Björn Conrad and Stephan Mergenthaler: Europe’s China Angst

Following the conclusion of the EU-China summit in Nanjing, Björn Conrad and Stephan Mergenthaler, researchers at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin, write an op-ed in the New York Times arguing that EU nations should do more to call on China to assume more substantial global responsibilities:

For all the rhetoric of engaging China and global burden-sharing, however, Europe’s China angst — its fear of losing influence by granting real responsibility to China — regularly turns such bilateral encounters into wasted opportunities for taking on global responsibilities.

The outcome of the latest summit is a perfect illustration of this: It amounts to updating and celebrating ongoing bureaucratic cooperation while refraining from broader political questions of global responsibilities and leadership.

But without such a strategic focus, even important and promising ideas, such as a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the E.U. and China, are doomed to irrelevance.

[…] In effect, Europe lacks a common voice on China because it lacks confidence in jointly shaping world affairs with an increasingly influential China.

In related news, China’s peacekeeping troops staged a show of bulldozers for foreign military officials outside Beijing just after Obama left the country, the Washington Post reports:

The display, put on shortly after President Obama left Beijing last month, represented what China sees as an important part of its answer to a question that shadowed Obama’s eight-day Asia tour: How will China use the formidable power generated by its relentless economic growth?

The engineering unit that staged the show is spearheading China’s growing involvement in international peacekeeping, a cause that Beijing for decades denounced as a violation of its stated commitment to noninterference in the affairs of other nations but that it now embraces.

Today, about 2,150 Chinese military and police personnel are deployed in support of U.N. missions. They serve around the world, from Haiti to Sudan.

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