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In Good Morning from London #440 observations were made about “the significance of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s first state visit to Beijing for talks with President Xi Jinping. It marked the end of the current phase of Western attempts to maintain a show of unity towards China”.

The US sees things differently and talks up the meeting yesterday (30 November 2022) in Washington of Foreign Ministers from the NATO Alliance. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “What we talked about today is . . . working to adapt in concrete ways to meet the challenge,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters after the meeting in Bucharest. “What we are seeing and what we are doing . . . is looking into the areas where China poses a challenge . . . and taking appropriate steps accordingly.” Blinken identified the protection of infrastructure and using export controls to protect Western technology. “What I have seen… is a growing convergence in the approach to the challenges that China poses,” Blinken told reporters. “I heard that convergence loud and clear this morning . . . everything I heard today reinforces that.”

But there is a “but”. As the FT makes clear “Many Nato countries, including states such as Germany — which have strong economic ties with China — are less hawkish towards Beijing than the US, while Hungary voiced resistance to some of Blinken’s proposals in the Bucharest discussion, two people present told the Financial Times..” Blinken would like us to believe that NATO and Western Europe are rock solid when it comes to China but two issues need to be borne in mind. First the recent visit to Beijing by Chancellor Scholz who broke ranks with other European leaders and met with President Xi Jinping. And, second, the visit today, 1 December 2022, by European Union Council President, Charles Michel for talks with President Xi Jinping to address the economic imbalance between the two trading giants. As Associated Press notes – over the past years as China increased its global clout, the EU has increasingly come to see the nation as a strategic rival. Scholz and Michel show it is better to talk and engage than to confront and isolate.

#xijinping #beijing

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