CHINESE State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday in Paris, the first stop of his ongoing European tour. He will also visit Spain and Portugal in coming days. On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, Wang’s trip will launch a period of frequent interactions between the two sides. Meanwhile, recent moves from the US also provide China and the European Union with another reason to collaborate.
One day before Wang’s visit, European Council President Donald Tusk blasted US President Donald Trump saying, “Thanks to him we got rid of all illusions. We realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.”
He said this after Washington announced it was prepared to impose sanctions on European companies for doing business with Iran following the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
Previously the EU had been trying hard to grit its teeth and keep smiling at Trump’s willfulness. Brussels wanted to safeguard its investment and security guarantee from the US, as well as boost its own confidence through a US-EU alliance against the backdrop of Brexit and growing discord within the block. But Trump did not think so. All he wanted to do was cast off international responsibilities, erect protectionist walls and break up trading partnerships. Europe finally realized it was pure folly to fantasize that the US could be in any way dependable.
“America first” has provided Trump with sufficient impetus to threaten EU enterprises while raising harsh terms against Beijing during the Sino-US trade negotiations. It is no exaggeration to say that Trump is posing an enormous risk to optimum distribution of resources, technical progress and the welfare of global consumers, all the benefits that come with globalization, free trade, market competition and the survival of the fittest.
Tusk argued the EU was confronting global challenges created by Trump’s unreliability. Europe is not alone in standing up to US unilateralism. Over the years, China has devoted itself to protecting multilateralism, pursuing an opening policy, proactively participating in global affairs and supporting the UN in playing a leading role in global governance. It has also promoted joint work with the EU in counter-terrorism, climate change and third-party cooperation.
Nevertheless, apart from bilateral trade, collaboration used to lack an intrinsic motivation. Consensus was in most cases reached by external stimulation, especially from the US. Facing pressure from Washington, China and the EU’s first reaction was not to stick together, but to negotiate with the US separately. This deserves some introspection.
Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, has noted that “Now we have a leaderless, multipolar world. While we may talk about the G7, G8 or G20, the more apt description is G-Zero. We will have to learn how to live, and thrive, in this new world.”
This is the part where Beijing and Brussels carefully deliberate how to enhance their cooperation, which is not simply aimed at easing the stress brought on by the US, but at maintaining and improving the current global order.
—Courtesy: Global Times