Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) China’s current oscillation between trade relations with the EU and support for Putin’s aggression is unsustainable and Beijing has to hear this clearly from Brussels. Perhaps our new counter-pressure instrument will “help” China to decide.
After this EU-China Summit, it is obvious that China is dealing with a serious dilemma. The Asian great power is trying to maintain its extremely profitable economic relations with the European Union, which is its only chance to avoid a recession. At the same time, however, China is hinting at support for Putin and his war, trying to manoeuvre against NATO and not be alone in its global opposition against the US.
It is worth reminding that China is also a country that feels it can bully EU Member States through a mix of economic and diplomatic pressure and secondary sanctions. Yes, I am talking about cutting off Lithuania from Chinese markets, because they dared t o open a Taiwanese embassy in Vilnius. Even before Putin shattered the long loved fairy-tale of the “Change through Trade”, the EU was finding it increasingly difficult to work with authoritarian regimes that break international law on a daily basis. China, unfortunately, is among such countries.
We must make it clear to the Chinese political planners that this double game will not work. Our anti-coercion economic instrument thus comes just in time. If it is quickly applicable and immune to the veto of individual Member States, the China-Lithuania situation won’t repeat – and it will deter future activities like that.