Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday in Chengdu, Southwest China, and held discussions with him on some key international questions, EU-China relations and bilateral issues.
According to a statement from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, during the discussions Haavisto expressed "serious concerns" to his Chinese counterpart about the human rights situation in the autonomous region of Xinjiang - home of the Uyghurs - and the political situation in Hong Kong.
"Despite the differences in their views, the EU and China must be able to cooperate effectively, because their joint efforts are needed in order to tackle global problems and resolve international crises," the Finnish Ministry said.
With regard to international issues, the Foreign Ministers discussed topics including the situations in Ethiopia, Myanmar and Afghanistan, and international cooperation in the Arctic.
Haavisto also raised the issue of reviving the Helsinki Spirit, an initiative President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö has presented to Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others. It includes a set of confidence-building principles and measures to enhance global security.
Bilateral issues between Finland and China included international mobility and air and freight transport, as well as cooperation between the two countries in winter sports as Beijing prepares to host the Winter Olympics in February 2022.
Haavisto invited China to join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action and the Arctic Council Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane. Sustainable development and climate issues also featured prominently in the discussion on cooperation between the EU and China.
The Finnish foreign minister emphasised the necessity of China’s contribution to joint climate efforts. According to the Finnish government, there are high expectations for the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), which China will host in Kunming this autumn, and the event could end up being a key step in the implementation of China's climate promises.
During the discussion, Haavisto also raised topical questions related to cybersecurity. He also underlined the importance of ongoing dialogue between the EU and China, which are important trade partners for one another.
Haavisto also had a telephone conversation with the Governor of Sichuan Province, Huang Qiang.