Trade, economic development and the environment were topics on the agenda when the two leaders met during the Boao Forum on Hainan Island. But the question occupying many in Sweden was how Löfven would bring up more sensitive issues.
“We also spoke about human rights, everything from trade union rights to the death penalty and the incarceration of people who express their opinion,” Löfven said.
The prime minister said he gave the Chinese leader a list, prepared by the EU, of specific cases that were of concern to the Europeans.
When asked how the Chinese leadership responded when sensitive issues, such as human rights, were brought up, Löfven said the authorities there were open to discussion.
“They say that they have a different opinion, another perspective, on the different questions we address,” he told reporters. “They have respect for our opinion and we are clear about where we stand. We are two different nations who want to have a good relationship and develop closer cooperation.”
Ahead of his visit, Löfven had not said if would bring up specific cases with the Chinese authorities or submit a list of prisoners the EU would like to see released, as former Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt did in 2008 when he visited then-President Hu Jintao.
On Friday, Löfven visited Sweden’s ambassador in Beijing and met representatives of Swedish companies doing business there.
After the two-day visit in China, Löfven will travel to the United States.