The Yin and the Yang

There's a balance in world affairs. That's what the concept of yin and yang is about. The Chinese feel Europe lacks a strategic vision and suffers from internal discord, which impedes its credibility in world affairs. China desires a more united European voice as part of its conception of a multipolar future world order. China has a sophisticated approach to Europe. This includes a clear understanding of the European Union in institutional terms and of its major member states (let's not forget that China maintains over 100 people in its Permanent Mission to the European Union), as well as what China perceives as European civilization in general. Yet, the economic and political relationship between Europe and China are currently best defined in a bilateral framework with individual member states. Nevertheless, the EU as a whole matters increasingly for China in trade and other economic issues. To some Chinese, however, Europe looks defensive, introspective, decadent and tired, too prosperous still to take risks, to complacent to accept change, a continent that has lost its ambition and its place in the world. For the Chinese, only at the level of the EU can the member states expect to have influence and make a difference to the future international order, both in economic and geopolitical terms and can find the strengths necessary for a strategic partnership.

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