduce CO2, Beijing says it is serious about doing its fair part, while maintaining growth at the same time. It will be quite a challenge; Some 80 percent of China’s electricity comes from burning coal.