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The Silk Road of Europe. To Beijing - to be friends against Trump

The Silk Road of Europe. To Beijing - to be friends against Trump

July 12 2018
Tags: China, EU, West, Europe, Politics, USA, United Kingdom, History, Analytics, Economics, International Relations, Trade

In Beijing 16 July the China-EU summit begins. In a sense, it can become a "moment of truth" for the PRC and its European partners in their readiness to strengthen a united front in opposing US measures.

Celestial over the past two centuries has suffered a lot from European countries, especially from England, France and Germany. In a long list of historical insults - First and Second opium wars, including looting and burning by the Anglo-French troops of the imperial palace of Yuanmingyuan in the nearest suburb of Beijing. Then, by the way, British and French soldiers broke and parted off the clip-clip - water clock with bronze heads of animals of the Chinese duodecimal cycle. These heads China now one by one buys at all possible auctions. Alas, the fountain can not be restored, like the entire architectural complex lying in ruins.

In the same list - the brutality and violence of Europeans in suppressing the uprising of theirs ("boxers") at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Germany's attempt to assign the Shandong peninsula. The experience of relations with the generalized West of the People's Republic of China also, frankly, did not abound with examples of friendly ties, at least before the beginning of the Chinese policy of reform and openness. The events in Tiananmen Square in 1989 again threw back the confidence building that was emerging on the wave of transformations. Although Great Britain returned the Hong Kong sovereignty to Chinese sovereignty, there were no special friendly relations between London and Beijing in this regard. Trade and economic relations were much better, although here and there there were sometimes disputes and mutual accusations.

On a horse

Visitors to Beijing have recently been attracted by visitors from the Old World. At the very beginning of the year, French President Emmanuel Macron arrived to strengthen the relationship of a comprehensive strategic partnership. The two sides signed two dozen agreements on cooperation in the fields of economy, ecology, nuclear energy, space, advanced technologies, agriculture, culture, personnel exchange. A separate topic of the visit was the discussion of measures that "will allow strengthening the tendencies of the formation of a multipolar world, will ensure global integration processes."

Somewhat concerned about the separatist spurt of its closest neighbors, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hastened to state at the same time that the EU should negotiate on cooperation with China "a single bloc"

Trying to strengthen personal relationships, Macron gave Xi Jinping a thoroughbred horse, which gave rise to a lot of speculation - what would this diplomatic gift mean? A hint of the first syllable in the Chinese spelling Macron's name - "Ma" ("horse" in Chinese)? Or the proposal to speed up the promotion of friendly contacts, since the Chinese idiomatic expression "mashan" - "on horseback" means "fast", "this minute".

The month of January did not finish yet, as Teresa Mei flew to China for talks with Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Li Keqiang with an even larger delegation of businessmen. Again, in addition to the weighty business deals, there were speeches about adherence to the freedom of trade, its global character. The Chinese prime minister immediately assured the British guest that Brexit would not damage bilateral commerce. And yet, Chinese journalists told, in China her name is "Auntie May".

Somewhat concerned about the separatist spurt of its closest neighbors, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hastened to state at the same time that the EU should negotiate a cooperation with China with a "single bloc".

"We spoke about strategic partnership with China and should take a unified position with regard to cooperation with it," Merkel said after talks with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

All against one

The other day, Li Keqiang went to Bulgaria and Germany. First, the Chinese Premier held a dialogue with the leaders of Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, Montenegro and the Czech Republic, agreeing with them to develop trade and economic relations in format "16 + 1" (China + states of Eastern and Central Europe).

After that, the head of the Chinese government flew to Berlin, where, after negotiations with Merkel, it was stated that Germany and China intend to adhere to the rules and regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in trade matters. And it was Frau Chancellor who said this.

It is easy to see that in all cases, the speeches of the leaders were very frankly directed against US President Donald Trump, who is launching a trade war with China and sharply criticizing the WTO.

Merkel, by the way, tried to use the rostrum of the Sino-German summit to speak out about the EU's disagreements with the United States, up to the hidden threats.

"We are ready to talk with the US, we must try to reach an agreement, otherwise we will have to act, as we did in the steel and aluminum industry," she said, hinting at the possibility of anti-American measures. And she immediately stressed that Europe is concerned about a possible trade war between Washington and Beijing. "The consequences in the event of imposing duties between the US and China will be felt by all partners, including German companies," the chancellor added.

Compensations

Beijing seeks to build a new partnership with the EU to compensate, as far as possible, losses from the introduction of US customs and other barriers to the Chinese goods. For example, China and Germany have expressed their intention to increase cooperation in technology and investment, while Washington, by contrast, introduces measures to limit technological cooperation and investment in Chinese technology companies under the pretext of "stealing" American partners the American know-how.

However, Li Keqiang, just in case, promised Merkel that China will make "even greater efforts" to ensure the protection of intellectual property rights. And technological cooperation with German companies can be very profitable. For example, Li Keqiang talked about the interest of the Chinese side in cooperation with Germany in the markets of third countries, in enhancing mutual openness.

"We should use favorable opportunities for cooperation in the field of smart production, unmanned vehicles, automotive with the use of new energy sources," he said in Berlin. The main result was the readiness expressed by the parties to develop free trade and to fight protectionism, which is now most of all worried by the Chinese government.

Chinese dream

The building of business, and partly of political partnership with the EU for China is very important. These are steps towards building Big Eurasia, as it is seen in Beijing, with modern transport facilities for the delivery of Chinese goods to the countries of the continent, for the counter flow of technological innovations from Europe.

Even Washington's most loyal allies have their own shirt closer to the body, and this round of fighting the Chinese dragon Trump can lose by pushing Beijing to more active movements in the vast expanses of Eurasia

This expansion and deepening of markets, and here Beijing is ready to make reciprocal concessions to European partners, allowing them to the Chinese markets for services, insurance, lending. Will leave the US American Boeing - will come the European Airbus, which is always ready to press, and even oust the overseas competitor. Although the US has its own countermeasures - to press Europeans under the pretext of technology transfer. It would be a desire - not this, so there is another pretext.

The countries of Central and Eastern Europe very much want to expand their trade presence in the Chinese market, and some of them succeed. In the Peking shops, Baltic sprats and beer are sold, Polish meat and dairy products are seen, Czech Skoda Octavia drives through the streets. In general, even Washington's most loyal allies have their own shirt closer to the body, and this round of struggle with the Chinese dragon Trump can lose by pushing Beijing to more active movements in the expanses of Eurasia. Especially since the response from the EU is quite visible.

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