EU’s diplomatic service on Friday distanced selves from the decision of the bloc’s ambassador in Beijing to let local authorities censor a letter published in a Chinese newspaper.
The EU Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Virginie Battu-Henriksson, said the decision was not the right one to take due to the global pressure.
“This has been made clear to the ambassador, who continues to have our confidence,’’ Battu-Henriksson said.
Brussels had previously defended Nicolas Chapuis, saying that he had allowed Chinese officials to remove a reference to China as the original site of the outbreak of COVID-19.
This, it said, otherwise important messages in the text would not have reached a local audience.
According to the European External Action Service (EEAS), the Chinese Foreign Ministry insisted on the changes.
The letter, entitled “EU-China ties vital amid global crisis” and penned by the 27 EU ambassadors, appeared in the English-language China Daily, but part of the original text was missing.
Beijing is one of the EU’s major trading partners, though EU officials have expressed concern about China’s official narrative on the pandemic.
In particular, China has been accused of trying to shift blame for its role in the origins and spread of the outbreak.
“While the EU and China have differences, notably on human rights, our partnership has become mature enough to allow frank discussions on these issues,’’ EEAS said. (dpa/NAN)
– May 8, 2020 @ 14:09 GMT |