If there is one thing that the Chinese leadership hates, it is not being in control of something crucially important. In the context of its authoritarian political system, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) remains in power with no need to compete with another political party. However, regime security remains its number one concern (or core interest) and, more than anything else, it relies on the fact that the party is seen as legitimate ruler.
Over 2018, China’s relations significantly sharpened with both the US and the EU. The most consequential of these is with the US, where the imposition of trade tariffs from later in the year was the first tangible sign that the relationship was entering an era of overt strategic competition.
China’s growth stopped at 6.5 percent in 2018. And the effects of the trade war have not yet been felt. The real crux is the high level of corporate indebtedness. But the authorities do not seem to have adequate solutions.
The process of economic development in China has always been characterized by a remarkable regional heterogeneity due not only to specific amenities and local factors (such as geographical position, demographic structure, resources, and so on), but also to the development policies implemented by central and local authorities over time.
With a population of just over one billion and 400 million individuals, China is facing a demographic crisis that could slow down economic development and threatens social welfare. The leading indicators reveal indeed that the “demographic window” – the stage that helped China to create the conditions for such unprecedented economic growth – is closing.
The establishment of official diplomatic relations between China and Iran dates back only to 1971. Nevertheless, the two countries share a web of economic and cultural interactions rooted in history, which finds in the ancient Silk Road its idealised apogee. A flourishing past, a shared sense of national humiliation, and the idea of a possible alternative world order frame the narrative that backs the Sino-Iranian axis.
Investment in ports is the most visible incarnation in Europe of China’s new maritime Silk Road. In the coming years, China’s footprint in the Mediterranean Sea will continue to expand but will be subject to greater scrutiny and possibly resistance. The adoption of the EU-wide investment screening system in 2019 will help Europe evaluate future investment projects from the perspective of their potential security implications.
The Asia-Pacific has become the Indo-Pacific region as the US, Japan, Australia and India have decided to join forces and scale-up their political, economic and security cooperation. The message coming from Washington, Tokyo, Canberra and New Delhi is clear: China’s Belt and Road Initiative is no longer the only game in town and Beijing’s policymakers better get ready for fierce competition.
The meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping of China and Donal Trump of the US in the G20 Buenos Aries in November resulted in a reprieve of sorts – a three month pause on the imposition of further tariffs on goods exported from China to the US. This was despite fears already issued by some of Trump’s administration that over USD200 billion of goods would have taxes introduced and that in some cases these would rise to over 20 per cent by the new year.
After Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a new military jargon appeared on the strategic studies scene: hybrid warfare. It has been used since then as a theoretical framework to depict a new way of conducting warfare.