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"EU-China-Beziehungen in Post-Corona-Zeiten" - eine Online-Diskussionsreihe


Aufgrund des Erfolgs der Ringvorlesung zum Thema EU-China-Beziehungen im vergangenen SS 20, haben wir beschlossen, eine weitere Serie zu einem möglichst relevanten China-Thema zu konzipieren: "EU-China-Beziehungen in Post-Corona-Zeiten". Die Veranstaltungen finden online (live via Zoom®) in englischer Sprache statt, wobei das Publikum anschließend die Möglichkeit hat, Fragen zu stellen. Eine kurze Zusammenfassung der Diskussionen wird nach den Veranstaltungen auf unserer Chinakompetenz-Webseite (www.chinakompetenz.berlin) veröffentlicht.

Dieses Mal organisierten wir Diskussionen zwischen zwei Expert*innen, da der Schwerpunkt auf den Spannungsfeldern in den EU-China-Beziehungen liegt. Gern möchten wir dazu auch die chinesische Perspektive hören.

Der Zeitplan für die Reihe ist wie folgt:

Decoupling and changes in geopolitics: Eberhard Sandschneider + FENG Zhongping (20 Nov. 2020, 10:00)

Decoupling and changes in geoeconomics: Doris Fischer + LI Yuan (4 Dec. 2020, 9:30)

Covid and innovation foci: Philipp Böing + HAN Zheng (18 Dec. 2020, 10:00)

Decoupling in information systems? Rebecca Arcesati + TAN Youzhi (8 Jan. 2021, 10:00)

A decline in Chinese investment into Europe? Margot Schüller + CAI Zhengxin (22 Jan. 2021, 10:00)

Trends in Chinese and European political elites: Nana de Graaff + ZHA Daojiong (5 Feb. 2021, 10:00)

Ihre Anmeldung zur Veranstaltungsreihe senden Sie bitte per E-Mail an: . Sie erhalten einen Zoom-Link, der es Ihnen ermöglicht, an den sechs Diskussionen teilzunehmen.

Wir freuen uns auf Sie!

Das Chinakompetenz-Team am CCST der TU Berlin


-English Version-


“EU-China Relations in Post-Corona Times” – an online discussion series

Due to the success of the EU-China lecture series (Ringvorlesung) in the previous semester, the China Center of Technische Universität Berlin has decided to organize a new “season” on the most relevant topic possible: “EU-China Relations in Post-Corona Times”. The events will happen online (live via Zoom), with the audience having the chance to ask questions afterwards. A short summary of the discussions will be posted later on our chinacompetence-website: www.chinakompetenz.berlin

This time, we are organizing a discussion between two experts on each topic. The focus is on the tension fields, therefore we had the idea to invite two speakers instead of one.

The schedule for the series is:

Decoupling and changes in geopolitics: Eberhard Sandschneider + Feng Zhongping (20 Nov. 2020, 10:00)

Decoupling and changes in geoeconomics: Doris Fischer + Li Yuan (4 Dec. 2020, 9:30)

Covid and innovation foci: Philipp Böing + Han Zheng (18 Dec. 2020, 10:00)

Decoupling in information systems? Rebecca Arcesati + TAN Youzhi (8 Jan. 2021, 10:00)

A decline in Chinese investment into Europe? Margot Schüller + CAI Zhengxin (22 Jan. 2021, 10:00)

Trends in Chinese and European political elites: Nana de Graaff + ZHA Daojiong (5 Feb. 2021, 10:00)

As registration for the event series, please send an email to . You will receive a Zoom link that will enable you to join the six discussions.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

The Chinakompetenz-Team of CCST at TU Berlin





Opening statements for Discussion 5: "Trends in Chinese investments in Europe"

Margot Schüller

Foreign direct investment (FDI) has become as important as international trade for driving the global economic development. It has the potential to contribute to economic growth, employment and innovation in host countries. An open and transparent regulatory framework as well as a welcoming business environment in host countries helps attracting FDI.


