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Politics Monitor

European Diplomat Postpones China Trip After Covid Diagnosis

The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, announced on Wednesday that he had tested positive for Covid and had to postpone a trip to Beijing scheduled for April 13 to 15 to prepare for an EU-China summit.

“I tested positive for Covid-19 and therefore unfortunately have to postpone my trip to China. I feel fine and have no symptoms,” Josep Borrell said on Twitter.

During this trip, he was to meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Defense Minister Li Shangfu and Foreign Minister Qin Gang to discuss tensions around Taiwan and the war in Ukraine.

Europeans have increased their trips to China since the fall.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in November was the first leader of an EU country to visit China since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic three years ago.

He was followed at the end of March by the head of the Spanish government, Pedro Sanchez, and last week by the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the French president Emmanuel Macron.

Mr Macron offended some Western allies by saying after his trip that Europe should not follow US policy on Taiwan.

A senior EU official said Mr Borrell was seeking to present the EU’s united position and would push Beijing to use its influence over Russia to end the war in Ukraine.

China, which has never denounced the Russian invasion of Ukraine, proposed in February a “peace plan” to end the war which has lasted for more than a year, but the United States and the Europe remain skeptical about its ability to play a mediating role.

Washington and the EU have also repeatedly warned Beijing against the temptation to supply arms to Moscow.

This article is originally published on lorientlejour.com

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