Xi’s Probing for Cracks in the EU and NATO China’s assertive foreign policy

China’s assertive foreign policy under President Xi Jinping has raised concerns among Western nations, particularly the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Xi’s goal to assert Chinese influence globally and strengthen China’s position as a global superpower has led to an increase in Chinese activities in both Europe and NATO member states. This assertiveness has drawn attention to potential vulnerabilities within the EU and NATO, as China seeks to exploit divisions and undermine the unity of these organizations.

Increasing Chinese influence in Europe

China’s increasing influence in Europe can be seen through its investments and economic partnerships with European countries. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched by China in 2013, aims to connect Asia with Europe and Africa through infrastructure development and economic cooperation. Through the BRI, China has made significant investments in European countries, particularly in Eastern and Southern Europe, which has raised concerns about economic dependence on China and the potential for Chinese influence over European politics.

The Belt and Road Initiative

 The Belt and Road Initiative is a key tool through which China extends its influence in Europe. By investing in infrastructure projects such as railways, ports, and highways, China not only gains economic leverage but also shapes the political landscape in these countries. These investments often come with strings attached, including clauses that favor Chinese companies and require adherence to Chinese policies. This has led to concerns about European countries becoming economically dependent on China and potentially compromising their own interests and values.

EU’s vulnerability to Chinese economic pressure

The EU has become increasingly vulnerable to Chinese economic pressure due to its reliance on Chinese markets and investments. China is one of the EU’s largest trading partners, and many European companies have significant investments in China. This economic interdependence creates a situation where China can exert pressure on the EU through economic means. For example, China has used trade restrictions and investment withdrawals as a tool to influence EU member states’ policies and silence criticism of its human rights record.

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