CAI Zhengxin

The globalization has already brought benefits to a lot of industries worldwide. The bilateral relations between China and Germany are a good example, how a cooperation can develop into a comprehensive and strategic partnership. Therefore, it is important that the people with entrepreneurship on both sides focus on growing this partnership and business to create opportunities seeking mutual success.

Opening statements for Discussion 4: "Decoupling in information systems?"

Rebecca Arcesati

5G is going to revolutionize information systems, deepening their penetration into our increasingly connected economies and societies and making it more difficult, yet all the more important to secure these systems. Information and data are front and center in 21st century economic and geopolitical competition, therefore the security and resilience of the underlying infrastructure is very important. China has long recognized this, pouring considerable resources into cyber and information security. The debate about the security of European 5G networks, particularly the role of Chinese equipment suppliers in their rollout, shows how democracies too now recognize the need to more carefully balance openness and control in the digital realm, including by taking appropriate measures to protect their information systems. Far from being driven exclusively by the ongoing technological decoupling between the United States and China, the EU’s approach to 5G reflects growing appreciation of the interplay between technology and security, as well as a broader shift in Europe-China relations.


TAN Youzhi

Cyberspace is often regarded as an emerging vast territory which contains infinite development possibilities. Besides the sole superpower United States, European countries and China are also the most active actors in this new arena. In the information age, making full use of cyber technologies to enhance bilateral cooperation and multilateral security is in line with the direction of social development. On the contrary, seeking the so-called technological decoupling by highly politicizing anything is neither wise nor feasible, and will ultimately be detrimental to global cyberspace governance. It is both necessary and possible for European countries and China to jointly promote in-depth cooperation on the basis of cyber technologies represented by 5G on the premise of coordinating each other’s interests and concerns. This is particularly important in the context of fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic in an increasingly globalized world.

Opening statements for Discussion 3 „Covid and innovation foci“

Philipp Böing

China’s policy agenda strives for greater, innovation-driven growth, and world leadership in science and technology by 2050. This ambitious target is supported by government policies that not only provide incentives for more research activities, but also lay out a mission-driven direction for innovation. Both China’s research and development (R&D) expenditures, important inputs for innovation, and patent applications, a widely used measure for innovation output, have increased substantially since the turn of the century. Nonetheless, it remains unclear how far previous market reforms and the government’s attempts to correct market failures and guide technological advances, e.g. through subsidies, have led to such increases. Instead of addressing funding deficiencies in the Chinese innovation system, R&D subsidies may instead crowd-out private investments in R&D, or allocate resources towards less productive activities. Likewise, patent subsidies may not support financially constrained firms in the protection of intellectual property, but rather lead to disproportionate and excessive filings of low-quality patents. If China fails to generate innovation that matters for output and productivity growth, both global leadership in science and technology and higher levels of income might move beyond reach.


HAN Zheng

Technological self-reliance is at the heart of China’s upcoming economic plans. To achieve this goal, the Chinese government aims to strengthen its R&D capacity and boost international collaboration. However, decoupling in major international relationships, slowing GDP growth, increasing corporate and government debt ratios, as well as little focus on basic research in the past stand in the way of realizing the ambitious goal.

