Military Review

A strong China, a weak Europe: a new balance of power in Eurasia

14
The European direction of the PRC’s foreign policy, which in the first decade of this century (especially in the first half of it) was one of the key ones, seems to be losing its former importance today. Ten years ago, China viewed Europe as a springboard for advancing its geopolitical and economic interests, as one of the main directions of the “peaceful rise” of the PRC, and good relations with the EU as a great way to increase its influence in the world. This explains the close attention of the Chinese leadership to the position of European leaders, and the desire to take into account the demands of the Europeans in foreign and sometimes internal (for all disagreements on the observance of human rights) policies.


Reassessing the EU role

By the way, an interesting tradition has already formed in the PRC’s foreign policy, according to which the European direction is not responsible for the head of state, but for the Premier of the State Council (this underlines the importance of the economic, and not the political component of relations). It was Premier Wen Jiabao who, before 2012, represented the Chinese side at bilateral summits of the PRC-EU, and it was he who carried out most of the visits to European countries. This tradition continued after the change of power in Beijing.

The reassessment of the importance of the European direction for the PRC's foreign policy occurred, in my opinion, in 2005 – 2006. It was then that it became obvious that the EU leadership was unable to solve a number of problems in relations with Beijing: first of all, to eliminate the supply embargo weapons in China, introduced back in 1989, in response to the events on Tiananmen Square, and finally recognize China as a market economy country. As a result, Chinese leaders began to react more and more rigidly to the comments of Europeans regarding their domestic policies and to the accusations of trade dumping. In addition, other areas of Chinese diplomacy became important - relations with African countries, with countries of Southeast and Central Asia, new formats of international dialogue appeared - the SCO, the G20, RIC and BRICS, the bilateral dialogue with the USA intensified (even about the notorious "kimerike"). Europe, torn by internal problems, became less and less interesting for China, although it remained the largest (after the USA) trade and economic partner of the PRC in the world. (It should be noted that at about the same time, in the middle of the first decade of this century, the leaders of the Russian Federation switched from Eurocentrism as the basis of Russia's foreign policy to a more balanced position. This fact was openly recognized recently by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his speech on the annexation of the Crimea.)

The economic and financial crisis of 2008 of the year, which affected the EU countries, perhaps more than other countries, contributed to the rapid growth of this trend. As a result, in Beijing there was a cardinal reassessment of the role of the EU and Europeans in the world (despite the fact that the relative share of the EU countries in the total volume of China’s trade and economic cooperation with the rest of the world even increased from 2008). Since 2009, the delegations of the EU and individual European countries have increasingly acted in Beijing as economic aid seekers (without ceasing, however, to lecture the Chinese on human rights and the situation in Xinjiang and Tibet). While China, as a result of the global economic crisis, consolidated its position, it finally turned into the second superpower and began to realize itself in that capacity.

The change in the balance of power is now openly recognized by Chinese experts in the field of international relations. For example, during a meeting with employees of the Institute of Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the AON of China in October last year, the deputy head of the foreign policy department, Mr. Zheng Yu, stated that the significance of relations with the EU countries for China is falling, as the crisis affected them more than the USA. In addition, according to Mr. Zheng Yu, relations with Washington are more important from an economic point of view (after all, Americans are experiencing temporary difficulties, which cannot be said about Europeans). It is not surprising that the volume of economic ties between China and European countries will be reduced, at least in percentage terms. The same position can be traced in a number of scientific publications.

Unexpected visit

However, an unexpected visit by observers XI Jinping to four European countries at the end of March 2014 in the four European countries, as well as to the headquarters of UNESCO and the EU shows that Beijing is still trying to pursue a balanced foreign policy and is seeking to increase the level of contacts in the European direction (possibly temporarily).

The choice of countries that Jinping visited during his European tour is predictable: Germany is China’s main partner in Europe (Germany accounts for a third of Chinese-European trade), France is a traditional partner with which China established diplomatic relations half a century ago (Paris was the first western capital, which recognized communist China), Belgium (where the headquarters of the EU is located), as well as the Netherlands, which has a long history relations with China and the second after Germany bilateral trade. It was especially emphasized that this was the first visit of the PRC Chairman to Germany in 8 years, the first ever visit to the headquarters of the EU and Holland, the first visit to Belgium in 27 years.

