In 2018, surprising new constellations emerged. China is currently confronted with a coalition that has never existed before. The US, Japan and the E.U. are exerting joint pressure on Beijing to achieve changes in China’s economic system. The European Union may not share Donald Trump’s rhetoric, but it agrees with some key elements of his economic policy goals. The crucial requests of this unprecedented alliance are the abolishment of hidden subsidies and forced technology transfer. Will that be possible? Can China both accept the conditions imposed by the US and its allies and maintain its economic system? Significant players in the European Union have altered their perception of China and are now willing to enter a conflict. German industry, for instance, today supports restrictions for Chinese investors. When pushed, the E.U. will support Washington.
Heribert Dieter is Visiting Professor and Director of Policy Research, Asia Global Institute, the University of Hong Kong. Since 2001, he has been Senior Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin.