Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made veiled reference to the US claims against Huawei and told Washington to stop its attempts to “bring down” the company.
“What we oppose are groundless accusations for political purposes and attempts to bring down a foreign company”, Wang said.
“We think such practices are abnormal, immoral and have no support”, he said after a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and hours before a lunch with EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
EU leaders will discuss China at a summit for the first time in many years, part of a flurry of high-level meetings as President Xi Jinping travels to Italy and France from this week and the bloc holds a summit with China in April.
In a draft statement declaration for the April 6 EU-China summit in Brussels, seen by Reuters, it is looking to set deadlines for Beijing to open up its economy.
Last week in a shift in tone, the European Commission, the EU executive, described China as a “systemic rival” and called on the bloc to be more assertive after years of welcoming Chinese investment unhindered.
Wang said competition between China and the European Union “may be inevitable”, although he and Mogherini continued to refer to a strategic partnership between them.
The EU deficit in goods trade with China widened slightly to 21.4 billion euro, from 20.8 billion euro a year earlier, according to Eurostat.
In the April 9 EU-China summit draft joint communique, the European Union will seek Beijing’s agreement for deadlines to open China’s economy, trying to coax it into making good on promises to deepen trade ties.
China and the EU will “agree by summer 2019 on a set of priority market access barriers and requirements facing their operators”, according to a six page joint communique drafted by the EU, which still needs Chinese approval.
The draft statement, dated March 8, said the two trading blocs would set “deadlines for their swift removal by the next EU-China summit 2020 at the latest”.
The deadline, which is likely to change, also sets 2020 as the goal for a special treaty to increase investment flows that has been under negotiation for a decade.
A surge of Chinese takeovers in critical sectors in Europe and an impression in Brussels that Beijing has not kept its promise to stand up for free trade and globalisation have given the April meeting new urgency, diplomats said.