Opening statements for Discussion 2 „Decoupling and changes in geoeconomics“

Doris Fischer

China and the European Union have a solid tradition of economic cooperation, communication and negotiations. Against this background, the notion of decoupling is somewhat absurd. There are however a number of factors, that indicate a change in the economic relations between Europe and China. 1) The Europeans see an imbalance between the ease of market access for Chinese firms in Europe and the still existing restrictions for European firms in China. 2) The US complaints about China in terms of trade and investment are partially shared by European business and politics, even though the way how the Trump administration has stepped into a trade war with China has clearly not been appreciated by the EU. 3) China’s economic system, the role attributed to state-owned enterprise and the level of government support for specific industries and firms are factors that contribute to the European perception that competition with Chinese firms is skewed to the advantage of the latter. 4) The experience with Chinese trade strategies for medical supplies during the corona crisis have created an awareness for weaknesses within certain supply chains and a perception that China does not hesitate to use dependences for power play and securing materials in times of crises. 5) The US China trade war with its high tariffs on trade has encouraged relocation of production from China to South East Asia, both by Chinese and foreign firms. 6) As a result of corona, this trend will likely accelerate and eventually lessen the dependence of production networks on China as a location. 7) The recent signature of the RCEP agreement also indicates a growing importance of Asia as a region. However, Chinese firms will play an important role in this process. Therefore, we will not see a reduction of the importance of Chinese firms. Last but not least, Xi Jinping’s new doctrine of dual circulation is hardly one of self-sufficiency in general. It does indicate, however, that Xi envisages China as less reliant on technology from the US and EU while closely entangled with global markets for technology exports and resource and commodity imports.

In sum, the global centre of economic gravity will most likely continue to move to Asia. European firms are well aware of this trend and arguably so is the EU. Politics and policies will adapt to this, but hardly with a simplistic strategy of decoupling.


LI Yuan

The EU and China is each other’s most important trade and investment partners. The total GDP of China and the EU account for 34% of global GDP. In the first 8 months of 2020, China has become EU’s largest trading partner for the first time. The EU and China is also important cooperative partners in addressing common global challenges, such as climate change and the pandemic. Enhancing the cooperation between EU and China is not only good for themselves but can also lead to a steady recovery and growth of the global economy after the pandemic. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that there has been a change in the EU’s attitude and strategic approach to China in recent years, which has made their relationship more complicated. This is also partly due to the influence of the US, which promoted protectionist and “decoupling” strategy during the Trump administration. On the other hand, China will enter a new phase of high-quality development with the introduction of the 14th Five Year Plan. China is dedicated to remaining open when it comes to its new efforts to circulate with the world, which would create broad space for countries around the world to come to China and share the opportunities here. Opportunities for cooperation between EU and China include: digital economy, green development, and the conclusion of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, etc.

Summary: EU-China Relations in Post-Corona Times, Discussion1, 20.11.2020 Decoupling and Changes in Geopolitics (Notes taken by students Lisa Bauer, Dan Bachmann)

Speakers: Prof. FENG Zhongping, Prof. Eberhard Sandschneider

Host: Dr. Ágota Révész, CCST


The following protocol summarizes a Zoom lecture held on the 20th of November 2020. The discussion was part of a seminar called “EU-China Relations in Post-Corona Times” which is one of many seminars offered this winter semester by the China Center at the Technische Universität Berlin. Due to the current Corona situation, the seminar was held online via Zoom. Not only the participants of the seminar were invited to attend, the discussion was open for the public as well. The main topic of the lecture with the title “Decoupling and changes in geopolitics”, was discussed by two invited guests, Prof. Sandschneider from the Freie Universität Berlin, who was representing the EU side of view and Prof. Feng from CICIR (China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations), who was attending live from Beijing, representing China’s ongoing politics. Dr. Ágota Révész from the China Center, TU Berlin was the host of the seminar.

All attendees where allowed to ask questions any time and to actively participate. There where three main topics to discuss. Each topic was given about 15 minutes to discuss.

The first topic was about the EU policy paper from March 2019, just before Covid-19 set in, which names China a strategic partner and a systemic rival.

The second topic was about the current situation, when Covid-19 let the entire world struggle and how that affected the US-EU-China triangle in the difficult questions regarding the health system, the economy and global governance.

The last topic was focussing on the ongoing trade war between the US and China, nowadays referred to as “US-China decoupling”, which escalated all throughout 2019.

