The EU, the US and China – Towards a New International Order?
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The EU, the US and China – Towards a New International Order?

Edited by Men Jing and Wei Shen

The interaction between the EU, the US and China is of particular importance to the formation of the international order in the 21st century. This book focuses on the latest developments and examines how critical the interactions between these three players are to future global governance.
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Chapter 4: The impact of European debt crisis on EU-US-China relations

Xiaotong Zhang


The European debt crisis is destined to be an epoch-making event, not just for Europe, but also for Europe's major partners, including the United States and China. Its impact is so profound that the EU, the US and China all have to recalculate, re-position and transform their internal and external strategies to adapt to a fast-changing and largely uncertain future, a future shaped not by Europe's strength, but by its possible absence. The US and China are 'locked' in a new triangular relationship, with Europe as the pivot, temporarily weak, but still influential and of strategic relevance. This chapter explains how the European debt crisis impacted the US, China and Europe itself, what they did in response and how their trilateral interactions evolved under new circumstances. The final part presents a Chinese perspective on the prospects of EU-US-China relations. The debt crisis impacted the EU, the US and China through different paths, among which, the economic and strategic paths are the most relevant for the policy changes in all the three. The debt crisis is first of all a financial and economic crisis, which had knock-on effects through the economic channel on the Chinese and American economies and the world economy in general. Economics and politics are indivisible. The debt crisis, without exception, has created political and strategic dynamism for shaping the overall configuration of the world order.

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