Commenting on the results of the Xi Jinping tour, Chinese experts emphasized that in recent years, serious changes have taken place in relations between the PRC and the EU. First of all, we are talking about the transition from trade to mutual investments (albeit, since 2012, the annual volume of Chinese investments in the European economy far exceeds the EU investments in the PRC). The strategic dialogue is also intensifying (according to Chinese experts, the consultations of the PRC and the EU on the development of African, Central Asian and Latin American countries indicate that the European Union is “coming out of the shadow of NATO” and is actively trying to participate in creating the international security system). Political analysts also note China’s desire to attract European countries to its New Silk Road projects (judging by the fact that during his visit to Sochi, Xi Jinping lobbied for Russia to join these projects, it can be considered their main “locomotive”). In addition, the Chinese side expects to start, finally, negotiations on the creation of a joint free trade zone with the EU (so far the Chinese have managed to conclude an agreement on the formation of such a zone only with Switzerland, which is not part of the Union).

According to Chinese commentators, earlier contacts between Beijing and Brussels were at the level of prime ministers, since the head of the European Commission, like the Chinese prime minister, is in charge of trade and economic issues in the first place. However, some experts believe that the working mechanism of China-European relations may change. Although this does not contradict the conclusion made at the beginning of the article that the importance of relations with the EU for China continues to decline.

Chinese boom in Europe

On the other hand, actively using the so-called “soft power”, the Chinese have formed a positive image of the PRC in Europe and laid the foundation for a kind of “Chinese boom”. It seems that the years of culture, student exchanges, numerous seminars, inter-party communications, Confucius institutions, the indirect purchase of experts and specialists in China by inviting them to work and internship in the country (with appropriate financial support) ultimately bore fruit. And now the Chinese commentators are pleased to state that the European countries were swept by the “Chinese wave”, and they are drawing analogies to the 18th century, when Europe was experiencing a boom of enthusiasm for China.
True, the current wave, in their opinion, is more prolonged and saturated. For the reason that at the moment relations between China and Europe are not burdened by heavy historical heritage. In the economic sphere, the parties complement each other, and the PRC remains the second largest trading partner of the EU. Europe, for which the vital economic recovery after the protracted debt crisis, is vital, is counting on further attracting Chinese investment and the influx of tourists from China.

All this contributes to the rise of general interest in the PRC. In mass consciousness, China is no longer shrouded in mystery. It is a symbol of the present. “Made in China” is no longer a stigma that speaks of the low quality of the product; now this inscription can be seen on products created using the latest technologies. Chinese Sanyi corporation has its own production base in Germany, Chinese ships - frequent guests in the ports of Hamburg and Rotterdam, Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and Zhongxing open their offices throughout Europe.

As a result, according to some experts, Europe’s attitude to the Chinese model has changed dramatically: admiration has replaced doubt. And, perhaps, with individual reservations with this statement, we can agree.

The European direction of the PRC’s foreign policy, which in the first decade of this century (especially in the first half of it) was one of the key ones, seems to be losing its former importance today. Ten years ago, China viewed Europe as a springboard for advancing its geopolitical and economic interests, as one of the main directions of the “peaceful rise” of the PRC, and good relations with the EU as a great way to increase its influence in the world. This explains the close attention of the Chinese leadership to the position of European leaders, and the desire to take into account the demands of the Europeans in foreign and sometimes internal (for all disagreements on the observance of human rights) policies.

However, by the end of zero years, Europe, torn by internal problems, became less and less interesting for China, although it remained the largest (after the USA) trade and economic partner of the PRC in the world. The reason for this is the financial crisis of 2008 of the year, which affected the EU countries, perhaps, to a greater extent than other countries. As a result, a fundamental reassessment of the role of the EU and Europeans in the world occurred in Beijing.

New formats and new partners

This is evidenced at least by the fact that Beijing without thinking about Brussels began to actively establish bilateral economic ties with troubled European countries (countries of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe), drawing them into its orbit. And with the beginning of the second decade of this century, he even moved to the formation of the so-called sub-regional cooperation format, creating an independent forum China - the CEE countries with headquarters (or rather, the representations of the participating countries) in Beijing.