After answering all questions, the lecture ended after 90 minutes and was a very successful and interesting discussion about the decoupling of the US and China. The discussion also estimated, how much impact the EU would have in the future between the two most powerful nations.

Opening statements Sandschneider:

  • Not only the rise of China, but a series of major events is coming down to a policy of decoupling.

  • Election in US: A leading democracy is failing – Trump holds onto power.

  • China, 14th 5-year-plan (3 weeks ago): Dual circulation strategy concerning economy. Domestic and global Circle. Concentration on domestic circle. Going to be more difficult for foreign companies.

  • RCEP treaty: Signal of what rise of China means. Rise of China is a normal progress considering China’s size and power. China is able to get big projects done.

  • Big development going on inside China and US and in the relation of both. Poor Europe is “sitting in a sandwich”.

  • EU trying to talk about more engagement.

  • China as a systemic competitor. But: Hasn´t it been ever since 01.10.1949?

  • Concerns and political agreements are defining the future relations towards China.

  • US: democrats are as aggressive as republicans.

  • US wants EU to join political efforts concerning a containment of China. But: There is no way of containing a country like China with its size and power.

  • EU is forced into a selective situation. But European countries don´t want to give away shares in either economy (Chinese and US-American).

Due to Covid-19 all global relations existing before the outbreak have been accelerated dramatically. The impact and effects of geopolitical shifts and changes are visible.

The combination of the US unilateralism under Trump, the Chinese late response and dealing with the virus as well as the second wave throughout Europe leads to negative effects on EU-China relations.

US policies of “decoupling” may change under a Biden administration, but China’s “dual circulation” theory in the coming 14. Five Year Plan and the newly signed treaty for RCEP, creating the world’s largest free trade zone, will be core parameters for global politics post-Corona.

The free trade zone will definitely signal, what the rise of China will mean for the world. China is also able to organize allies.

China has been the systemic competitor since 1949, therefore the aggressiveness in the US politics is a huge concern. The EU might find itself in a selective situation, sitting between the US and China.

Opening statements Feng:

  • “Where is Europe?” Europe can play a big role in shaping new global orders.

  • China is not a perfect partner. But China supports some of Europe´s principles.

  • China does want multilateralism and China does want to play its own role in that framework.

  • (Conviction of West: China wants to exert its influence in a unilateral approach.)

  • Europe can play a role in stabilizing the economic order. Europe is among the three biggest economies.

  • China’s view on Europe in terms of trade and economy: Europe is a big player. Its consumption is striking. Power of bargaining. Setting rules, regulations. Europe plays an important role on a global and multilateral level.

  • China needs Europe and wants to work together with Europe.

China, Europe and the USA are the three most powerful economies in the world. They have the responsibility to lead the global efforts in addressing big challenges such as Covid-19, the economic recovery and climate issues.

Under the Trump administration, the relationship between the US and China became cold and distant. The question is now, where is the EU in all of that? They will have an important role because they are viewed as stabilizers of the global economic order and are therefore seen as a partner. China needs Europe and also wants to work with the US.

Discussion topics

  1. At the beginning of 2019, the EU´s perception of China is ambivalent. In its policy paper the EU refers to China as a strategic partner as well as a systemic rival. Furthermore, there are concerns that China might try to divide the political structure of the EU in favour of its own interests. What is your opinion on this?

Argument Feng:

Prof. Feng has followed the policy papers in the past two decades. He is of the opinion that all EU-member states need a lot of communication with China and with their fellow member states. He is also referring to the EU to determine their policy papers towards China. The 2016 paper for example was dealing with topics about terms of trade, migration and was very striking in his opinion. He also explained that China thinks the 2019 policy approach of the EU is different than the US approach. The EU policy sees China as a partner and as a systemic rival. China of course appreciates to be seen as a partner, which also means that Europe does not see China as a developing country in his opinion. But concerning the point of systemic rival, he thinks that the EU regards China as promoting an alternative (different) model of governance. Prof. Feng thinks that China has its own approach and wants to stick to it while strengthening international relations.

