Source: Global Times
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo travels to the UK and Denmark from Monday to Wednesday. To put more pressure on Europe, his visit aims to persuade the two countries to cooperate with US strategy, and to expand the ban on Chinese high-tech giant Huawei as well as on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Maintaining sound relations with Europe is vital to China, but it also meets the interests of the European countries. Given that the US is roping in Europe against China while China is stabilizing its ties with European countries, China has more room and leverage – the Asian country is also supported by the inherent logic of international relations.
The US is playing geopolitical tricks against China. However, the geopolitical structure itself does not support Europe joining hands with the US to contain China. Europe, which cannot lead the world anymore, has adopted a more tolerant attitude toward China’s rise. Trade and economic cooperation can bridge the geographic distance between China and Europe, with mutual benefits dominating their ties. China-US tensions are to some extent conducive to Europe, freeing it from taking sides, but instead giving it more strategic space.
China’s most important task is to ease ideological conflicts with Europe. The US has used ideological differences as its finest tool to mobilize European countries to join its anti-China camp. Such a tool is widely used within the West and is quite alluring to ordinary Europeans. This makes easing ideological differences with Europe even more important for China.
China and Europe have different political systems and traditions. It is inevitable for the two to have ideological differences. China needs to keep these differences from escalating into disputes or conflicts. In particular, China should avoid ideological confrontation with Europe.
European culture does not exclude ideological diversity. Respecting sovereignty, objecting foreign interference, respecting the UN and multilateralism can be seen as common causes of China and Europe.
As Europe-US contradictions intensify with Europe’s practical interests suppressed by Washington, Europeans should strengthen their autonomy and independence to safeguard their rights and interests. Ideology is linked to interests. With the US and Europe having greater disputes over interests, they will fail to have an iron-solid consensus on ideology.
The ideological conflicts between the US and China and those between Europe and China look the same, but the motivation and the interests involved are very different.
China has different values and a different political system from those of Europe. But China does not export its ideology. The ideological characteristics of China that have connections with the country’s traditions serve only China’s development and stability rather than being outward as a tool to try to change the world. This has created room for China and Europe to ease their ideological differences.
China needs more communication with Europe to make the latter aware that China’s moves are necessary in accordance with the country’s specific development stage. We can adjust some of our moves – Europeans are sensitive and regard some measures as infiltration – to improve ties with Europe.
We need to refute and issue countermeasures to Europe’s extreme anti-China remarks and moves. Meanwhile, we need to accept the reality that this is Europe. We should respect the pluralism in European societies. When China hawks in the West take an upper hand, we should be patient as well – they won’t always echo.
China needs to be wise and magnanimous in easing ideological tensions with European countries. This is necessary, urgent, and feasible. Arguments over human rights are innocuous, but we should not let them become an excuse of some malicious individuals to define the incompatibility of China and Europe. There is something China can do, while cooperation from the European side can be anticipated.
The US is adjusting its foreign policy to suppress China. We should follow up with our own countermeasures. Improving ties with Europe will put more pressure on the US. US political elites’ attempt to start a new cold war is a move of injustice, and they will eventually have to pay for it.