It is expected that Italy’s new ambassador to China, Jorge Toledo Albignana will arrive in Beijing early this coming September 1. His position as the Ambassador of the European Union to China is one of Spain’s top diplomatic positions. On Monday, he was at the Equestrian Club of Barcelona where EU diplomats are gathering to discuss issues related to his arrival and new role in China. One of the main points of discussion will be how on Earth can the world order that emerged as a result of World War II continue if collaboration between Europe and Asia diminishes.
Sometimes the answer to that question is yes, and sometimes it’s no. China can work as a rival or a partner.
It’s important and necessary for China to rule the world. Without your help, we won’t be able to tackle global challenges like pandemics and climate change. When it comes to an agreement with Iran on atomic weapons, it’s an important partner.
The term “commercial” defines it as a type of competitor.
China has the second largest economy in the world and, when looking at the value that can be done with the dollar, it is the first.
Do you consider us to be commercial competitors?
It’s difficult to track trade between EU countries and China, but it is estimated that more than 2,000 euros per day flow through the global economy. Let’s work together to bring more transparency in this area by negotiating with each other so that European companies have the same benefits as Chinese companies.
Is there a risk of separation?
The trend of disconnection has started to show a different pattern. As the pandemic continues, countries are showing that they’re unwilling to rely solely on materials like rare piles of earth and technologies with certain risk factors. The world is really interconnected and we depend on each other.
How can I avoid or take advantage of industry-specific competition?
The EU has listed China as a systemic rival because our values and political systems are very different. We don’t want your business to export your model, but we don’t push for regime change in China either.
NATO is accusing China of undermining the security, values, and interests of its allies.
China is no longer playing for time and hiding its power. It took a few years, but China has been consistently showing its strength, especially in the South China Sea. In order to avoid future conflicts, we need to take notice of what they’re doing. At the same time, we can’t ignore the fact that China is violating international law by ruling islands where it doesn’t belong. This does not mean that we shouldn’t agree with their plans.
What do you think of President Xi Jinping? He made an alliance with Russia, today the main enemy of Europe and NATO.
Now, it’s time to come to terms with the other great power, President Xi.
Putin’s ally Xi has clashed with the West.
China is not happy with what’s going on in Ukraine right now, and they are insisting that the territorial unity of the country is fundamental to China. Chinese President Xi Jinping has been pushing for this kind of ideology, which could possibly lead to war between Russia and China. Therefore, for consistency, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine should be condemned.
But he doesn’t. Instead, he threatens Taiwan with force.
The annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia has sparked a high level of reaction from many countries around the world, including China. When asked about whether or not this will show in Taiwan, the Chinese government was very surprised to see such a united response that came from many different countries.
What is the EU likely to do at a time when China has attacked Taiwan without warning?
The European Union does not want to defend Taiwan’s independence, but for a peaceful transition. As long as there’s one China, the European Union, the US, and allies like Russia are going to take strong action on military aggression.
Why does the EU seem to be doing a worse job than the US?
The EU has developed a unique geopolitical profile, with the largest market size in the world and the most powerful regulatory authority. They use this power to become an international player on the geopolitical stage. It is true that they are allies of the US, and their countries have benefited greatly from American intervention before; however, that does not mean that they agree with Washington on everything. The EU recognizes multilateralism, as one of its core values.
The Chinese economy is not competitive anymore. The goal for some of our competitors is to take market share and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen.
China has lifted nearly 800 million people out of poverty by moving to a free market, not communism. However, as with any country that develops very rapidly, there comes a point when it cannot continue to grow as rapidly. As the population becomes more congested, labor becomes more expensive, competitiveness is lost.
But now China is producing more products that are worth the purchase price.
Nowadays, textiles used to make up a large part of the economy. However, that industry has completely changed as new technologies have been created. Now, the real estate sector is holding up about 30% of the GDP. Banks are having problems financing building construction because there’s a potential for a crisis at any moment.
Japan is a country that has seen a lot of changes in the past. The year was 1990, and he was the secretary of the embassy in Tokyo, which is currently responsible for a number of countries embassies.
When Japan was introduced to me in 1995, its per capita income was 50% higher than the US. Today, it is the other way around. The US has 50% more than Japan.
In what way was there a demographic reason?
An important reason for China’s low birth rate was that the population, as it is now aging, has more people dying than being born. In Japan, every year there are 550,000 fewer people. That country has 125 million inhabitants. They’ve gone down by almost 127,000 in three years. This means by 2050 that country will only have 80 million inhabitants. The Nikkei reached 36,000 points back in 1989 and they haven’t recovered since then. The Nikkei lost ground at 1/32nd the rate it had previously and they’re still struggling to keep up today.
Can China have a recession with all the progress that it’s made?
When social and political freedoms are sacrificed for economic prosperity, can we still maintain the cultural and social contract? That’s one big question with a lot of potential solutions. But there’s no easy answer to that, especially when it comes from China. I wouldn’t know anyway.