EU's Michel calls for 'stable and constructive' cooperation with China

FILE PHOTO: An attendant walks past EU and China flags ahead of the EU-China High-level Economic Dialogue in Beijing

By Katya Golubkova

HIROSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) - European Council President Charles Michel said on Friday it was in the EU's interest to maintain "stable and constructive" cooperation with China, as the Group of Seven countries met to consider China's "economic coercion" and other concerns.

G7 leaders, gathering in the Japanese city of Hiroshima from Friday, are expected to issue a statement with a "a section specific to China", listing issues that include "economic coercion and other behaviour", a U.S. official said.

G7 leaders are focusing on how to warn the world's second biggest economy against what they see as its threat to global supply chains and economic security without alienating a powerful and important trade partner.

The EU wants to "de-risk to reduce over-dependencies and diversify to address unfair practices", Michel told a briefing in Hiroshima.

"Stable and constructive relations with China is in our mutual interest," he said.

"Given its role in the international community and the size of its economy, China has a special responsibility in the world and it has to play by international rules," he said.

China has traditionally been one of Russia's top trading partners, thanks to energy, and Russia has increased its reliance on China for state revenues from exports after Western buyers cut ties after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Michel called on China to use its influence over its neighbour to end the war in Ukraine.

"We call on China to press Russia to stop its military aggression," Michel said.

Since February, China has promoted a 12-point proposal for a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim, Robert Birsel)