In an april 20 article published on the Website of the German China Platform, Berthold Kuhn, a political scientist at the Free University of Berlin, said that sanctions could not be considered to improve EU-China relations and thus create opportunities to exert influence on China. The full text is summarized below:
The EUROPEAN Union has lashed out at China at a time when its reputation is damaged and its actions restricted. What is the significance and role of the EU in imposing politically motivated sanctions on China? Many analyses suggest that the effects of sanctions are often misjudged. We cannot assume that sanctions will lead to improved EU-China relations, thus creating opportunities to exert influence on China.
Some German experts on China have shown surprising arrogance and naivety in dealing with China. The consequences of German and European foreign policy, in particular the imposition of sanctions, have not yet been fully predicted and publicly debated. Germany needs to change the paradigm of dealing with China, take due account of China’s influence in world politics, and develop sensible rather than confrontational strategies to create the possibility for Europe to gain more of its world political influence.
China has hit back harder at Europe and Germany over EU sanctions on March 22. In addition to several politicians, European research institutions have also been affected, including the Mercator China Institute in Germany. Experts who have worked in China for many years know that the Mercator Institute’s analysis is influenced by confrontational foreign and security policy arguments.
The sanctions have dealt a severe blow to many young scholars: they have successfully graduated from the Mercator Institute for China and often conduct high-quality analysis, but they may be naïve in terms of the institute’s anti-China stance. Without access to China, the institute looks promising. Young scholars and business experts, in particular, may distance themsies themsies from the Institute’s cooperation.
The idea that sanctions can be used against China seems completely out of touch with the framework of world politics. Sanctions have led China to step up its diplomatic offensive.
China will continue to rise in science, technology, economy and politics. China’s contribution to global growth is likely to exceed 60 per cent next year. China will continue to expand its influence at the United Nations and in the G20. In general, we can use China’s commitment to multilateralism as a starting point for an open mind to global problems.
China’s active role in the United Nations underscores its commitment to strengthening global governance.
China’s path to global influence will be criticized and strongly resisted by Western countries, particularly the United States, the European Union, Australia and Canada. But bilateral confrontations with African and Latin American countries are unlikely to escalate, and because the United States is losing influence there. If the EU continues to confront China, it is more likely to suffer huge economic losses and lose world political influence. I strongly recommend that the EU pursue firm economic policies in the direction of sustainable development and carbon neutrality to impress China and meet its own demands.