The Ides of April
In any relationship, choosing Alaska for a first encounter doesn’t exactly offer great prospects for a thaw. The Chinese authorities have acknowledged that they do not expect a single appointment to fix the long list of bilateral problems. “That is why we do not have too high expectations nor are we deceiving ourselves with this,” said the Chinese ambassador in Washington, Cui Tiankai. It is, in fact, a trial between the two powers. The real cards will be put on the table as of April 14, when the US Congress will present a legislative proposal on China endorsed by the two parties, as just announced by the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez.
It is not a simple task. Despite the rhetoric and hard line exhibited by Donald Trump in his four years in office, China’s high dependence on the US economy has remained and threatens the technological supremacy of the world’s leading economy. Last week, Washington included four Chinese technology companies – including Huawei and ZTE, two of the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers – on the list of companies that pose a threat to its national security. At the same time, the global shortage of these components has forced to paralyze entire production lines of large automobile companies, such as Ford or Volkswagen. In retaliation, Huawei has announced that it will charge big tech companies like Apple for the use of its 5G patents. Add up and go on.
There is no other issue that currently achieves such a high consensus among Republicans and Democrats as China. But the US authorities have already found that imposing sanctions or vetoes is not enough to tackle such a complex relationship. For the president of the Asian Association, the former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, this calls for a “different model” than the one the US authorities have used since World War II, a model that will have to take into account the interests of its allies in order to take into account success.
Both the European Union and the United States have reached the same conclusions: the Asian power is a systemic rival for their political and economic model, but at the same time an essential partner for growth and climate change. Australia has already learned the cost of trying to maintain its political independence from China. After Canberra called for an independent investigation into the origin of the coronavirus, Beijing has progressively imposed tariffs on various Australian products that are choking the country’s exports.
Despite Beijing’s obvious support for the military junta that carried out a coup in Myanmar in February – and which explains the attacks against Chinese companies in the country – there have been few voices that have demanded that China play an active role in solving the problems. the crisis. There are many interests at stake. 95% of the tin imported in 2020 by China, and used in the soldering of computer circuits, came from the former Burma, as reported by Reuters. Also half of its rare earth concentrates, a fundamental component to build electric motors, wind power generators or industrial robots. Deep down, everything is now Chinese politics.