This week the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini paid her first official visit to Asia. She travelled to the Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China with the aim of strengthening ties with two of the EU's strategic partners in the region.
Visit to the Republic of Korea (4 May)
In the Republic of Korea, the HR/VP met President Park Geun-hye, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se and the Minister of National Defence Han Min-gu.
The visit underlined the thriving EU-Korean partnership. The meetings allowed to explore areas of closer collaboration on global, international and regional matters. These include the Republic of Korea's future participation in EU-led crisis management operations.
The HR/VP stressed the EU's continued support for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and the importance of stability and prosperity in the broader East Asia region.
Climate change was also discussed. The HR/VP emphasised the need to conclude a robust, ambitious, durable and inclusive Agreement at the Paris Conference of the Parties in December and that all countries have to contribute in line with their evolving responsibilities and capabilities.
Visit to the People's Republic of China (5-6 May)
The trip to China took place in a special context, given the 40th anniversary of EU-China relations on 6 May. The HR/VP said that this was the moment to make plans for the future, stressing the huge potential to develop the political relationship beyond the already strong trade and investment pillar.
On 5 May, HR/VP Mogherini co-chaired the 5th round of the EU-China High Level Strategic Dialogue, together with State Councillor Yang Jiechi. They had in-depth exchanges on both the bilateral agenda and the possibility to develop co-ordinated approaches to regional challenges such as Ukraine and Libya, and global challenges such as climate change and sustainable development. The two sides also discussed how to build on the excellent EU-China co-operation towards reaching an agreement on the Iranian nuclear file by exploring co-ordinated efforts to address other crises in the region, such as in Yemen and Syria. Enhancing security and defence cooperation, for instance in Africa, was also deemed a priority. For more details, see the joint press conference, or read the statement of the HR/VP.
Human rights issues were also discussed. The HR/VP emphasised the importance of the bilateral Human Rights Dialogue.
On 6 May the HR/VP called on Premier Li Keqiang, who underlined the potential to project the relationship outwards on commonly agreed bilateral, regional and multilateral priorities. Discussions on the up-coming EU-China Summit focussed on:
the EU's connectivity platform proposal,
climate change, and
the need for a common approach to ensure the success of the COP21 in Paris.
Other meetings were held with the Minister in charge of the International Department of the Party, Wang Jiairui, and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi.