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China ready to work with EU to uphold free trade, multilateralism, foreign minister says

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BEIJING (Reuters) -China is ready to work with the European Union to uphold free trade, practice multilateralism, and promote an equal and orderly multi-polar world and inclusive economic globalisation, its foreign minister said during a visit to Spain.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China regards the EU as “an important force in the multi-polar pattern” and supports European integration, and the development and growth of the EU as well as achieving strategic autonomy, according to a foreign ministry statement on Tuesday.

“As long as China and the EU strengthen solidarity and cooperation, bloc confrontation will not arise,” he said.

Wang made the remarks during a meeting with the Spanish prime minister in Madrid on Monday. He also met his Spanish counterpart and Spain’s King Felipe VI.

Wang said China is ready to maintain high-level exchanges with Spain, strengthen synergies in development strategies and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation.

The EU has a policy of reducing economic reliance on China, which the bloc regards with more suspicion due to its close ties to Russia.

The European Commission set out plans in January to bolster the EU’s economic security through closer scrutiny of foreign investments and more coordinated controls on exports and outflows of technologies to rivals such as China.

The EU executive’s package is a response to the multiple risks exposed by the COVID pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, cyber and infrastructure attacks and increased geopolitical tensions.

(Reporting by Liz Lee and Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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