6A - Peter Yoon Group 7 China formally established...

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Peter Yoon Group 7 China formally established relations with the EU in 1975. The development of Sino-EU relations can roughly be divided into three phases since the establishment of diplomatic ties. The first phase was from 1975 to 1989, after China made the historical decision on domestic reform and opening to the outside world. During this period, the relationship remained relatively stable, which conformed to the common strategic interests of the two sides at the time. For the EU, it was an important strategic motive in terms of security to contain the former Soviet Union by engaging with China. Also, the EU was vying for access to the huge Chinese market. Through joint efforts, EU-China relations made considerable progresses and China gradually developed into an important partner of the EU. The second phase was from 1989 to 1998. In response to the shocking events in Tiananmen Square in 1989 the EU imposed an arms embargo on China imposed on human rights grounds. Further sanctions involved cutting off the supply of new development aid, loan guarantees and ceasing the cooperation in military industry with China. Consequently, the EU-China relations nose-dived. While the embargo was in direct response the grave human rights abuses committed by the Chinese government, the end of history, as described by Fukayama, meant that Soviet Union no longer posed a threat to Western Europe, so China’s value in the western strategies was decreased somewhat. Since 1998, the EU has formulated a policy of “Building a Comprehensive Partnership with China”, putting forward that EU-China relations should be upgraded to the same important level as EU relations with the US, Russia and Japan. In April 1998, leaders of China and EU held their first bilateral Summit Meeting in London and issued a joint statement indicating that China and EU would “establish a long-term, stable and constructive partnership oriented towards the 21st century”, and decided to establish an annual Summit Meeting mechanism between the leaders of China and EU. EU-China relations have grown considerably over the past decade. China is now the EU’s second trading partner (after the US) and in 2004 the EU became China’s biggest partner. Recognizing Beijing’s importance, the European Security Strategy (ESS) argued that the EU should develop a ‘strategic partnership with China’. At the European Council summit in Rome in 2003, the leaders of the various EU member states declared their intention to lift said embargo. This intention was met with intense opposition from across the Atlantic as well as global human rights organizations. In light of this opposition, lifting the embargo was delayed. China’s position in the next 20 years is of paramount importance to the EU. China’s economic rise has had major international implications. It has already changed the balance of power in Eastern and Southern Asia with China becoming the major competitor to the US’s prominence in the region.
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