Argument Sandschneider:

Prof. Sandschneider took the audience back to the 1980´s, when China was seen as one of the most critical nations towards multilateralism. He then referred to the year of 1995, in which the first initiative, also called the “Shanghai 5” was established and has become the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) of today. He also spoke about the recent RCEP negotiations, he said that China was a driving force in the RCEP negotiations which lead to the signing of the agreement in November 2020. Former fears on the European side of an enclosed China are not relevant anymore today – regarding its own interests, China drives further towards multilateralism, he continued.

Europe tries to keep positive relations towards both countries, China and the USA. As the EU shares more common values with the USA than with China, different values imply bigger challenges concerning the foreign policy towards China. He also remarked that it is a normal process, that a powerful country like China on its rise tries to implement its interests. It is up to Europe to face these emerging interests wisely. Is China a developing country? According to Prof. Sandschneider, it can be both: China can be a developing country as well as a relevant partner and a country applying pressure in its foreign policy. China always had a big ambition to overcome the developing country status. The angle of perception now defines the policy, which is of eminent importance. The perception is one of the core aspects to base the foreign policy on.

As a second concern of the EU, Prof. Sandschneider mentions the discussion whether or not Chinese firms should be included in the implementation of the 5G network in Europe.

  1. What choices does the EU in the already mentioned US-EU-China triangle have? As geopolitics might change massively, what are the options of the EU?

Argument Sandschneider:

Prof. Sandschneider had the following to say regarding the question. He said that the RCEP treaty is signed but not implemented yet and that it usually takes years to embed such a treaty into actual policies. He also said that the EU should not see it as its duty to tell both countries (US, China) how to act politically. The EU should rather first focus on itself, work on its own topics and should be more active in terms of border security or economic cooperation. He also noticed that the EU is currently not able to convince all member states to financially get involved into fighting Covid-19 together and that this is one of the biggest challenges Europe is facing at the moment.

Argument Feng:

Prof. Feng states the question from the Chinese perspective as whether or not the EU can survive. The Covid-19 pandemic showed, that the EU member states did not really work together, as they had different approaches. By the end of the year China wants to sign the investment agreement with the EU, also broadening marked access between the two economies, and therefore making China a more important partner for the EU.

Counterargument Sandschneider:

Prof. Sandschneider explained, that the main concern about the current politics lies in the dialogue: “We are talking to each other but not speaking to one another”. Both countries should work on their negotiation style as a successful negotiation can only occur, if both sides are satisfied with the compromises made. So far both sides are not yet willing to give up on their core interests and probably won´t sign the agreement this year. Furthermore Covid-19 implies a less effective atmosphere of discussion, as negotiation is better done in person than virtually, he closed his statement.

Counterargument Feng:

Prof. Feng answered by saying, that chancellor Merkel wants all 27 member states to work together and have concluding conversations. This could be a good chance for an agreement among the 27 member states. In his opinion the pandemic stopped an effective discussion, what makes a closure of the agreement by the end of the year unlikely.

Counterargument Sandschneider:

Prof. Sandschneider agrees in the point, that a consensus among the member states of the EU is unlikely at the moment.

  1. What is the long lasting impact of Covid-19 to the EU-US-China triangle?

Argument Feng:

Prof. Feng describes his perception of the relations at the beginning of the pandemic as pessimistic towards the future. This was also due to the negative response of the Western media, including the EU and the USA. As 2020 has been the US election year, strategic competition in terms of the trade war between the US and China intensified. The competitive policy together with the pandemic led to the most difficult diplomatic relations between the USA and China since 1979, according to Prof. Feng. He agrees with Prof. Sandschneider in the fact, that Joe Biden as the next president of the United States probably will still follow a policy of decoupling concerning China. This also complicates the relation between China and the EU. The European Union is facing a situation where it is basically forced to decide between China and the USA. The discussion around 5G is an example for that.

