EU ministers give backing to reducing dependence on China

Foreign ministers of the countries in the European Union have agreed to support a policy to reduce the bloc's dependence on China.

The ministers discussed the EU's relationship with China on Friday in Sweden.

After the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the ministers agreed on the basic lines for adjusting the bloc's strategy with China.

Borrell said the EU has come to depend too much on China for critical materials and key technologies. He said the bloc also hopes to continue to see Beijing as a partner on global issues.

The talks were held amid growing calls for the EU's unified stance against China. The US and China remain at odds. Currently, each EU member country has a different view depending on the degree of economic ties it has maintained with Beijing.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed in March the need to focus on "de-risking" relations with China, rather than economically decoupling from the Asian nation.

The EU leaders also plan to discuss the issue at their summit in June.