European parliaments debate human rights violations in Xinjiang
On May 17, the German Bundestag conducted a hearing on human rights abuses against Uighurs in Xinjiang. Following the hearing, the Chinese Embassy in Berlin released a critical statement naming the debates on Xinjiang “political manipulation” and alluding to “the dark history of World War II.” Soon after, on May 18 and 19, the Belgian parliament debated the motion of classifying China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang a genocide. So far, no conclusive statements have been released on the outcome of the debate.
MEPs expected to formally freeze CAI discussions
The European Parliament is expected to vote on Thursday, May 20, on a motion to officially suspend political discussions about the ratification of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment. The motion reportedly demands for Chinese countersanctions from March to be lifted before the discussion on CAI can be reopened. In the meantime, translation and legal scrubbing of CAI continues.
Italy’s Draghi talks with China’s Li
On May 17, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi held a phone call with Premier Li Keqiang. The Italian readout focused on discussions on climate cooperation within multilateral fora. The Chinese readout mentioned the next year’s China-Italy Cultural Tourism Year and Draghi’s support for the progress on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment “through dialogue”.
France joins military exercises in Indo-Pacific
Between May 9 and 16, French helicopter carrier Tonnerre and frigate Surcouf participated in a joint military exercise in the south of Japan together with American, Australian and Japanese allies. The official objective was to strengthen the capacity for cooperation to support “a free and open Indo-Pacific zone”- a move seen as linked to China’s growing influence in the area.