Europe Looking East?: Xi Jinping's Visit Signals Changing Paradigm

Europe Looking East?: Xi Jinping's Visit Signals Changing Paradigm

Amidst the catastrophic conflicts affecting the globe, a new development that has garnered some traction is Chinese President Xi Jinping's Europe visit.

Juviraj AnchilUpdated: Tuesday, May 07, 2024, 02:10 PM IST
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Xi Jinpng and Emmanuel Macron | Yoan Valat/Reuters

There is no shortage of news in geopolitics and global trade, as both of these elements are intertwined. Every happening in the vestibules of power is bound to have an impact on the corridors of trade.

Xi Jinping in Europe

Amidst the catastrophic conflicts affecting the globe, a new development that has garnered some traction is Chinese President Xi Jinping's Europe visit. This comes at a crucial juncture in the ever-changing paradigm of global politics. For starters, two, among the dozens of conflicts that are plaguing the world, continue to create havoc. The conflict in Gaza and Ukraine, the ripple effects that they are having, and the impact, that they could have if the war rages, are insurmountable.

Therefore, under such circumstances, the involvement of China, the second largest economy in the world, and which side it chooses to pick, needless to say, has consequences. While the Asian giant has maintained its decades-old policy for a peaceful, two-state solution In the Middle East, its involvement in Ukraine, in Europe, is far more direct, and the repercussions, therefore much more grave.

Macron has been on an all out rampage, bellowing the need for European independence and sovereignty.

Macron has been on an all out rampage, bellowing the need for European independence and sovereignty. | AFP

Europe Could 'Die'

In such a situation, Xi Jinping's comment indicating an intention to refrain from the Russia-Ukraine saga is deeply consequential.

In addition, another image that garnered a lot of traction was Xi's photograph with French President Emmanuel Macron. This is crucial, as Macron has been on an all out rampage, bellowing the need for European independence and sovereignty. In one of his statements, he even stated that Europe could 'die'. This is also an indication of European scepticism over the reliability of the United States. While being staunch allies, the US and the old continent do not exactly agree with each other on many issues.

Issues, that in particular, jeopardise Europe. One of the points of contention that has irked Europe, a continent vying with a drawn-out economic slowdown, is the Biden Administration's IRA, or Inflation Reduction Act. This policy is seen as America's major addition to the ongoing global protectionist game. In addition to American capabilities, that just cannot be matched by the Europeans, this act has further diminished Europe's ability to compete.

Although China itself is dabbling in the protectionist paradigm of politics, it still remains an important player for the whole globe, particularly for Europe. China, apart from being the factory of the world, is also one of the major markets for European companies to sell their products.

Many polls have suggested Donald Trump's return to the Oval Office.

Many polls have suggested Donald Trump's return to the Oval Office. | File Pic

Anxious Europe Looks At China

Under such circumstances, cordial relations with Xi's China is more crucial for Europe, amid growing economic and security concerns. On one hand, its energy and trade requirements have been in limbo, with major economies including Germany and Macron's own France struggling with myriad issues, its is also concerned about a potential second Trump presidency, as many polls suggest Donald Trump's much dreaded return to the Oval Office.

As these issues concern the whole of Europe at large, Xi, apart from Macron, is also expected to meet Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vučić, Hungary’s controversial prime minister, Viktor Orbán, and most crucially of all, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

 China, itself is going through a much-discussed slowdown, and to recover from it, apart from internal changes, it also needs external partners

China, itself is going through a much-discussed slowdown, and to recover from it, apart from internal changes, it also needs external partners | Image credit: Wikipedia

In addition, Europe's fledgeling green commitments, the need to fight for better alternatives also make Europe's need for a less-strained relationship with China crucial. Xi Jinping's Euro Trip is full of potential and consequences, as this is one of the biggest multi-nation tours that the Chinese president has resorted to after the lockdown-ridden pandemic years. China, itself is going through a much-discussed slowdown, and to recover from it, apart from internal changes, it also needs external partners, making this trip pertinent not just today but for tomorrow as well.

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