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Fleur Huijskens, Richard Tucsanyi and Balazs Ujvari

EU member states can use the China-initiated organization to promote their standards for development financing and perhaps even to pursue geopolitical interests in Asia. This blogpost is a product of the MERICS European China Talent Program in April 2017.

Turkey’s flirt with the China-dominated Shanghai Cooperation Organization casts doubt on Ankara’s commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration. So far, Beijing has remained cautious, but it may decide that closer cooperation with Turkey is in its long-term interest. This is a joint blog post with the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization aligns with Beijing’s geostrategic ambitions. Drawing India closer into China’s orbit serves as a check against US influence, while Pakistan’s inclusion could help fight security threats. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to connect Eurasia and South Asia, could also benefit from the new members.

The Trump administration is committing a grave mistake by using Taiwan and the South China Sea as bargaining chips to secure China’s help with North Korea. Trump’s transactional approach to security policy risks damaging Sino-US relations at a time of high strategic uncertainty.

The global fight against climate change will continue after the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Participants at a MERICS conference agree that Germany and China can play a decisive role in keeping the topic on the G20 agenda.

France’s new president will need China’s cooperation on issues like climate change to balance the US and Russia. But while Macron might open up new channels for Sino-European cooperation, he could also push Europe towards a tougher stance on trade and security issues.

Their concern over an increasingly erratic US foreign policy is bringing the EU and China closer together. Yet last weeks’ EU-China Summit also illustrated that this partnership remains limited to selected issues.

Economic sanctions are the foreign policy instrument of choice against many of the world’s dictators. But the resilience of the Kim regime and China’s unwillingness to support a complete economic boycott have made them ineffective in North Korea.

China has invited international leaders to weigh in on shaping the future design of its Belt and Road Initiative at a summit in Beijing. European governments are curious to find out if China is truly willing to multilateralize and institutionalize its flagship foreign policy Project.

Charlotte Roehren (via The Diplomat)

With its growing international integration, China is becoming a major actor in global health issues. Beijing has valuable experience in fighting pandemics and in providing health and medical support to Africa. The G20 Summit in Hamburg will be an opportunity for China to step up its multilateral health engagement.

Washington and Beijing have to accept that there can be no more business as usual in dealing with the Kim regime. The two principal actors in this crisis have to work towards political change in North Korea through a new regional order in East Asia.

Punitive levies on Chinese imports would hurt American consumers and U.S. companies that are part of the global supply chain. At the same time, they would strengthen Beijing's resolve to speed up its quest for independence from foreign technology.

A transatlantic shift in financial burden sharing within NATO would reverberate all the way to China. A weaker U.S. role in global security would lead to a weaker dollar – with serious consequences for China’s monetary policy and real economy.

As the U.S. President pursues his strategy of “America First,” China strives to increase its role and influence on the world stage. Participants of a panel hosted by MERICS and its partners China File, Asia Society and Young China Watchers in New York discussed the consequences of this shift in the global order.

China’s industrial policies aim to build national champions via acquiring technological knowledge abroad. This goal may be in line with the current worldwide wave of economic nationalism, but it is likely to collide with the strategic aims of increasingly globalized Chinese companies.

In the French election campaign, trade with China and Chinese investment raise similar controversies as in the U.S. last fall. Even if a moderate candidate wins, France is likely to adopt a tougher stance vis-à-vis China.

China’s military ambitions are approaching Europe‘s backyard. There is potential for cooperation – but over the longer term, the two sides may find their interests conflict more often than not.

The U.S. withdrawal from TPP and TTIP leaves the EU as the main advocate of high regulatory standards in international trade agreements. The Trump administration’s anti-trade rhetoric may have created an opening for Brussels to get concessions from Beijing and to bolster its position through agreements with other Asian countries.

(via The Diplomat)

Europe’s increasing police and judicial cooperation with China raises difficult questions, especially with regard to extradition. Governments should make sure the cooperation does not undermine international and European legal norms.

As China imposes tighter controls on capital outflows, China’s global M&A activities may decelerate. However, German companies are likely to remain attractive targets for Chinese buyers for strategic, geopolitical, and business reasons.

Interview with Philippe Le Corre (via Young China Watchers)

As the recent surge of investment from China has fueled heated debate in Europe, Chinese investors struggle with the challenge of becoming a part of the European corporate landscape. Young China Watchers spoke about this dilemma with Philippe Le Corre, visiting fellow in the Center of the United States and Europe at Brookings Institution, and author of a new book on "China's Offensive in Europe."

US President-elect Donald Trump has continued branding China as a currency manipulator – accusing the country of keeping the yuan low to help Chinese exports and harming jobs in the US. But in fact China’s currently intervenes in the opposite direction to prevent a weakening of the yuan – supporting American Jobs.

Donald Trump’s election as US president has increased expectations for China to act as a responsible global power. But Beijing is unlikely to fill these expectations, and China risks being harmed by the fallout of an erratic and possibly reckless US foreign policy. 

The EU should speed up negotiations about a Bilateral Investment Treaty with China. With US trade policy in limbo after the election of Donald Trump, there is an opportunity for Brussels to move ahead with Beijing.

Chinese security policy experts use potential threats to BRI projects, such as recent terrorist attacks in Central Asia, to highlight the necessity of a globalized security posture.