CFSP Case Study: The EU and China •The basic aim of CFSP: The EU speaks with one voice in the international communityThe EU-China relationship dates back to the 1970’s when the two signed a trade and economic cooperation agreement after China opened its markets to the outside world (the agreement was updated in 1985). This economic partnership came to an abrupt halt after the Chinese government ruthlessly suppressed the pro-democracy student demonstration in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Acting together, the European Council condemned China’s actions and suspended high-level bilateral meetings, postponed new cooperation projects and cut existing programs, most notably placing an arms embargo on China. However, pragmatism soon triumphed and relations normalized. While the EU and China have grown into valuable trading partners, conflict still exists between upholding human rights and democracy and enhancing bilateral trade. •The Goal: If the EU speaks with one voice, it will have greater weightThe EU aims to speak to China with a single unified voice, but unfortunately, does not wield the power and influence that one would expect a collection of 27 European states to warrant. Arguably, the arms embargo and other sanctions put in place after 1989 would have been meaningless without the backing of the USA, a hard power. According to Dinan, China has a habit of playing favorites between the various member states, which makes it more difficult for the EU to act as one when dealing with China.
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