BERLIN (Reuters) - A summit planned for September in Leipzig, Germany, between China and the European Union has been postponed because of the coronavirus, the German government said on Wednesday.
The decision was made after Chancellor Angela Merkel held separate phone calls with Chinese President Xi Jinping and European Council President Charles Michel, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.
“They agreed that the meeting cannot take place at the envisaged time given the pandemic but should be rescheduled,” Seibert said. “The details should be agreed soon.”
A similar summit that was due to take place at the end of March in China was also postponed.
Merkel had hoped to used Germany’s six-month presidency of the European Union from July 1 to strengthen the bloc’s ties with China. But the fight against the coronavirus and its social and economic impact as well as environmental issues will now be the focal point of her efforts, she has said.
The EU had wanted to use the summits to push China to deliver on its promise in April last year to give European companies equal treatment and put an end to a practice of forcing foreign firms to share know-how when operating in China.
Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Peter Cooney