EU, China postpone September summit due to pandemic

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (Michael Kappeler/DPA via AP, Pool)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (Michael Kappeler/DPA via AP, Pool)

BERLIN (AP) — The European Union and China have agreed to postpone a summit planned for this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic, German officials said Wednesday.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping and later with European Council President Charles Michel to discuss the Sept. 14 meeting, due to be held in the German city of Leipzig and seen as a key moment in EU relations with China.

In a statement, Merkel's office said the three sides agreed that “the meeting can't take place at the envisaged time due to the overall pandemic situation.” They also agreed to hold it at a later date and to discuss further details soon.

The European Union has tried to position itself as a mediator between China and the United States.

But relations between China and the 27-nation bloc have been strained recently by economic rivalry, questions over China's role in Hong Kong and by some EU members' concerns about Chinese telecoms equipment provider Huawei.

China's efforts to woo some EU countries through economic cooperation programs have also caused unease in Brussels.

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