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De Autoritaire Vooruitgang van China: Een Deconstructie van OBOR

De Autoritaire Vooruitgang van China: Een Deconstructie van OBOR

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De Autoritaire Vooruitgang van China: Een Deconstructie van OBOR

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  1. De Autoritaire Vooruitgang van China: Een Deconstructie van OBOR Dr. Matthieu Burnay Lecturer in Global Law Queen Mary University of London Visiting Professor, Paris 1-Pantheon Sorbonne, Beijing Normal, and Jindal Global University Seminar at the KU Leuven Emeriti Forum 27 September 2018

  2. Introduction Context A Historical Momentum in China: ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era’ (Xi Jinping 2017): Internally Externally Structure: • BRI and the Chinese Foreign Policy • BRI and China’s ‘Authoritarian Revival’ (Minzner 2018) • The BRI and the European Union

  3. BRI and the Chinese Foreign Policy • Departure from Deng Xiaoping’s mantra: “observe calmly, hold one’s ground, respond soberly, and get some things done” • 2017 World Economic Forum ‘We must remain committed to developing global free trade and investment, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation through opening-up and say no to protectionism. Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air. No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war.’ We should adhere to multilateralism to uphold the authority and efficacy of multilateral institutions. We should honor promises and abide by rules. One should not select or bend rules as he sees fit.’ (Xi Jinping 2017) • The BRI and China’s ‘Discourse Power’: The UNSC ‘welcomes and urges further efforts to strengthen the process of regional economic cooperation, including measures to facilitate regional connectivity, trade and transit, including through regional development initiatives such as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (the Belt and Road) Initiative’ (UNSC Resolution 2405 (2018))

  4. BRI and China’s ‘Authoritarian Revival’ • ‘China’s authoritarian revival’ and the ‘end of an era’ (Minzner 2018): • Challenge to collective leadership • New laws to protect China’s ‘national interests’ (2015 National Security Law; 2016 Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of Activities of Overseas NGOs) • Vocal opposition to the promotion of ‘universal values’

  5. The BRI and the European Union • Europe is on the map !!! • Estimation of a growing trade between the EU and China • Connectivity on both the agenda of the EU and China: Need to identify synergies between the Trans-European Transport Network and BRI (EU-China Summit 2015) • Concrete developments: • People-to-People exchanges • Establishment of a connectivity platform • Some significant investments: Port of Piraeus, Belgrade-Budapest Railway Connection

  6. The BRI and the European Union

  7. The BRI and the European Union

  8. The BRI and the European Union

  9. The BRI and the European Union But at what cost?... • Very strong disagreements on the BRI: • Proposal for an investments screening mechanism • Difficult negotiations of a BIT: politicization, labour rights, and regulatory gaps • Challenges and limitations of the 16+1 Framework ‘China realizes that the EU cannot take action as a whole, so Beijing has focused on bilateral relations with individual countries. China also benefits from the competition between EU countries, which is not optimal for EU interests’ (Shi 2012)

  10. The BRI and its Impact on the EU The European Commission View • ‘It should be an open initiative based on market rules and international standards. • It should include all modes of transport, as well as digital and energy and people-to-people contacts (…) • Sustainability is essential: projects must be economically viable, fiscally and socially responsible, as well as climate and environment-friendly. - We must use the wisdom of the multilateral banks, whose decades of experience makes them an invaluable partner for new institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. - Finally, we should ensure that there are real benefits for all stakeholders. Not only for countries, but also for economic operators, who should have a fair chance to compete for business through open, transparent and non-discriminatory procurement procedures.’ (Katainen 2017)

  11. The BRI and the European Union • 16+1 Framework : An alternative or a complementary framework of cooperation? • Very limited achievements • Main focus remains on investments and connectivity • China’s ‘authoritarian advance’ in Europe (MERICS 2018): Promotion of authoritarian ideals (?) • Still discrete promotion of its political and economic model abroad vs. successful silencing of criticisms • Hungary and the South China Sea Dispute • Greece and the UN Human Rights Council

  12. The BRI and the European Union ‘The very functioning of the Union and its internal market is endangered if in one of its Member States the fundamental values, in particular the rule of law, are no longer respected.’ (FransTimmermans, 2017) ‘I don’t think that our European Union membership precludes us from building an illiberal new state based on national foundations“ (…)  "Today, the world tries to understand systems which are not Western, not liberal, maybe not even democracies yet they are successful’ (Orban, 2014)

  13. The BRI and the European Union • 22 January 2013: Philippines’ institution of arbitral proceedings “with respect to the dispute with China over the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea”.

  14. The BRI and the European Union South China Sea • EU statements: • Pre-Award: “The EU is committed to maintaining a legal order for the seas and oceans based upon the principles of international law […]”, “The EU […] is looking forward to a swift conclusion of the talks on a 'Code of Conduct' which will further support a rules-based regional and international order” and “the EU reiterates its offer to share best practices on maritime security” (F. Mogherini, 11 March 2016) • Post-Award: “The EU recalls that the dispute settlement mechanisms as provided under UNCLOS contribute to the maintenance and furthering of the international order based upon the Rule of Law and are essential to settle disputes” (F. Mogherini, 15 July 2016)

  15. Conclusions • The BRI as ‘Discursive Power’ vs. the BRI as a ‘grand strategy’ • China is changing: ‘authoritarian revival’ and ‘authoritarian advance’ • The EU-China BIT and China’s HR Universal Periodic Review as test cases for the European Union’s normative power