Threatened by Trump, Germany & France Look to China, with High Hope & Serious Caution

The Resistance Reports

March 7, 2017

It is very difficult to comprehend, that Western Europe, a cornerstone of the Free World, have often describe America’s President, Trump as a threat to Europe, because of Trump’s extreme far right views and relation to Putin.

For that reasons, meaning a need to counter-balance Trump destructive tendencies and other such as trade and economics, Europe have been forger closer relations to China. The Trans Atlantic Relationship between America and Europe, indeed, looks shakier by the day. And the Europe Trans Pacific, is looking stronger by the day.

Economic wise, China, as one of the planet’s largest economy with a massive population and growing at about 7% a year, on top of being a major staging country in Asia Pacific and beyond, clearly is a benefit to EU’s economics and business interest. And EU China ties have been expanding, from economic and business to include closer diplomatic ties.

But while there is benefit to a closer Europe and China ties, there is also threat. For example, Germany’s ambassador to China expresses concern at Beijing’s growing influence in Europe. Germany is concerned about the growing influence of China in eastern and southern Europe, German ambassador to China Michael Clauss said in an interview.

Southern Europe is the southern region of the European continent. Most definitions of Southern Europe, also known as Mediterranean Europe, include the countries of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal), the Italian peninsula, Southern France, Greece and Malta.[1] Other definitions sometimes include the Balkan countries of Southeast Europe, which are geographically technically in the southern part of Europe, but which have different historical, political, economic, and cultural backgrounds that commonly places them in the category of Eastern Europe. Geographic features of Southern European countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. European sub-regions according to EuroVoc (the thesaurus of the European Union). Southern Europe is marked yellow on this map. Different methods can be used to define Southern Europe, including its political, economic, and cultural attributes. Southern Europe can also be defined by its natural features — its geography, climate, and flora.

Eastern Europe, also known as East Europe, is the eastern part of the European continent. There is no consensus on the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic connotations. There are “almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region”.[1] A related United Nations paper adds that “every assessment of spatial identities is essentially a social and cultural construct“.[2] One definition describes Eastern Europe as a cultural (and econo-cultural) entity: the region lying in Europe with main characteristics consisting in Byzantine, Orthodox, and some Turco-Islamic influences.[2][3] Another definition was created during the Cold War and used more or less synonymously with the term Eastern Bloc. A similar definition names the formerly communist European states outside the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe.[3] Historians and social scientists generally view such definitions as outdated or relegating,[4][5][6][7][8] but they are still sometimes used for statistical purposes.[9][10][11]

“In our view, setting up parallel networks such as China and eastern Europe or China and southern Europe are somewhat inconsistent with a commitment to a coherent and strong EU,” Clauss said this week. It is rare for Germany to publicly express uneasiness about China’s growing presence in southern and eastern Europe.

China has held five summits with 16 central and eastern European countries so far, and last year Beijing won a deal to build a high-speed railway from Belgrade to Budapest, which would be financed by a China policy bank and built by a state railway construction company.

Election in EU complicates the situation:

But China-France expert Alice Ekman says that, beyond diplomatic and economic ties, China is particularly interested in this year’s French presidential election and will use Cazeneuve’s visit to gather information:

“China is following very closely the presidential election campaign in France,” says Ekman, who is head of China research at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri). “Chinese delegation have already visited, formally or informally, to try to follow the latest developments, including the results of primary elections, popular expectations and the potential chance of this or that candidate to win.”

Beijing has expressed no preference for any presidential candidate.

“This is a different approach from Russia,” Ekman comments. “But clearly the result of the election is very important for China, given the weight of France in key international institutions, given the importance for China-France economic relations, and the weight of France in the EU as a whole.”

Yet Trump is a threat, for example the following links:

Trump Threatens Europe’s Stability, a Top Leader Warns – The New …

European Leaders Are Now Describing Trump as a Threat – The Atlantic

European Union president trashes Trump as ‘threat’ – CNNPolitics.com

Europe’s threat list includes jihadists, Russia — and Donald Trump …

EU’s Donald Tusk sees Trump as threat to Europe – BBC News

EU’s Tusk calls on Europe to rally against Trump threat | Reuters

EU’s Donald Tusk sees Trump as threat to Europe – BBC News

But while Germany talks of threat, France is more focus on trade and economics, and sees China as helping alleviate Trump’s protectionist economic policies. President Xi Jinping, and has joined European leaders in defending free trade.

