On 18 December the Xinhua news agency publicized the state China’s Policy Paper on the European Union. We would like to highlight straightaway that this is not a unique document in the history of their official bilateral ties, established in 1975.
Similar policy papers were issued in 2003 and 2014. But the latest in this series of documents has generated heightened interest from experts. The reasons behind this are fairly simple as the document appeared at a time when there was a sudden acceleration in the deterioration of the world order, temporarily established at the end of the Cold War.
At times of such historic changes, key players on the world stage need to respond more quickly towards the rapidly changing environment. We would also like to point out that the time period from publication of the first policy to the second is nearly three times as long as the period separating the release of the second and third documents.
It is highly unlikely that anyone could have predicted in 2014 that in the following two years the existing tensions in the transatlantic relationship would transform into a fundamental rift right in front of our very eyes. Who could have foreseen that the long-term standard-bearer for globalization, the USA, would throw away this symbol, and that China, currently the United States’ key rival, would raise this discarded flag.
It was equally difficult to envision that the Sino-American multifaceted rivalry, which gradually manifested itself in the last decade on the world stage, would take such an unexpected turn for the worse in the last one and half years. In the sphere of trade and economy, the term “war” has already been used to describe the current state of affairs. And in this pre-war environment the issue of (even quasi) alliances becomes quite acute.
Commentators, who have been analyzing the contents of the 2018 policy as well as the reasons for its release, have first and foremost focused on the aspect of rapidly deteriorating relations between both world powers.
The New Eastern Outlook has reported, on more than one occasion, that China has long viewed the EU as a potential geopolitical ally,