Amidst increasing serious geopolitical problems on a global scale, the EU-China relations are becoming topical. The relationship between Europe, the leading part of the world, and emerging China are entering a new level. In this regard, the German chancellor who has visited China 9 times over the past 9 years attracts attention most. Last time, Merkel held talks in China during four days. Experts do not consider this activity of Berlin as accidental. They mention the existence of Germany`s plans to conduct an independent policy in the Euro-Atlantic area and its aspiration to take its place on a global scale. But this process is not easy and accompanied by some contradictions.
Persistence of Berlin: will Germans be able to overcome China`s “Great Wall”?
Angela Merkel has paid 9 visits to China since 2005. Specialists attribute it to the fact that China occupies a special place in Germany`s foreign policy. It is noteworthy that the activity of Berlin towards China has not been discussed so much. We mean Germany-China relations were less discussed than relations between USA, Russia and China. But Merkel`s visit to Beijing before making a trip to Brazil for the World Football Cup drew much attention to Germany-China relations.
Experts consider the discussion on US-EU and US-Germany relations as more correct. There is serious logic since America, on the one hand, is the closest partner of the European Union, guarantor of Europe`s security, and on the other hand, it competes with China for the global leadership. In this context, it is appropriate to mention this aspect.
A couple of years ago, China offered the G2, new format of cooperation (see Чжэн Юннянь. Будущее Азии: отношения в формате G2 или новая холодная война? / ”İnoSMİ.ru”, 2 June 2014). It was during Barack Obama`s first presidency. According to expert of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations Leonid Gusev, the aim was to “attract China to global influence rather than divide the world between the USA and China” (see: Леонид Гусев. Китай ловко лавирует между Обамой и Путиным / ”МГИМО Университет», 9 July 2014). The Chineserefused under the pretext that they deal with economic matters.
Now, America offers a new model of cooperation to Beijing. Its main idea is to solve all disputes that may occur in a constructive way. Experts evaluate this attempt as the USA`s aspiration for cooperation with China without any contradictions (see: the previous source). However, Beijing does not accept it. It wants to benefit from contradictions between Russia and the USA. China`s such maneuvers make each geopolitical players think. Germany, a leading nation of the EU, makes its conclusions on this.
Therefore, Berlin sees every possible attempt of the USA to cultivate relations with Beijing. Of course, such nation as Germany may think of how to keep and strengthen its positions. In particular, Germans are concerned about America`s spying activity.
Berlin has recently accused Washington of inclining German special services to take the US` side and gather information. After it transpired that Americans phone tapped all the European leaders, Berlin takes it more seriously. Experts focused their attention to the Merkel`s China trip after this event (see: Şahin Özşahin. Angela Merkel’in Çin ziyareti / ”Milliyet”, 12 July 2014).
The chancellor signed a few documents in Beijing. It is related mostly to the economic matters. China is set to purchase 100 helicopters from Germany. Germany`s businessmen plan to invest USD 12.8 billion in the economy of this country. The parties agreed to expand relations in new technologies. The Germans complained to the Chinese side about the disbalances in this field. Thus, the Chinese companies illegally buy and use Germans’ ideas.
In addition, both countries decided to combine their efforts in the nuclear medicine field. They intend to lift the energy cooperation to a new level. In total, the parties signed deals worth millions of dollars.
American factor: frameworks of independent policy
Specialists claim that the above-mentioned will strengthen economic ties between Germany and China. They say the cooperation will not be limited to the economy only. There are many geopolitical issues, which are important for both Berlin and Beijing. American analyst J. Nye looks at this problem mainly in the context of USA-EU-China relations (see: Joseph S. Nye. The Old World’s New Roles / ”Project Syndicate”, 10 July 2014).
According to him, China is set to usurp Europe’s global leadership role. Europeans are unable to respond to this with something serious. What they do is just “serve as marketing managers for their domestic businesses”. (see: the previous source). The only way out is to leave complex issues to the United States. More specifically, the EU is advised not to act on the China issue independently and remain alongside Washington.
In this regard, the policy pursued by the German chancellor serve completely other goals. Berlin seeks to take a special place in the Euroatlantic integration. The steps undertaken by Merkel are the direct testimony to this. But Washington warns that the EU must cap the export to China and not permit stealing of technologies since it causes the threat to the USA (see: the previous source).
We can feel the US` traditional ambitions here. Under the pretext of its own security, America hints at Germany`s developing relations with China only within certain limits. This issue as such means that the tension in Washington-Berlin relations will remain. America may heighten pressure on Berlin in order to totally control the situation. It has concrete pretexts for this.
The point is that China pursues the policy towards implementing deep change in the world`s geopolitical landscape. This process causes new transnational problems such as climate change, terrorism, computer crimes etc. America suggests as an argument the joint fight against such things. In reality, the main aim is to take control over Europe-China relations.
The Chinese policy of Germany increases the importance of the Russian factor for the EU. In this context, what is interesting is the fate of Europe-Russia relations. It becomes evident that deepening rift between Brussels and Moscow over the Ukraine issue is beneficial to neither of them. Then, the interesting issue may arise on the mastermind behind this conflict. Can China play a reconciliatory role? Given Beijing acts on the “do what you consider beneficial” principle, specialists do not tend to believe in likelihood of this option.
The above-mentioned allows concluding that China will try to take advantage of the US-EU-Russia contradictions. We may expect that Beijing will continue to maneuver in this direction exactly. In such a case, what are the prospects for China and Germany to get closer to each other? Even though experts do not give an exact answer to this question and some doubts remain. One thing is clear now: Europe`s policy in the Far East is different from that in America. It is noteworthy that each great power tries to establish special relations with China. Does it mean that it is impossible to stop Beijing? Maybe.
We should not forget that the USA has a global influence. America also has huge leverages to spark feud in the regions. For this reason, each super power, which builds strategic relations with China, has to take account of the American factor. In this respect, BRICS` plans to rise on a global scale are interesting. What are the capabilities of this organization, which affiliates both China and Russia? On the other hand, what impression does Germany`s Beijing policy create in the light of BRICS` economic policy? Answers to such kind of questions arouse a keen interest.