Rescheduled summit cancelled . . .
Last week, the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the EU-China Summit, scheduled for September 14 in Leipzig, would be postponed “in the light of the overall pandemic situation.” This would have been the first summit of leaders of all 27 EU member states and Chinese President Xi Jinping since April 2019. As many EU countries are reopening their economies, some pundits have questioned whether the pandemic was really the primary cause of the cancellation. It may, instead, be indicative of disagreements among EU members on dealing with Chinese policies towards Hong Kong and European investments, as well as concerns over the rising geopolitical rivalry between China and the United States.
European foreign ministers prefer dialogue and trade . . .
Following Beijing’s announcement of a national security law for Hong Kong, European foreign ministers convened on May 29. They agreed not to take any serious action against China, a major trading partner, and to avoid getting entangled in the escalating competition between Beijing and Washington. But they did agree to pressure Beijing to enforce the 2019 agreement on reciprocity of market access and equal treatment for European companies. Yesterday, this point was reiterated in Merkel’s video conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. To increase the pressure, the European Commission is planning to introduce new guidelines for EU governments designed to limit China’s ability to compete for public funding in Europe.
NATO sees China as multidimensional threat... . . .
Meanwhile, European security experts have identified China as a major threat, posing security challenges in the areas of space, maritime issues, the Arctic, Africa, and cyberspace, including critical infrastructures such as 5G networks in Europe. This position is reflected in NATO’s forward-looking 2030 strategy initiative, which was released last week. As argued by NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the 2030 initiative, NATO needs to increase its global outreach to contain China by working closely with like-minded partners in the Asia Pacific. Canada, as a NATO member with vested economic interests in the region, will have to consider re-aligning its security interests with like-minded nations such as Australia, Japan, and South Korea.
- Deutsche Welle: EU-China summit: What really happened?
- European Union: EU-China Strategic Dialogue
- Financial Times: NATO Chief urges nations to stand up to ‘bullying’ as China power rises