EU Leaders Harden Position on China, Move to Break Technology Dependency

Leaders from the European Union jointly expressed trepidation this week about Europe’s increasing economic dependence on China.

The foreign policy service of the EU said in a prepared statement that China’s communist leadership should be considered a competitor promoting “an alternative vision of the world order.”

The hardening stance of European leaders against China comes amid increasing concerns that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping is taking the nation in a far more authoritarian direction.

Xi delivered a speech on Oct. 16 in which he vowed never to renounce the use of force against Taiwan, which he claims is part of China, and called for greater security measures in China’s already immense state surveillance apparatus.

He is expected to receive a precedent-breaking third term in power this month, cementing his rule in the CCP as second in historical importance only to that of Mao Zedong.

EU Leaders Seek to Break Dependency on China

EU leaders had grown increasingly wary of the CCP since February, when Xi announced a “no limits” partnership with Russian leader Vladimir Putin shortly before the latter ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s war of conquest in Ukraine has forced many leaders in the EU to be more mindful of their nations’ dependencies, as much of Europe’s gas supply came from Russia. EU leaders now believe they need to form a united front to prevent a similar circumstance from arising with China.

“In the case of China, it is the risk of dependency on technologies and raw materials,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

She added that the EU learned its lesson from Russia, and would work to boost the production capacity of vital technologies and shift supply chains to more trustworthy suppliers.

Speaking outside of a meeting in Brussels, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin spoke similarly, saying that the EU would need to ensure that its supply of critical technologies is not held hostage by the CCP the way that gas had been held hostage by Russia.

“That doesn’t mean there can’t be any economic relations with China, but it means we shouldn’t be building that kind of strategic and critical dependencies in an authoritarian country,” Marin said.

“I think technology is key here. This might not be an issue today, but it certainly will be in the future.”

Marin added that the EU ought to promote stronger cooperation between democratic countries instead.

CCP Expansion Raises Fears About Port Deals

EU leaders’ discussion of the strategic problems posed by the CCP follows a push in the German government to reconsider some aspects of the trade relationship between it and China.

Germany’s ruling coalition government is currently considering whether it will allow a Chinese state-owned company Cosco to take partial control of a port terminal in Hamburg, near the coast of the North Sea.

The German government is currently divided on the issue, which has become something of a weathervane for how far Germany may be willing to go in order to toughen up against its largest trading partner.

China has purchased a number of deepwater ports in foreign countries as part of its effort to gain control of global shipping routes and increase the reach of its navy. One such port is in the Solomon Islands. Another is in Greece.

Unlike those two ports, however, the Hamburg deal would not result in China owning a majority stake in the entire port.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that the EU’s previous decisions to allow the sale of vital infrastructure to China were “strategic errors.”

From The Epoch Times

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