Top European Union (EU) officials met President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday for their first in-person summit in four years to discuss issues ranging from trade imbalances to Ukraine.
During the meeting, Xi urged the EU to work with China to provide global stability, enhance mutual political trust and "eliminate all kinds of interference" in the bilateral relationship, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will also meet Premier Li Qiang on their one-day visit.
A European official told journalists in Brussels earlier this week that "there's not a single outstanding deliverable that will be crowning the summit," adding that there will not be a joint statement.
China has pushed back against an EU anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles and the EU's "de-risking" policy to reduce its reliance on Chinese imports, particularly of critical raw materials.
The EU wants Beijing to use its influence on Russia to stop the war in Ukraine. The bloc is also concerned about what it considers "imbalanced" economic relations, saying its near 400 billion euro (US$431.7 billion) trade deficit with China reflects restrictions on EU businesses.
"China and Europe are partners, not rivals, and their common interests far outweigh their differences," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said this week.
EU officials also said Thursday's meetings will provide a chance to discuss areas of common interest such as climate change and health. (Reuters/AFP)