United front: To provide a solid strategy for the West


The West needs to show and present a united front to Beijing in order for the European Union (EU) to sit down with China and go from there, the idea that Munich Security Conference Chair Wolfgang Ischinger needs the EU to consider.

MUNICH — Criticizing the EU policy on China, Mr Ischinger says the bloc must speak as one so that Brussels and Washington can coordinate approach to Beijing.

In an interview with DW News, Mr Ischinger points out relations with China are at the heart of a new era of “competition and cooperation” described in the Munich Security Report 2021.

He advises EU leaders to define areas where they can agree on policy towards China so they can coordinate with the United States on a common strategy. He shows the distinction between the U.S. approach vis a vis that of the EU.

“We know that the United States has a China policy,” says Ischinger. “They know what they want to achieve with China… Does the European Union speak with one voice on China? Can our partner in Washington define what is the EU position on China? Not really so far.”

He says issues could range “from artificial intelligence to military to Hong Kong to human rights, to trade to Huawei and 5G and cyber interference and hacking.”

Aware that greater cooperation with China is needed, both the EU and the U.S. must set a policy that ensures the West can compete on the highest level at the same time.

“We need to figure out the proper way of balancing between areas of cooperation and areas of pushback,” he says. Areas such as climate change and arms control are top fields where continued cooperation with Beijing is essential.

“Power in the 21st century means competing in high technology, competing in artificial intelligence, competing in the power over data. Who controls data will be controlling the world.”  (SA/Headline PH)


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