As part of this forum, the Prime Minister of China regularly holds meetings with the leadership of all CEE countries, alternately in Beijing, then in the capital of one of the countries in the region. The last summit of China - the countries of CEE was held in the Romanian capital Bucharest in November 2013. The meeting adopted the so-called “Bucharest” program for cooperation between China and the CEE countries. China and Romania agreed to set up an infrastructure development working group. The government of the PRC promised to invest in the construction of a railway between Hungary and Serbia. They discussed joint projects in the field of nuclear energy, thermal and hydropower. In general, the package of proposals put forward by Li Keqian makes it possible to double the volume of bilateral trade within five years.

People in Beijing insist that business contacts with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are a great success for Chinese economic diplomacy, designed to "assist bilateral economic integration, satisfy mutual interests, and promote the transformation and modernization of Chinese industry."

According to Chinese experts, as a result of the European debt crisis, many CEE countries faced a financial deficit, infrastructure backwardness, a decrease in exports, and other problems. While China, thanks to the reforms that have been carried out in the last 30 years, was able to accumulate relatively large capital, seize significant advantages in the field of construction of high-speed railways and roads, as well as in the production of atomic, wind, water and solar energy.

As a result, there was space for bilateral cooperation. CEE countries can solve the development problems they face, and China can export their goods and technologies. The Chinese openly admit that “economic diplomacy” allows promoting the interests of China in Europe. The peculiarity of this diplomacy is that China closely links its activities in the European direction with the situation in key sectors of the economy, for example, in the construction of high-speed railways. At the same time, enterprises and the government manage to act very harmoniously.

We note that cooperation between China and CEE is perceived by both parties precisely as “bilateral” and not multilateral. In other words, China considers the countries of Central and Eastern Europe not as members of the EU, but as a separate structure, their special partner in the European direction. And, I must say, the representatives of these countries with such a position, albeit with reservations, but agree.

trade dispute

The change in the balance of power was most pronounced in 2013 during the conflict over the export of Chinese solar cells to EU countries.

It all started with the fact that in the spring, European Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht announced that the EU intends to impose additional duties on imports of solar panels from China. Moreover, the increase in duties was planned to be quite substantial - in case the agreement could not be reached, the EU should introduce temporary (for two months) duties for solar energy products with 6 June in the amount of 11,8%. And from August 6 to increase them by four times - almost to 50%.

The decision of the European Trade Commission was not supported by a large number of EU countries, among which was the main Chinese partner in Europe - Germany (despite the fact that it was German manufacturers of solar cells that were rumored to initiate an anti-dumping investigation against China). It should be noted that the situation when leading countries at the government level do not support the decision of nominally higher European bodies becomes common practice in the EU.

In response, State Council Premier Li Keqiang, during his first trip to Europe as Prime Minister from EU member states, limited himself to Germany, while Wen Jiabao usually visited three or four countries plus Brussels. In addition to Germany, Li Keqiang also visited Switzerland, which is not a member of the European Union and recently signed an agreement with China on the creation of a free trade zone.

Despite the mediation efforts of Germany, the European Commission nevertheless introduced temporary duties from June 6, to which the Chinese side responded with extremely harsh comments. And after that, she threatened to take retaliatory measures to limit the import of luxury European-made cars to China. Note that the PRC is (along with the Russian Federation and the United Arab Emirates) the main buyer of such machines.

However, Beijing soon refused this measure (I think it happened under pressure from partners from the Federal Republic of Germany, because it was German firms that mainly produce luxury cars). On the other hand, he began a response antidumping and antidote investigation in respect of wines imported from Europe. And this move proved to be more effective, since the restrictions on the import of wines were supposed to affect just those countries (France and Italy) that supported the decision of the European Commission.

As a result of negotiations, which lasted almost the whole summer, the parties made mutual concessions. The EU canceled the duties, China agreed to set the price at 56 eurocentes per watt (the Europeans demanded to double it from 40 to 80 eurocents) and import solar modules with a total capacity of no more than 7 GW per year.

It seems that starting the next anti-dumping investigation (the right to which the EU structures retain, since they still do not recognize China as a market economy country), the European leadership did not understand the situation too much and seriously overestimated its strength. During the conflict, it turned out that imports from China already occupy about 70% of the solar cell market in Europe and make up about 90% of their total imports (the European market, due to environmental preferences, is today one of the main markets for solar cells). In addition, Beijing found its counterparts, which turned out to be very effective.

