Beijing has not offered any explanation for the move FILE PHOTO. Josep Borrell. © Getty Images / Photonews / Bert Van Den Broucke

China has cancelled a planned visit by the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, a spokesperson for the bloc announced on Tuesday. The diplomat’s trip was reportedly scheduled for next week.

“Unfortunately, we were informed by the Chinese counterparts that the envisaged dates next week are no longer possible and we must now look for alternatives,” spokesperson Nabila Massrali told Reuters in a written statement.

Beijing had not confirmed the visit and has provided no comment on its apparent cancellation, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning stating at a regular press briefing on Tuesday that she did not have any information to share on Borrell’s potential trip.

The visit was announced by the EU’s envoy to China, Jorge Toledo, on the sidelines of the 11th World Peace Forum in Beijing on Sunday. Borrell was to travel to China next Monday, Toledo said, seeking to address all outstanding issues with Beijing, including “partnership,” “competition” and “systemic rivalry.”

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“This will be the place to raise all these issues, especially the strategic issues that we have with China,” Toledo stated, adding that Borrell was scheduled to meet Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang.

Borrell had been due to visit Beijing in April this year, shortly after EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron toured the country. However, the top diplomat tested positive for coronavirus and the trip was rescheduled.

The top EU diplomat has previously given mixed signals on ties with China, calling it a “rival” but also a partner.

He has pointed to two major “strategic security issues” with China – namely its growing alliance with Russia and neutral stance on the Ukraine conflict – and the issue of Taiwan, regarded by Beijing as an integral part of its territory. (RT)