The story of president Xi Jinping choosing Kazakhstan as the first location for presenting his revolutionary foreign policy plan – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – has now become a common tale of China’s international relations. However, it is a story worth retelling, as it marks the starting-point of a new era in China-Central Asia relations.
In September 2019, the clash between the United States and China over Beijing’s move to include language referring to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the text of a United Nations resolution on Afghanistan made global headlines for the second time in merely six months.
Europe has shown little interest to get involved in the global power struggles between Beijing and Washington. Most European governments take a more nuanced view of the China challenge. They share US concerns about the direction of the Middle Kingdom under President Xi Jinping, including domestic market access and unfair competition from state-owned and backed Chinese companies in China and globally.
Germany is China’s most important economic partner in the EU and China is Germany’s most important economic partner in Asia. Germany therefore has relied on a negotiation- and discussion-based approach in its relations with China following the principle “change through trade” (Wandel durch Handel). While other western powers, such as the United States, already took a tougher stance vis-à-vis China on past occasions, Germany regarded it more as a partner than a competitor. However, things have changed in recent years.
Relations between China and the European Union have been changing dramatically. As China’s presence in Europe increased, Brussels took a more assertive stance against bilateral agreements between Beijing and EU member states, advocating in favor of a multilateral approach and EU standards.
At present, China and Europe are facing similar global challenges: protectionism, populism, separatism, terrorism, and unilateralism. Global stability and the international order are suffering from the greatest threats since World War II. If we can maintain our national interests despite instability and continue world peace, China and Europe could play an indispensable international role.
Under the common global threat, both China and Europe have common interests and demands.
The EU-China Summit to be held in Brussels this week comes at a crucial and unprecedented juncture in EU-China relations.
When China’s President Xi Jinping launched his flagship project on the “Silk Road Economic Belt” in Astana in the fall of 2013, followed by the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” in Jakarta a month later, few people in France took notice, except perhaps for a few experts in academic circles or research institutions focusing on China.
Xi Jinping arriva in Italia. E la visita di un ospite non qualsiasi – il livello è lo stesso del presidente degli Stati Uniti e del russo – è accompagnata da un dibattito surreale: Cina si, Cina no. Se vogliamo fare affari con quell’universo dobbiamo saltare sul treno della Via della Seta, è la versione ufficiale. Se non lo facciamo perdiamo la grande occasione.
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.
La Cina guarda con interesse alla convenzione sullo status del bacino del Caspio poiché un rafforzamento della cooperazione regionale in tal senso migliorerebbe la posizione economica cinese in alcuni snodi portuali strategici, che hanno già goduto di investimenti per la realizzazione di infrastrutture nell’ambito Belt and Road.
Lo sviluppo logistico e infrastrutturale della BRI dovrà coinvolgere un profilo che, nella prospettiva del Sistema Italia, appare di assoluta rilevanza: il cargo aereo.