It is also worth noting the ability of the Chinese side to react flexibly and learn on the go (a quick transition from pressure on Germany, which already opposed anti-Chinese sanctions, to pressure on France, which was, as it turned out, their initiator). In general, it can be stated that as a result of the conflict, Beijing made insignificant concessions, retaining the European market for solar batteries in full.

The EU’s attempts to force Chinese airlines to pay additional duties for excessive emissions to the atmosphere ended in the same way (the Chinese authorities simply recommended their companies not to pay these duties).

The crisis in Ukraine

As for the crisis in Ukraine, which split Europe into two camps, the PRC leadership managed to “get up above the fight” here, taking the neutral position of an arbitrator calling on the parties involved in the conflict to keep “within the rules”. This was facilitated, in our opinion, by the fact that China is ready to sacrifice part of its economic dividends (and he managed to conclude large contracts with the former Kiev authorities, including those relating to Crimea) for the sake of long-term strategic interests. In addition, the economic power of Beijing allows him to be confident that any power, after normalizing the political situation in the country, will continue to cooperate with the PRC and take care of Chinese interests in Ukraine.

In this connection, it should be noted that during Xi Jinping’s visit to Europe, which took place just at the time of the extreme aggravation of the crisis, the Chinese side managed to almost completely avoid discussing events in Ukraine, limiting itself to calls for “resolving the conflict by peaceful means.” At the same time, both Russia and the EU representatives had the impression that the leadership of the PRC supports precisely their position.
Author:
Originator:
http://www.odnako.org/blogs/silniy-kitay-slabaya-evropa-o-novom-sootnoshenii-sil-v-evrazii-chast-ii/
14 comments
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  1. serega.fedotov
    serega.fedotov 20 May 2014 18: 36
    +5
    China has always defended its interests - that’s the result!
    I want to express my respect to the Chinese hackers, who again accused the United States of espionage! Thank you for the struggle for peace and security, all over the world!
    1. Interface
      Interface 20 May 2014 18: 43
      +5
      Hackers are military intelligence, what does the world have to do with it, kid? Or did they become "heroes" only because they screwed up the Americans? So if need be, they and we will write secrets. Che is there to praise them?
      1. serega.fedotov
        serega.fedotov 20 May 2014 19: 03
        +2
        Quote: Interface
        Hackers are military intelligence, what does the world have to do with it, kid? Or did they become "heroes" only because they screwed up the Americans? So if need be, they and we will write secrets. Che is there to praise them?

        I praise them that they now have to explain to us what their land is, but not to others! And this concerns the old slogan.
        And about the fact that they can get on to us, I’m sure they have already climbed up and are inseparable, and we are also inundated with them! Only this is happening quietly. And the USA has completely lost its shores, and similar DEMONSTRATIVE actions of China put the United States in the true light!
      2. andy.v.lee
        andy.v.lee 20 May 2014 22: 28
        0
        Hackers do not conduct military intelligence. They only extract or utilize scraps of information (there are exceptions), but they are already processed by other people, who are much more dangerous for society, if we look from the point of view of it.
        It’s not possible to pry the Americans out until something special happens somewhere in Calafushington.
        There are no special secrets in technology now! And in electronics too! P ---- q almost nothing.
    2. Blondy
      Blondy 20 May 2014 18: 55
      +1
      And for our stolen secrets, who will say thanks - John Smith from the state of Okhlokom?
      1. 11111mail.ru
        11111mail.ru 20 May 2014 19: 59
        +2
        Quote: Blondy
        from Ohlоcoma?

