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medical supplies

Onshoring medical supply chains – not a good idea

By Antti Tulonen

6 July 2020

As China, the factory of the world, went into lock-down in February, the French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was among the first to call for “relocalising” supply chains for key industries as lack of critical parts hampered car and other production lines in Europe. Soon after, it was the alarming gaps in medical supplies that hit the headlines. By May, joining the chorus of Macron and other national politicians, even the Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton was saying that globalization may have "gone too far" for medical supplies as well as other industries. Arguably, the dramatic medical shortages in crisis added much of the emotional weight to the call for more ‘strategic sovereignty’ that otherwise could have too strong a ring of protectionism for many among the free trade champions in the EU.

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ursula, summit

Tough talking at the EU–China summit

By Fraser Cameron

30 June 2020

On 22 June, the first summit took place between the new EU leadership team, headed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel, and China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, but there was little time for small talk. One official remarked, ‘the gloves were off from the start’ with no attempt to secure a traditional joint statement, let alone a joint press conference.

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Soldiers on border, Credit: Flickr, BMN Network

India-China Mistrust Continues

By Ishaansh Singh

20 June 2020

The latest India-China confrontation involving several fatalities is a reminder that their long-running border disputes are far from settled. Mutual distrust has characterised relations between the two nuclear-armed Asian giants since they went to war in 1962. At the same time they remain important trading partners.

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Hong Kong protest (Credit: wikimedia commons)

National Security Law, CCP versus Hong Kong

By Catarina Rogado

9 June 2020

It is widely believed that President Xi Jinping has used the cover of the Covid-19 crisis to introduce the contentious new national security legislation for Hong Kong. Beijing was clearly frustrated at the long-running demonstrations in Hong Kong last year following the introduction of an equally contentious extradition bill and hoped that the world’s attention would be focused on tackling the pandemic rather than Hong Kong.

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Multilateralism, flags

EU-Asia should defend multilateralism

By Fraser Cameron

27 May 2020

Relations between the EU and Asia face an uncertain future as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Unlike after 2008-09, when there was a coordinated global response to the financial crisis led by the US, there has been no such response to Covid-19. States have turned inwards, closing borders and placing an emphasis on national as opposed to cooperative solutions. A bitter propaganda war between the US and China has also had a negative impact on global cooperation. The implications of Covid-19 are likely to be far-reaching and will affect the balance of global power, economic structures, the role of multilateral agencies, patterns of social interaction and ways of work. Much will depend on the trajectory of the pandemic but governments will wish to mitigate the huge costs of the economic shutdown as soon as possible. Although national governments will give priority to restoring their own economies they will soon learn that this can only be effective by global cooperation. In the absence of traditional US global leadership, there is now an opportunity for the EU and Asia to demonstrate the benefits of a cooperative approach to international relations.

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Wolf Warrior

Will China Rein in its Wolves?

By Antti Tulonen

22 May 2020

The backlash to the China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy, brought about by Xi Jinping’s call for ‘fighting spirit’ among Chinese diplomats in September 2019, continues to mount. “Over these months China has lost Europe”, said Reinhard Bütikofer, the Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to China, in April summing up the sentiment shared by many. Since then, the criticism has only become louder. China’s pressuring of EEAS to water down its report on China’s disinformation campaign and the last-minute censorship of the op-ed by the EU ambassadors in China have only added to the slew of national level examples of ‘wolf warriors’ in action.

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Covid-19 - Lessons from East Asia

Covid-19 - Lessons from East Asia

By Jan Willem Blankert

5 May 2020

In stark contrast to East Asia, Europe has paid a heavy price for complacency, neglect and hubris in responding to Covid-19.

European countries started locking down in March, a full six weeks after the complete lockdown of Wuhan. Many doctors, politicians and the public thought Covid-19 would remain confined to China and its Asian neighbours. Few paid attention to the WHO warning on 31 January when it declared the virus “a global public health threat” or even when the first cases were reported in Europe.

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Moon Jae In

Korean elections and the EU

By Antti Tulonen

17 April 2020

Riding on its Covid-19 success, President Moon Jae-In’s administration received a decisive vote of confidence in the 15 April parliamentary elections with Moon’s Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner winning a record 180 out of the 300 seats in the National Assembly. What will the victory mean for the South Korea’s foreign policy and the EU?

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coal, china, covid19

On China, COVID-19 and Coal

By Antti Tulonen

13 April 2020

Can the EU convince China not to lean on coal for its economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis?

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Global supply chains

Decouple the EU from China?

By Michael Gobbel

31 March 2020

The initial response to the Covid-19 virus has been characterized by the erection of national barriers to goods and people and a new propaganda war with China at the centre. However, moving supply chains away from China would only treat the symptom rather than the root problem; and it would be an unsustainable endeavor that would cost European citizens dearly.

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