Trade is deteriorating due to China’s relations with Russia amid the Ukraine conflict, Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck has claimed Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection June 23, 2024, China. © Global Look Press / Sebastian Christoph Gollnow / dpa

The strong ties between Russia and China have led to a deterioration in Beijing’s trade relations with EU member states, German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck told journalists on Saturday during a three-day visit to the Asian country.

The EU and its Western allies have rebuked the Chinese government for maintaining close diplomatic and economic ties with Moscow amid the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as well as its reluctance to join in the international criticism of the Kremlin.

Beijing’s support for Moscow is damaging the trade and economic ties between China and the bloc, Habeck, who also serves as Germany’s economy and climate minister, said. He added that Beijing “can’t just switch to a neutral position, and then take sides against the security interests of the other country.”

During a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Zheng Shanjie, on Saturday, the vice chancellor stated that German and EU security interests are directly affected by the conflict, warning Beijing of potential economic consequences due to its cooperation with Moscow.

“Our relationship, our direct relationship, has already been negatively affected,” German news agency dpa cited Habeck as saying.

China strong enough to withstand Western pressure – Moscow China strong enough to withstand Western pressure – Moscow

Habeck’s visit to China comes a week after the EU introduced new tariffs on Chinese EV producers, which Beijing responded to by launching an anti-dumping investigation aimed at certain pork products from the bloc. Beijing previously warned that it would target the EU’s aviation and agriculture sectors in response to the tariffs.

On Friday, China’s Commerce Ministry warned that Brussels could trigger a “trade war” if it continues to escalate tensions by conducting unfair practices during its eight-month anti-subsidy probe into Chinese EVs.

Die Welt reported that Habeck failed to secure a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang during his trip. Instead, he met with Chinese government representatives on climate issues.

China-Russia cooperation has been flourishing despite growing tensions between Moscow and the West over the Ukraine conflict and multiple rounds of economic sanctions on Russia. Beijing has defied demands from the US and other NATO countries to join in the attempts to isolate Russia, saying that, unlike Washington, it is not involved in the Ukraine conflict. China has put forward a peace plan to end the fighting and has insisted that Russia’s security concerns cannot be ignored. (RT)