Recently, the world has become more heated. The Sino-US trade war is at a peak, and the parties in the South China Sea began military exercises. For the EU, these days are not calm, similar to China and the United States with their own internal and external troubles – writes Ying Zhang, Erasmus Rotterdam School of Management Associate Dean.
In the EU, the trouble has just been growing more. Italy "revolting his allies"; Britain-EU ”divorce" approaching to the hilarious final; Poland looking for its “new master“; Germany's economy being sluggish, France hardly cleaning up its own mess; Spain's unemployment continuing to climb; and Brussels finding it difficult to be happy.
No surprise, the Dutch government has also officially issued a new policy towards China, named as A New Balance. Reading through the report, I find this report with the sentiment of “epiphany, reluctant, but no clear solution to the problems". In short, my interpretation about this report is as below (with a bit of typical Dutch directiveness) ("we" in below refers to The Netherlands).
1- The rise of China is a fact, however, China is with a completely different ideology, but "oops"... we (the Netherlands) just realized.
2- We have to still rely on doing business with China for our typical geo-economic position and our standard living, but it is difficult for us to offend our "big brother" and the EU.
3- So, for our own sake, security should be prioritized; to some extent, we need to be consistent with our allies.
4- Also, we have to strengthen the alliance of our own Kingdom of the Netherlands; we have to accord with the EU, we have to find a few key green sectors (food, agri…be more circular economy and be more sustainable sectors ) to cooperate with China, because we want to avoid conflicts with others.
5.- We also have to strengthen the relationship between our business and government.
6.- In a word: we are in between, and we are in an uneasy position. Although we are different from China in terms of ideology, we have lots of reluctance to make China as an opponent because the business for us with China is still important.
7.- This is not an easy job! But, we are Dutch, and we are smart enough...
It is difficult to stand for all parties and deal with the true truth, unless your mission is to benefit the whole population of the world. This report uncovers Dutch perception not only to China, but also to USA, and EU, however without fairly viewing China's development, and other's purposes. Defining New Balance by simply combining perceptions towards China and USA together is actually swinging between the powers. Certainly, it is not careful and conscious. It will just make the NL lose its supposed position and voice, with other's respect, and make the Dutch business more vulnerable and more exhausted.
De-coupling from China would be the wrong way to go, Germany warns
The European Union needs to engage with China despite many differences instead of opting for a more isolationist approach, Germany said on Wednesday (21 April).
"In the EU, we have been describing China as a partner, competitor and systemic rival at the same time," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (pictured) said ahead of a virtual meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
"In all these three dimensions we need strong, sustainable communication channels with Beijing. De-coupling is the wrong way to go."
Berlin's warning against de-coupling is in line with Beijing's long-held position against disengagement among nations, including with China, despite mutual differences.
Last month, China was hit by a round of coordinated sanctions from the United States, European Union, Britain and Canada over reports of forced labour in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, accusations that Beijing rejects.
Ties between China and Germany have generally remained stable since last year, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said later in his meeting with Maas.
Wang also said major economies like China and Germany should jointly resist any de-coupling, and instead seek to uphold the stability of global industrial and supply chains, according to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry.
At the same time, China does not approve of any re-drawing of ideological lines, and is even more opposed to engaging in “small cliques”, and even arbitrarily imposing unilateral sanctions based on false information, Wang said.
Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in his first face-to-face White House summit since taking office, where both leaders said they shared serious concerns about the human rights situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
In a show of economic cooperation to the exclusion of China, Biden said Japan and the United States would jointly invest in the tech sector including semiconductor supply chains.
China’s Xi calls for fairer world order as rivalry with US deepens
Chinese President Xi Jinping (pictured) on Tuesday (20 April) called for a rejection of hegemonic power structures in global governance, amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over a widening range of issues including alleged human rights abuses, writes Kevin Yao.
Speaking at the annual Boao Forum for Asia, Xi criticized efforts by some countries to "build barriers" and "decouple", which he said would harm others and benefit no one.
China has long called for reforms of the global governance system to better reflect a more diverse range of perspectives and values from the international community, including its own, instead of those of a few major nations.
It has also repeatedly clashed with the biggest stakeholders in world governance, particularly the United States, over a range of issues from human rights to China's economic influence over other countries.
"The world wants justice, not hegemony," Xi said in remarks broadcast to the forum.
"A big country should look like a big country by showing that it is shouldering more responsibility," he said.
While Xi did not identify any country in his remarks, Chinese officials have in recent times referred to US “hegemony” in public criticisms of Washington’s global projection of power in trade and geopolitics.
On Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden held his first face-to-face White House summit since taking office, in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in which China topped the agenda.
Both leaders said they "share serious concerns" about the human rights situation in Hong Kong and China's Xinjiang region, where Washington has said Beijing is perpetrating a genocide against Muslim Uighurs. China has denied abuses.
In a display of economic cooperation to the exclusion of China, Biden said Japan and the United States would jointly invest in areas such as 5G technology, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, genomics and semiconductor supply chains.
As the Biden administration rallies other democratic allies to harden their stance on China, Beijing is seeking to strengthen ties with its autocratic partners and economically dependent neighbours in Southeast Asia.
Chinese speakers at the Boao forum, Asia's answer to Davos, also affirmed Beijing's commitment to global free trade.
China's trade practices were a focus of an intense tariff war between Beijing and Washington under the Trump administration, with the United States accusing Beijing of unfair subsidiaries that give Chinese companies unfair advantage abroad and forced transfers of technology and intellectual property.
"The biggest experience that China's accession to the World Trade Organization 20 years ago is that we Chinese are not afraid of competition," Long Yongtu，China's former chief negotiator for the China's WTO entry in 2001, told the forum on Monday (19 April).
However, despite the persistent confrontation between the US administration and China, both sides have rediscovered a common interest in battling climate change, after bilateral talks on fighting greenhouse emissions fizzled out during the Trump era.
Last week, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry flew to Shanghai to meet with his Chinese counterpart in the first high-level visit to China by a Biden administration official.
Both agreed on concrete actions “in the 2020s” to reduce emissions.
Competition: EU and China will discuss competition policy priorities in the digital sector during the 21st Competition Week
Officials from the EU and China will meet online from 26 to 28 April 2021 for technical discussions on competition law and enforcement. The 21st EU-China Competition Week will focus on subsidy cases under the Fair Competition Review System that China started implementing in 2016. It will also deal with the co-operation between the European Commission and EU member states with respect to state aid cases as well as Regulation and policy initiatives to address competition concerns in digital markets. The Competition Weeks offer a platform for exchanges on competition policy between the Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) and the European Commission together with EU National Competition Authorities. The Competition Weeks are the cornerstone of the longstanding competition dialogue between the competition authorities of the EU and China in line with the commitments set out in the Memoranda of Understanding and Terms of Reference signed between all sides. The EU-China Competition Week is part of the Competition Co-operation project, a 5-year EU funded programme offering technical co-operation to competition authorities in Asia. The objective is to exchange experiences and strengthen convergence in competition policy, to the benefit of citizens and businesses in both the EU and Asia. More information about the European Commission's bilateral dialogue with China in the field of competition policy is available on the Commission's website.
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