On 22 June, the first summit took place between the new EU leadership team, headed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel, and China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, but there was little time for small talk. One official remarked, ‘the gloves were off from the start’ with no attempt to secure a traditional joint statement, let alone a joint press conference. The EU side accepted that EU–China relations ‘were crucial in many areas’ but at the same time stated that ‘we have to recognise that we do not share the same values, political systems, or approach to multilateralism’. The Chinese side appeared surprised at these blunt words but they stemmed from the March 2019 EU policy document which stated that China was a ‘systemic rival’ in certain areas. By Fraser Cameron. East Asia Forum.