Argument Sandschneider:

Prof. Sandschneider is pointing towards Trump’s calling the virus the “China virus”. Even though naming after geography is common practice in the scientific world, Trump’s purpose with this naming was to geographically point out an enemy whom he can blame. By bashing China, he positively wanted to support the outcome of the 2020 election. He failed with his tactics, even though narrower than expected. According to Prof. Sandschneider, a stronger containment of China ultimately leads to a more aggressive policy, which might be a threat as well as a challenge in the future.

Covid-19 acted as a systemic acceleration of all major trends, said Prof. Sandschneider. This includes not only political trends, but also digitalization. With an enhanced digitalization, the world after Covid-19 will be much faster. Consequently decision-making might be less reflected and “wrong decisions” of political leaders might augment. This is a danger the world after Covid-19 might contain.

Questions of the audience:

  1. To Prof. Sandschneider: Is there any hope that the EU will ever find a shared strategy to deal/engage with China and “pull its act together” and if so, how do we get there?


According to Prof. Sandschneider, the creation of peace and stability has always been a driving force in political developments. Hence, the history of the EU can be seen as a European success story. Naturally a number of 27 member states does lead to a diversity of interests. External pressure, such as the urge to create stable peace can drive a potpourri of interests towards a consensus. Right now, the external pressure is not yet big enough to drive the EU member states into that direction. A pressure growth might create more engagement and a more active decision making in the EU. Thus, the EU might become a noticeable, third party between the USA and China.

  1. To Prof. Feng: If China is aware of the danger of dividing the EU, what are measures from the Chinese side to prevent the division and the increasing mistrust of the EU?


Prof. Feng points out, that back in 2001 when China joined the WTO it did not negotiate with a diversity of member states (EU), but just with one spokesperson. Thus, the EU is able to speak with one voice. Furthermore, according to Prof. Feng, China wants a strong and united Europe. Dividing the EU is not of interest for China. China rather wants to see the world balanced among the powers. To increase trust, China is maintaining the communication with the leaders of the European Union.

  1. China has been in the UNSC since the seventies. Did it really only arrive as a player on the multilateral field in 1995? - Actually as an active player it did, as China was reluctant to join global activities in the early 70´s. When taking on an active global role, a country has to take the costs also. The government of China is now able and willing to deliver, and its initiative on the multilateral field will increase in the future. The future challenge of the European Union will be, that some of China`s interests are controversial to European interests.

I wonder, if China is a “systemic” rival. A different system yes. But does China want to establish its system in order to “rival” other systems, in particular parliamentary democracies?


Prof. Feng points out, that there are also shared values between the EU and China. He poses the question, if a systemic rival translates to a comprehensive rival. In his opinion, the EU is not treating China only as a rival. A search for and agreement on common interests does exist.

In many ways, the development of China started early. The modernization of China though started late. China thus is still in a process of catching up. As a country with a population of more than a billion, China does need a different governmental system without being in the need to make it a rivalling system.

  1. Given the fact, that the US is putting enormous pressure on China, China definitely needs to safeguard the support or neutrality of Europe. However, China is actively promoting the superiority of its political and economic models. This is what Europe fears. Could you please explain why China does this and how China will form a unified front with Europe?


According to Prof. Sandschneider, there is a natural drive of Western European foreign policies towards the USA. Rebuilding transatlantic relations is of actual importance for the EU. China can thus not expect, that the EU prefers a drift towards China in the near future. Prof. Sandschneider indicates, that China will be an enemy if a country chooses it as such, which increases the cost of political decision-making. The EU should not think in terms of enemies and thus should find a way towards both, the USA and China.

  1. Concerning the Investment Agreement between China and the EU, two major points seem to block a common consensus. These are the intellectual property, including forced technology transfer and Chinese state-owned enterprises with non-transparent subsidies. What do you think: Is there a chance of finding a common ground?