        OffАHoma (English Oklahoma). Are the keys on the keyboard not located nearby?
    3. Siberian German
      Siberian German 20 May 2014 20: 44
      0
      Well, my friend, Chinese hackers are fighting for their country and the world has nothing to do with it, but as they say you want peace for your country, prepare it for war
  2. andrei332809
    andrei332809 20 May 2014 18: 37
    +6
    something it seems to me that Europe is no more. so, interest circles, and often nasty, contrary to morality
    1. nikrandel
      nikrandel 20 May 2014 20: 32
      0
      Europe is an American protectorate; it lost its sovereignty when the EU was formed.
  3. DanSabaka
    DanSabaka 20 May 2014 18: 38
    +12
    The Chinese are not friends to us, but allies ... temporary ... as long as there is a coincidence of interests ....
    1. Blondy
      Blondy 20 May 2014 18: 57
      +1
      About twenty years we can and allied. Then it will be hard.
      1. DanSabaka
        DanSabaka 20 May 2014 19: 07
        +3
        Well, that's how it should be, these 20 years to live so that the Chinese would not want to become our "NOT allies" .... we must use this time effectively ...
      2. jktu66
        jktu66 20 May 2014 19: 16
        +1
        About twenty years we can and allied. Then it will be hard.
        At least 10 ... Russia would be able to get stronger as it should.
      3. The comment was deleted.
      4. Stalker
        Stalker 20 May 2014 19: 34
        +1
        Then it will be hard.

        ... it will become difficult for them ... Information will not be shared, but will be given out for modernization ....
  4. Interface
    Interface 20 May 2014 18: 41
    +1
    But it annoys me that now everywhere Chinese investors spit. Even the Chinese will now finance the subway. There will be factories of Chinese companies near Moscow, but there are no yellowfoot doha.
    1. witch
      witch 20 May 2014 22: 41
      0
      on the contrary, it’s good that all countries are climbing something to finance with us. In the case of any kipish, I made nationalization too. And we have finished plants and other things at someone else’s expense. there are a lot of them in Russia in a tuned way. and they understand that they will lose everything
      1. Interface
        Interface 20 May 2014 23: 26
        0
        And who is the owner? Half the Chinese? Wow, how we waved, and we still want to raise our industry.
  5. fvandaku
    fvandaku 20 May 2014 18: 45
    +3
    China has no friends - China has only economic interests.
    1. asar
      asar 20 May 2014 18: 52
      +4
      This applies not only to China! Nobody has "friends"! If interests coincide, then - allies! Nobody says that friendship is forever! Just, let's hope that the relationship will last for years to come!
  6. Vitaly Anisimov
    Vitaly Anisimov 20 May 2014 18: 46
    +2
    China so far supports Russia in the Syrian crisis and especially with Ukraine (of course, I doubt that sincerely and yet ..) Conclusion: so we are allies so far and we need to use this to the fullest ... And then we'll see ..!
  7. mig31
    mig31 20 May 2014 18: 51
    0
    I can’t imagine, after the collapse of the EU, how the princes with the empty treasury will behave ... another chaos?
  8. The comment was deleted.
  9. Vitaly Anisimov
    Vitaly Anisimov 20 May 2014 19: 00
    0
    I think this is a promising cooperation .. in comparison with what is happening now in the world .. Well, God forbid ..!
  10. Grbear
    Grbear 20 May 2014 19: 00
    +1
    Liberal nonsense
    ... that China is ready to sacrifice part of its economic dividends (and it managed to conclude major contracts with the former Kiev authorities, including those relating to Crimea) for long-term strategic interests.

    China is well aware that all agreements concluded are based on corruption of the Ukrainian authorities, and any sane politician understands the fragility of these agreements. There are no casualties. Just today did not give a lift. They will continue to work. And to us, bye, along the way.
  11. Nevsky_ZU
    Nevsky_ZU 20 May 2014 19: 03
    0
    Why not signed a contract during a visit to gas? (((
    1. pensioner
      pensioner 20 May 2014 22: 00
      0
      Today, at RBC, they had direct fun about this. Like: Putin’s grenade from China on you. It was not hell to climb to Ukraine!
      A contract will be signed. The Chinese seem to themselves offer loans for the construction of gas pipelines in their direction.
  12. Free wind
    Free wind 20 May 2014 19: 06
    +1
    The article is very good !!! That China never abides by the agreements. and tries that the yellow-faced spit on all contracts. It may come to some that you can’t have business with the Chinese.
    1. Vitaly Anisimov
      Vitaly Anisimov 20 May 2014 19: 35
      +2
      Quote: Free Wind
      The article is very good !!! That China never abides by the agreements. and tries that the yellow-faced spit on all contracts. It may come to some that you can’t have business with the Chinese.

