EU-China summit deadlocked on problem areas (Lead)

May 21st, 2009 - 1:05 am ICT by IANS  

Prague, May 20 (DPA) The European Union (EU) and China Wednesday hit deadlock at a summit in Prague which had been meant to highlight their reconciliation, as they failed to agree common language on any of the key points dividing them.
As the two sides failed to bridge their differences on a number of contentious issues, including Myanmar, North Korea, Taiwan, climate change and trade liberalisation, China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao called on the EU to expand “practical cooperation”.

“The most important thing is to stick to the principles of mutual respect and not interfere in each others internal affairs,” the Chinese premier told a news conference after the summit.

He also urged the 27-member bloc “to ensure that our bilateral relationship will not be adversely affected by individual incidents”.

Ahead of the summit, diplomats close to the preparations said that each side had proposed a lengthy statement agreeing a common position on the contentious issues.

The EU draft stretched to 10 pages of detailed diplomatic text, while China’s draft was seven pages long.

The drafts showed “significant differences” over the controversial issues, diplomats said.

And in two hours of talks, EU leaders and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao failed to overcome those differences and agree a common position on any of the main topics.

Instead, they issued a joint one-page statement saying that they had “focused on” economic and climate issues and “exchanged views” on diplomatic ones, without mentioning agreement on any of those points.

The statement said that the two sides “expressed their determination to strengthen cooperation” in the future.

The summit had been planned as a gesture of reconciliation after China pulled out of an earlier meeting, scheduled for Dec 1, to protest a meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy, then holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

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