And the French PM, while in recent weeks had very strong words against Trump meddling into the internal politics of EU, meaning to break up EU, the French PM has visited China in recent days.

French PM Cazeneuve visits China

as Trump’s protectionism worries Beijingh (source)

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was to start a three-day visit to China on Monday as France head for a presidential election and Beijing takes stock of Donald Trump’s victory in the US.

China had been making overtures to France and the European Union even before Trump angered Beijing by appearing to question the United States’ One China policy.

Trump’s protectionist economic policies also worry Beijing and President Xi Jinping has joined European leaders in defending free trade.

The US and the European Union are China’s two main trading partners.

French presidential election

But China-France expert Alice Ekman says that, beyond diplomatic and economic ties, China is particularly interested in this year’s French presidential election and will use Cazeneuve’s visit to gather information:

“China is following very closely the presidential election campaign in France,” says Ekman, who is head of China research at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri). “Chinese delegation have already visited, formally or informally, to try to follow the latest developments, including the results of primary elections, popular expectations and the potential chance of this or that candidate to win.”

Beijing has expressed no preference for any presidential candidate.

“This is a different approach from Russia,” Ekman comments. “But clearly the result of the election is very important for China, given the weight of France in key international institutions, given the importance for China-France economic relations, and the weight of France in the EU as a whole.”

Nuclear power and cars

Cazeneuve was to meet Xi on Wednesday, having met his number two Li Keqiang on Tuesday.

With two power stations built by France’s EDF and its Chinese partner CGN and operated by France’s Areva due to start work at the end of the year, nuclear power will be discussed.

Cazeneuve will also visit Wuhan in central China, an industrial city where French carmakers PSA and Renault have factories.

Berlin uneasy about Beijing’s growing clout in eastern, southern Europe

Germany’s ambassador to China expresses concern

at Beijing’s growing influence in Europe (source)

Germany is concerned about the growing influence of China in eastern and southern Europe, German ambassador to China Michael Clauss said in an exclusive interview.

“In our view, setting up parallel networks such as China and eastern Europe or China and southern Europe are somewhat inconsistent with a commitment to a coherent and strong EU,” Clauss said this week.

It is rare for Germany to publicly express uneasiness about China’s growing presence in southern and eastern Europe.

China has held five summits with 16 central and eastern European countries so far, and last year Beijing won a deal to build a high-speed railway from Belgrade to Budapest, which would be financed by a China policy bank and built by a state railway construction company.

The 16 countries in the group are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

All except Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are also members of the 28-member European Union, in which Germany plays a major role.

Summits of leaders from China and the 16 countries started in 2012, and economic cooperation among them is gathering steam. In 2015, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang invited state leaders from the 16 countries to ride on a high-speed train from Suzhou to Shanghai to experience China’s bullet train technology.

China is looking at further economic cooperation with the 16 countries to promote its “One Belt, One Road” initiative, a key pillar in Beijing’s economic diplomacy that is entering its fourth year. Chinese President Xi Jinping said in 2015 that he expected the “1+16” cooperation would connect with belt and road projects. Beijing has inked memorandums of cooperation on such projects with seven of the 16 countries.

China puts links with central and eastern Europe on the fast track

China is also pushing maritime developments working closely with southern European countries including Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta, as part of its “21st- century maritime silk road”, one half of the belt and road plan.

Clauss, the German ambassador, said China’s belt and road initiative could link Asia and Europe more closely and potentially help economic growth and political stability, but China should take into account the voices of its peers to increase the attractiveness of the projects to potential partners.

He added that China exerting pressure on smaller countries to adhere by its political agenda has raised concerns.

“In order to succeed, OBOR needs true co-ownership by all participants, everyone should be able to help shape the initiative on the basis of equality,” he said, using the acronym for the belt and road plan.

