Once in confusion Due to America’s increasingly hostile attitude towards China, the European Union and its member states are adopting a cascade of new measures that bring their policies in line with those of the United States.
why it matters: Beijing’s push to embrace Europe”strategic autonomy“From the United States – in the hope that the European Union Maintain cordial relations with China – looks like a moot point now.
What is happening: Last week, the European Commission Unveiled A proposed ban on products made from forced labor followed intense pressure from lawmakers and human rights activists concerned about bonded labor in Xinjiang.
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also criticized Chinese funding of European research institutions and announced A new “Defense of Democracy” package aims to examine foreign funding of European educational institutions to “bring to light covert foreign influence and shady funding.”
- America implemented Earlier this year all products made in Xinjiang and the Trump administration banned imports more investigated On foreign funding to US universities.
zoom in: Germany is a major benchmark. Berlin was once a staunch supporter of close trading ties with China, and thus sought to avoid tensions with Beijing. But it seems that Berlin has now turned a major corner on issues ranging from trade to human rights to direct military engagement in the Indo-Pacific.
- Last week, Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Hebeki Mortgage “No more gullibility” in Germany’s trade with China. Habeck announced that his team is working on a new economic policy to reduce dependence on China in key industries and is closely examining investments coming from China, “We do not allow ourselves to be blackmailed.” can give.”
- German Foreign Ministry also announced It was appointing a special representative for the Pacific countries where China’s expansion has had an impact. Concerned Australia and the United States.
- In late August, Germany joined Practice Pitch Black as a full participant. for first time, the set of military drills Held every other year off the north coast of Australia with air forces from 17 countries including the US, UK, France, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The recent expansion of the practice is inspired questions About its potential role as a countermeasure to China in the region.
- The Global Times, an affiliate of the Chinese Communist Party, reported that some German media warning Countries against joining the “anti-China coalition” in the Indo-Pacific.
Flashback: European countries were largely suspicious of the Trump administration’s acrimonious rhetoric against China.
- In December 2020, the European Union Agreed For an investment agreement with China that ignored concerns about forced labor in China’s economy and strengthened economic ties between the bloc and China. That same year, by contrast, the Trump administration took more than 200 public actions To push back against Beijing and alienate certain sectors of the US and Chinese economies.
- But a major turning point in EU-China relations came in March 2021. The European Union imposed sanctions on some Chinese officials for misbehavior in Xinjiang. Beijing retaliated by approving EU Members of Parliament and others, and in May 2021, the European Parliament voted to freeze investment deal.
Europe-China relations has since fallen.
- of China”rock solid“Support for Russia during the invasion of Ukraine” bitterness The attitude of many Europeans towards Beijing.
- Beijing’s ongoing crackdown on Hong Kong has shocked many people in Europe.
- a United Nations report A warning of “serious human rights violations” and potential “crimes against humanity” in Xinjiang published in late August drew harsh criticism from European leaders.
yes but: Trade ties between Europe and China are still strong, and the EU has stressed that cooperation on climate change with China is important.
What to watch: Taipei is urging the EU to adopt sanctions that would prevent China from invading Taiwan, Reuters reports,
- Meanwhile, China is building economic and security ties in the periphery of Europe. Xi and Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko announced an advanced partnership, and Viktor Orban of Hungary Deep relations with China.