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China’s Eurasian Dilemmas

Roads and Risks for a Sustainable Global Power

R. J. Ferguson

Providing a timely analysis of China’s engagement with Eurasia, R. James Ferguson focuses on the challenges obstructing China’s path to becoming a sustainable global power. Engagement across Eurasia presents China, its leaders and policymakers with intensified contact with regional and national conflicts, posing environmental, developmental and strategic dilemmas.
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Chapter 7: China and the EU: the hidden balancer

R. J. Ferguson


The relationship between China and Europe is one of the great narratives of world history. China engages with the European states to ensure diplomatic recognition, improve technology transfer, boost trade, and to gain access to new markets. Despite blockages over human rights and market access, this relationship has taken on greater significance since 2013 in relation to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The EU–China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement of 2003 has since been deepened during 2013–18, with convergence on global issues including climate change, sustainable development, and non-traditional security threats. Relations with Germany and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have taken on particular significance, with a triangular relationship beginning to emerge among China, Germany and CEE countries. This has serious implications for the EU’s revised European Neighbourhood Policy and its Common Foreign and Security Policy. Positive relations with Europe form the ‘capstone’ of the BRI agenda, and are essential for its success. The EU has an opportunity to influence Chinese regional and global policies, acting as ‘hidden balancer’ in the emerging Eurasian multipolar system.

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