Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says the bloc views China as both a strategic partner and an institutional opponent.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi says putting up barriers to the EU investment agreement would
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi says putting up barriers to the EU investment agreement would "ultimately harm the long-term interests of the European people." (AP)

The European Union (EU) has a "cognitive split" in its policy towards China by trying to both be a partner and also seeing it as an opponent.

"There seems to be some kind of cognitive split in Europe's China policy," State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during an interview with state media on Thursday.

"It is hard to imagine that, on the one hand, it has established a comprehensive strategic partnership with China and on the other hand, it has positioned China as an institutional opponent," he said.

Relations between China and the European Union worsened this year after an investment deal was frozen amid tit-for-tat sanctions.

EU member Lithuania also withdrew its diplomats from Beijing during a dispute over the status of Taiwan.

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Worsening ties

The European Parliament this year halted ratification of an investment pact with China until it lifted sanctions on EU politicians.

China's sanctions were a response to Western sanctions against Chinese officials accused of the mass detentions of members of the Muslim Uighurs community in western China.

Putting up barriers to the investment agreement would "ultimately harm the long-term interests of the European people", Wang said.

The EU has been taking a softer stance on China, one of its most important trade partners, compared to the United States.

However, the bloc has expressed concern over China's human rights record and actions in the South and East China Seas and the Taiwan Strait.

This month, EU and US officials said their approaches towards China were increasingly "convergent".

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Source: Reuters