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U.S., EU to cooperate on China dialogue, Russia challenge: statement

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell hold a joint news conference in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2021. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and the European Union have agreed to relaunch a bilateral dialogue on China and work together to address Russia’s “challenging behavior,” according to a joint statement on Wednesday.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the EU high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, “acknowledged a shared understanding that relations with China are multifaceted, comprising elements of cooperation, competition, and systemic rivalry.”

They will also cooperate on topics including reciprocity, economic issues, resilience, human rights, security, multilateralism and climate change, the statement said.

“Secretary Blinken and High Representative Borrell confirmed that credible multi-party democracy, the protection of human rights and adherence to international law support the stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific,” the statement said.

“Both aim to cooperate to promote secure, sustainable, free and open maritime supply routes and supply chains and look forward to deepening cooperation with like-minded partners where interests and approaches intersect.”

Blinken and Borrell also said they would address “Russia’s challenging behavior, including its ongoing aggression against Ukraine and Georgia; hybrid threats, such as disinformation; interference in electoral processes; malicious cyber activities; and military posturing.”

During their meeting in Brussels, the two pledged to work together as well on the global distribution of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines, and to ensure they are prepared for future pandemics.

Among other issues the two ministers discussed were cooperation on climate action, Iran and Turkey.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney

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