Wednesday, June 16, 2010

European Foreign Relations Council - Memo on China - François Godement

Dear friends,

The European Council on Foreign Relations is pleased to announce the publication of a new policy brief: "A Global China Policy" by ECFR Senior Policy Fellow Francois Godement.

The paper outlines the recent assertive turn in Chinese diplomacy and recommends the EU to reframe its China policy in global terms. It urges Europe to consider the role of China in all foreign policy issues and world regions, whilst stressing the need for more effective EU cooperation in dealing with Beijing. The brief also calls upon the EU to build coalitions with others affected by China's rise and suggests that it should reach out to those new actors within the Chinese system that may share European interests.

According to Francois Godement, the EU should take advantage of the few areas where it has real leverage, and focus its relationship with China around the following five issues: trade and investment policy, industry and technology, climate change, nuclear proliferation, and human rights. Ahead of September's European Council discussions on relations with strategic partners such as China, Francois Godement advises Europe's leaders to waste no time in understanding how to get the most out of relations with Beijing.

We hope that you will find the paper interesting and stimulating. Comments can be addressed to the author directly at:

Link to full memo:

China feels more powerful than ever. Chinese foreign policy experts saw the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 not as a one-off crisis but as a structural change in the global distribution of power. Since then, China has become assertive across a range of foreign policy issues. China has repeatedly snubbed Europeans in response to their support for the Dalai Lama and Tibet. At the same time, it has become even less apologetic about its own human rights violations.
China has deepened economic ties with North Korea and put minimal pressure on Pyongyang after it crossed the nuclear threshold and even after it torpedoed a South Korean navy
vessel in May. China has also slowed down progress on international efforts to impose new sanctions on Iran while benefitting from a burgeoning economic relationship with
Tehran. Finally, at the Copenhagen climate conference– a wake-up call for many in the West in general and in Europe in particular – China used tough tactics to achieve its objective of preventing an agreement on a binding commitment for developing countries (although, in this case, it may have overplayed its hand). In short, China has frustrated hopes for increased global responsibility sharing while pursuing its own economic and strategic interests through international institutions and stalling when such institutions challenge its own positions.
See the full report here.

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