China foreign minister warns against decoupling at Munich Security Conference

By Thomson Reuters Feb 17, 2024 | 7:11 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi warned the West that it would be making a historical mistake if it sought to decouple from China in the interests of reducing risk.

“Whoever tries de-sinicization in the name of de-risking would be making a historical mistake,” Wang said in a speech on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference.

His comments came amid calls over the last year from the United States and the European Union to reduce their dependence on China.

During a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the conference on Friday, the Chinese foreign minister also stressed that “making ‘de-risking’ into ‘de-China’, and seeking ‘decoupling from China'” will only backfire on the U.S. itself”.

The European Commission last month set out plans to bolster the European Union’s economic security through closer scrutiny of foreign investments and more coordinated controls on exports and outflows of technologies to rivals such as China, which raised concerns from China’s Chamber of Commerce to the EU.

The plans highlight “de-risking”, the EU’s policy of reducing economic reliance on China, which the bloc regards with suspicion due to its close ties to Russia.

(Reporting by Albee Zhang and Ryan Woo; editing by Giles Elgood)