China shows no military threat to Europe (MEP)


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China Europe Photo: IC

Editor’s Note:

“China has shown no military hostility towards the EU. Most Europeans see China as a necessary ally or partner. The EU spends more on militarization than China. Where is the proof that China is the aggressor? This was recently tweeted by Clare Daly (Daly), Irish politician and outgoing member of the European Parliament (MEP). Daly questioned the “myth of the Chinese threat” and urged the EU to cooperate with China. Why did she say it? How should the EU maintain its strategic autonomy? World Time (GT) Reporter Li Qingqing told Daly about these issues.

GT: What prompted you to make these comments on Twitter? Who do you think is touting China’s military threat to the EU?

Daly: I made these remarks in the context of a discussion in the European Parliament’s Security and Defense Committee on “the military strengthening of China”. This is an issue that is increasingly discussed in the European Parliament as the EU follows the United States in its drive to turn China into someone we can wage war with, a particular mantra from Joe Biden. , but a call that suits the EU arms industry. lobbyists who have a lot of influence in Brussels. I am opposed to militarism everywhere and I regret that China is spending more money in this area, but I thought it was important to address the fact that according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute , China’s military spending of $ 252 billion in 2020 was $ 21 billion less than that spent by Western European countries alone on their armed forces; With a Chinese population of 1.4 billion people compared to 197 million in Western Europe, this means that the military expenditure per capita in Western Europe amounts to 1,392 dollars, while the military expenditure per capita in China is of about $ 180, or 12% of Western European spending. Meanwhile, per capita spending in the United States is around $ 2,300. This puts China’s “military build-up” into perspective. Not only that, but in an environment increasingly hostile to China, no military aggression has been demonstrated towards the EU by the country, and a European Council on Foreign Relations investigation released the week of our meeting revealed that 41% of Europeans see China as either a necessary ally or partner, with only 12% seeing it as an adversary, so it is clear that ordinary Europeans do not support this dynamic.

GT: The European Parliament voted to freeze discussions on the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), what is your position on this decision and what impact will it have on the EU? Some say China “really wants the CAI deal, but they miscalculated and now continue to underestimate the European Parliament’s determination to defend European interests and values.” What is your opinion on this?

Daly: I was opposed to Parliament’s decision to freeze discussions on the CAI. I do not think that this decision was taken in the interests of European citizens. China is our biggest trading partner and it will continue, but Parliament’s decision shows how aggressive rhetoric and sentiment and tit-for-tat sanctions can build up that is not in anyone’s best interests. I don’t think China is shaking at the Parliament’s decision, but I think these tit-for-tat sanctions are not beneficial and I think China would be the “bigger person” to take the first step to lift them. , denying those with anti-China hostilities an opportunity for an audience.

GT: The CAI is a reciprocal agreement between China and the EU, and it took seven years of negotiations to achieve this accomplishment. How do you think the agreement will evolve next?

Daly: I think the deal will continue because the EU Member States, represented by the European Council, and the European Commission as well, understand that it is in their economic interest to continue doing business with China. Following American rhetoric might not only continue to undermine the situation, but also make the EU more dependent on the United States when its interests are best served by pursuing an independent path. The reality is that American supremacy is waning. This process will continue, but there is a danger in rhetoric as their influence wanes. The bite of a dying snake can be the most poisonous, so extra effort should be made for dialogue and diplomacy, no matter how difficult.

GT: The EU has often followed the US in playing the human rights card in international relations, although they are not qualified to do so due to the deterioration of human rights in states United and many other western countries. How do you see European human rights diplomacy?

Daly: Human rights have been militarized in an unprecedented way in the last period. I have regularly criticized the EU’s constant discussions of human rights violations outside its borders, and always against countries outside the US favorites list. This exposes the concern as a geopolitical blow, rather than a genuine concern for human rights. Why are we talking about Chinese military reinforcement without mentioning Israel or Saudi Arabia, which respectively devote 5.6% and 8.4% of their GDP to militarism and engage in war crimes against the peoples of Palestine , Gaza and Yemen? The EU’s defense of human rights abroad is not only one-sided, but in stark contrast to its timidity to deal with human rights violations within its own borders, the imprisonment of Catalan politicians by Spain, police violence and discriminatory legislation against Muslims in France, and so on – on these issues they are silent! We always talk about the importance of press freedom, but the greatest press freedom case of our generation, the prosecution of Julian Assange for exposing American war crimes, cannot even be mentioned.

GT: You once questioned the “myth of the Chinese threat” in an interview with RT. Is your position on issues related to China and Russia a minority in the European Parliament? What kind of pressure are you facing because of this?

Daly: I expressed my concern at the growing anti-Chinese and anti-Russian sentiment which is exacerbated on every occasion in the European Parliament. This is a minority view in Parliament, but Parliament is very out of touch with European citizens anyway, so this is not unusual. European citizens do not want precious resources to be wasted on war and militarism as the planet struggles to deal with climate change and pandemics. We need global cooperation, not confrontation. I have received racist slurs and slurs from MEPs on these issues, and the usual lazy journalism trying to distort the positions I have articulated. This is nothing new. It is difficult for a journalist to tackle the status quo and be successful in mainstream media.

GT: The United States tries to build an anti-China alliance, while the EU pursues strategic autonomy. Faced with American pressure to jointly suppress China, how should the EU maintain its strategic autonomy?

Daly: The EU should adopt an independent position in all its relations with third countries. It is of no benefit to the EU to stifle US foreign policy, in fact it is to our detriment with US interference trying to block projects like Nordstream 2. This is to our detriment. only serves to make us more dependent on the United States and reduce our straying from trade and investment opportunities with many important countries around the world. In many cases, international positions taken by the United States are covered by the EU. An independent EU arguing for a return to international law and an end to destructive and illegal sanctions would be of great benefit to global relations and the citizens of the EU.

GT: In your opinion, what kind of relationship should the EU seek with China and with the US to best serve the interests of the EU?

Daly: The EU should work economically and diplomatically with the US and China, without favoring or excluding either.

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