  2. Can there be a robust common agenda, considering different values concerning human rights, democratic priorities and data protection – but also shared interests like environmental protection, renewable energies and infrastructure development?


In the opinion of Prof Sandschneider, an unwillingness to get off the table dissatisfied is at the moment prevailing. Neither side is willing to compromise. In this regard, an agreement cannot be expected soon.


Both sides wanted to sign an agreement as quick as possible. Both sides are in the need to compromise and both sides are able to, according to Prof. Feng. It should be possible, to reach a common point.

  1. Where are the European weaknesses?


The truth is, says Feng, that foreign policy is still in the hands of many member states. The countries do not want to give away the decision-making to Brussels. In addition each of the 27 countries does have its own interests.


According to Prof. Sandschneider, a balance of interests and values should be made in regard to different, but also common perspectives on political systems, human rights, climate protection, etc. In order to not stand alone, it is necessary to up keep diplomatic relations and a continuous dialogue. Foreign policy is not unidimensional. If there are no common values, there most probably still are common interests. In Prof. Sandschneider’s point of view, foreign policy should not be value-based. Policy needs domestic support as well as international acceptance, though. Looking at the United States, the parting president for example did not share common values with a big number of US-citizens.

Political leaders, when pursuing foreign policy, should give up the attitude towards domestic values. They should give up on aiming to teach domestic values to strategic partner states. Even though if these values might be highly competitive ones, trying to teach them is not a constructive base for foreign policy.

Opening statements for Discussion 1 „Decoupling and changes in geopolitics“

Eberhard Sandschneider

The Covid Pandemic is the great accelerator of our times. All major megatrends which are shaping global relations have been existing before the outbreak, but since the pandemic started they have all been accelerated dramatically. While our time to adapt to new circumstances keeps shrinking, the effects for geopolitical shifts and changes are already visible.

Most importantly, the combination of US unilateralism under Trump, Chinese efficiency in dealing with the virus and a massive second wave throughout Europe leads to a threefold geopolitical challenge which will have massive effects on Eu-China relations as well.

US policies of “decoupling” may change under a Biden administration, but China “dual circulation” theory in the coming 14. Five Year Plan and the newly signed treaty for RCEP, creating the world’s largest free trade zone, will be core parameters for global politics post-Corona.

These are the challenges for Europe: managing the effects of the triple crisis of decoupling, China’s growing self-assertion and the new standard setting capacities within RCEP.

For Europe, it is time to leave its moral high ground and give up its “future blindness” (Die Welt, 17.11.2020) if Europeans do not want to end up squeezed between two major economic blocs and forced to make choices no one in Europe really wants to make.


Feng Zhongping

China, Europe and the USA are three most powerful economies in the world. The three giants also have responsibility to lead the global efforts in addressing big challenges such as Covid-19 pandemic, economic recovery and climate issues. The reality, however, is that the relationships amongst the three powers have been facing many difficult problems. Over the past 4 years, the Trump administration’s China policy have shifted from the engagement to the containment. Decoupling with China in the high technologic area has already taken place. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo is virtually treating China as a cold war enemy.

Europe’s perception on China has also changed but is still different from that of the US. The Europeans view China both as partner, competitor and rival and therefore refuse to take the confrontation line with Beijing.

Although there have been significant frictions in the EU China relations, the two powers will continue to engage with each other. Decoupling is not in Europe’s dictionary. The economic recovery will be crucial for the Europeans, so will be for the Chinese and the Americans. China hopes to strengthen economic and trade ties with Europe. Both sides have emphasized the importance to conclude the investment agreement by the end of the year.

President Trump have tried quite hard to force the Europeans to follow the US’s China policy. So far it has not been very successful. With Joe Biden winning the US election, the transatlantic ties will be improved. What will this mean for the relations between Europe and China? Let us wait and see.

Zusatzinformationen / Extras


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