Germany urges China to give fair foreign access to its car market

“Not just with OBOR, smaller countries observe closely how China is wielding its great economic clout and whether it is trying to exert political pressure. They notice how countries like Singapore, Mongolia, South Korea or Norway are being treated.

“The experience of Germany and the EU has been that we achieve positive results with a model based more on rules and trust,” Clauss said.

In a keynote speech at the plenary session of the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Germany, which officially opened on Friday afternoon, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the world needed to firmly advance all types of regional cooperation as this had proved effective for promoting global development.

China has been pressing Singapore to side with Beijing over disputed territories and water in the South China Sea, while also urging Singapore to cut its military ties with Taiwan, and held Singaporean armed vehicles in Hong Kong. Beijing blasted Mongolia over allowing a visit by the Dalai Lama last year and pressed Ulan Bator to promise it would not invite the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader again. China has also suspended some trade and exchanges with South Korea to show its anger over Seoul’s decision to install a US-operated anti-missile system, and Beijing gave the cold shoulder to Norway for years after the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was given to Liu Xiaobo, a pro-democracy intellectual jailed by China.

Germany trembles as Chinese march into its industrial turf

China is seeking a bigger voice on the international stage and Beijing plans to hold a two-day summit on the belt and road initiative in May. Summit organisers plan to invite the heads of the countries involved with the initiative, including European countries. Russia President Vladimir Putin has already agreed to attend.

At the same time, questions remain whether China’s state-led initiative, based on investment and trade, would be effective in winning trust from other countries.

“Once massive business activities are led by a government, other countries would first consider security issues and what possible challenges there are for their society and politics,” Zhu Feng, director of the Institute of International Studies at Nanjing University, said at a forum in Beijing this week.

Why foreign companies are shutting shop in China

Clauss said there remained a lack of a level playing field for foreign companies in China.

“Rising protectionism in China is a major concern for foreign companies,” he said. “They worry that ‘Made in China 2025’ – basically a set of targets for domestic companies’ market share in key manufacturing sectors – will push them out of the market.”

In global trade, meanwhile, China and Germany shared many common interests in keeping a global trade system with the World Trade Organisation at its core, a strong EU, support for the UN and a shared G20 agenda, and the two countries needed to work more closely after Donald Trump became US president, the ambassador said.

“In the light of recent developments, which could undermine globalisation, Germany and China both have an interest in the speedy conclusion of an EU-China bilateral investment treaty. Real progress on market access would pave the way for an EU-China free trade agreement,” he said.

“President Xi gave an important speech on free trade in Davos (at the World Economic Forum), now we expect China to walk the talk. Recently we have noticed more readiness by China to find pragmatic solutions for specific complaints from our companies.”

He also said China and Germany could jointly help promote global political stability. He said both cooperate in Afghanistan to increase its disaster relief capabilities and developing a professional training system in Afghanistan’s mining industry, and he saw possible chances to also cooperate in Africa.

The following are some links to news

New strategy for the European Union’s relations with China …

The European Union and China’s relationship enters a new phase

China, Germany have close trade and investment relationship

 

China and the EU — EUbusiness.com | EU news, business and politics

 [PDF]China-Europe Relations – Amazon Web Services

US-China relationship marginalises Europe – Telegraph

China-EU relations

China–European Union relations – Wikipedia

European businesses criticize unfair China-EU relationship | News …

Cracks start to show in Germany-China trade relations – The Irish Times

EU-China relations – EurActiv.com

China-Europe – Xinhua – China-EuropePolitics, Trade, Exchanges …

ould Brexit mean a new UK-China relationship? – BBC News

 [PDF]Europe and China’s New Silk Roads – Egmont Institute

A narrative future for Europe–China economic relations after the …

Summit to address issues in China-Europe economic relations – CCTV …

The European Union And China On The New Silk Roads | The …

U.S.-China Relations: Dates to Watch in 2017 – WSJ

Activities & News of the Centre | College of Europe

Europe and China’s New Silk Roads | Clingendael

Cooperation between Central and Eastern European Countries and …

What the future holds for the EU – China relations? – The European Sting

 

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