EU’s Ashton begins five-day Asian tour
‘We are inter-dependent equals who share broad common
BELGIUM: EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton left Sunday
for Beijing where she will hold talks on foreign affairs and security
issues on the first leg of a five-day Asian tour. “Our partnership with
China is one of inter-dependent equals who share broad common interests,
and we have an obligation to engage on a wide range of global issues,”
Ashton said in a departure statement.
The meeting will be the third round of the high-level EU-China
Strategic Dialogue, which will help prepare the ground for the next EU-China
summit in Brussels in the autumn.
Ashton will meet with Premier Wen Jiabao, Chinese counterpart State
Councillor Dai Bingguo and Defence Minister Liang Guanglie.
She and Dai attended the first Strategic Dialogue in September 2010
in the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou. The second was held in
Hungary in May 2011. At the last EU-China summit, which was delayed from
October 2011 to February this year because of the European sovereign
debt crisis, China renewed its support for the euro.
After Beijing, Ashton will visit Hong Kong on Wednesday, and on
Thursday she will attend a regional forum of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.