      And with whom to do business? With the EU-USA-Israel ....)))
  13. Silkway0026
    Silkway0026 20 May 2014 19: 08
    +5
    Everything has its own time, we must, we will kiss the Chinese ... the time will come - we will pull them. Life does not stand still.
    1. Vitaly Anisimov
      Vitaly Anisimov 20 May 2014 19: 46
      +2
      Quote: Silkway0026
      Everything has its own time, we must, we will kiss the Chinese ... the time will come - we will pull them. Life does not stand still.

      They wrote to the point! while it’s too early to wave sabers .. China is waiting for it right .. (while we supply Ukraine with gas for free and they spit on us together with the EU) And China seems to support us and we give them gas as a geyevrope ..
    2. The comment was deleted.
    3. 11111mail.ru
      11111mail.ru 20 May 2014 20: 04
      +1
      Quote: Silkway0026
      it is necessary, will kiss with the Chinese ...

      Geyropa, yes! We never! Only with Chinese women!
  14. jktu66
    jktu66 20 May 2014 19: 13
    -1
    Conclusion: it means that we are allies so far and we need to use this to the fullest ... And then we'll see ..!
    My comment on the "allied" relations between the Russian Federation and China, that it is not an ally but a fellow traveler on some issues, and possibly a probable enemy, got 14 "+" and 4 "-". "Chinese lobby" in VO was 30% smile
  15. The comment was deleted.
    1. andy.v.lee
      andy.v.lee 20 May 2014 23: 12
      0
      An example before my eyes - I’m not afraid to say - Ukraine is the future of the Russian Federation! Only it will be a little different. There is a hunch, all this is bad!
  16. Ivan 63
    Ivan 63 20 May 2014 19: 26
    0
    stop hoping for a benevolent west, it's time to understand the viciousness of these ideas, on the contrary, there is only a tough Russian policy, there is no other way.
  17. Giant thought
    Giant thought 20 May 2014 19: 34
    +1
    The Chinese have always been on their minds, so they will remain. Given their mentality, we need to build relations with China.
  18. siberalt
    siberalt 20 May 2014 20: 09
    0
    China is a different civilization altogether. And they deeply spit on our interests. But they will have their own from "friendship" for sure. They still remember the common (pre-Christian) calendar with ours from the creation of the World in the Temple of the Lord with the Russian George the Victorious.
  19. jovanni
    jovanni 20 May 2014 20: 23
    0
    The Chinese people are very pragmatic. You should not hope that they will support us to some extent at the expense of themselves. But it’s worth learning from them. Diligence, perseverance in defending their interests.
  20. Kulneff2009
    Kulneff2009 20 May 2014 20: 56
    +1
    Quote: fvandaku
    China has no friends - China has only economic interests.

    That's right! Based on this, we need to build relationships with them. But I do not think that the GDP does not understand this.
  21. sv68
    sv68 20 May 2014 21: 11
    0
    what kind of boobies do you have of the king of heaven, China’s ally? Two months ago, a cousin talked with a Chinese businessman, rarely but sometimes the tipsy Chinese become honest. It is strong in all aspects, both in the military sense, and in polytechnics and economics. Then China and Russia will have large territorial and other claims to decide which China will also use force. By the way, its territorial claims to some of its neighbors ah predyavlyat will start very soon and will need to solve the problem in favor of kitaya.eto will be a trial of strength may have with the application armii.zhdu thousand cons
  22. andy.v.lee
    andy.v.lee 20 May 2014 23: 16
    0
    I would call the article "China, weak Europe, exhausted Russia"!
  23. komel
    komel 20 May 2014 23: 55
    0
    CNN: Putin desperately needs a gas deal, and Beijing knows that.



    Beijing also knows that Putin leaving without a gas contract could lose more than he could win. In my opinion, the agreement is not only economic, but also political, because the Chinese government is ready to cancel import duties on gas from the Russian Federation. Russia proposes to reset the severance tax for gas suppliers to China. For the zone of responsibility in the global game, this contract will bring an expansion of the zone of influence for China itself.
  24. Semenov
    Semenov 21 May 2014 02: 48
    0
    Friendship with China is a further khan to the dollar and the main hegemon.
  25. Egen
    Egen 21 May 2014 08: 32
    0
    In general, the result - China is slowly picking up the whole world for itself :)