Jacinda Ardern will get a very warm welcome in Beijing based on immense respect for her and for New Zealand. Xi Jin-Ping has just returned from a very successful visit to Europe, joining Italy to the Belt and Road initiative and buying 300 jets from Airbus. Pepe Escobar outlines the implications for Eurasia. Much food for thought.
Xi signed the Belt and Road initiative with Italy, and met Macron, Merkel and Juncker in Paris, not openly happy about being gazumped. But the purchase of 300 Airbus jets by China helped soothe matters.
Escobar sums up Xi’s approach:
…the promises are quite telling – on three fronts.
1) The emphasis on multilateralism – “strong and efficient.” That’s not exactly Trumpian rhetoric.
2) Common action with Beijing on climate change and biodiversity.
3) An economic-trade partnership that respects mutual interests. That is, in fact, New Silk Roads-BRI official policy since the beginning, in 2013.
So when we compare the different strategies by Rome and Paris, Xi has, in fact, come out with a win-win.
Nothing wrong with any of that in my view. And his conclusion:
EU businesses, if not political Eurocrats, are starting to realize that Europe cannot afford to become a battlefield in Cold War 2.0 between the US and Russia, cannot afford to become a hostage of Washington tearing up international law – see, for instance, the destruction of the Iran nuclear deal and recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as part of Israel – and cannot afford to become a victim of Washington’s trade whims.
It’s no wonder that slowly but surely, the EU is shifting its priorities to the East – including to its “systemic rival.”
Huawei also gets a mention. Xi visited Monaco which has already signed up Huawei 5G “to get a share of the luxury market.” Other reports indicate as Escobar does the the “Trump blockade of Huawei fizzles in European 5G rollout.” It might be another case of our spy agencies looking the wrong way.
And finally I have no doubt that Jacinda will raise New Zealand’s concerns about human rights in China firmly and fearlessly and will not lose any respect in so doing.