The European Union and the Western Balkans share the same history and future. Therefore, the Chinese interest in the Balkans has long been perceived as an intrusion. Yet, on December 30, 2020, the European Union and China reached an historic Agreement on investment and trade. What does this rapprochement between the two rival suitors mean for the Western Balkans? For sure, the EU-China Agreement is controversial. But it may show a promising opening, by China, to a rules-based economic system. In Eastern Europe, this means that China could be brought to respect the EU 2030 agenda, especially for what concerns the green transition and digitalization.
While the world is still dealing with the impacts of the pandemic, the Russian and Chinese militaries seem to be growing closer than ever. On December 22nd, 2020, Russian and Chinese bombers flew a joint patrol mission over an area of the Western Pacific that is dangerously close to disputed territories between China, South Korea, and Japan. This mission succeeds a first one in 2019 which had already shaken up peace in East Asia.
In July 2020, the Vatican City has been one of the organizations under a cyber-attack aimed at the Chinese government, an event that shed light on the ties between the Holy See and the Asian superpower.
The People’s Republic of China has become one of the most prominent geopolitical leaders worldwide, with a booming economy, growing domestic consumption, and a skyrocketing rise of global financial influence through world-renowned investment projects such as the infamous Belt and Road initiative. Such a rise has deeply affected its energy consumption, requiring a prevalently coal-driven energetic production to keep up with its ramping economic growth.
On November 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement to set up a naval base on the Red Sea coast in Sudan. Given the strategic geographical position of Sudan, Russia has more to gain than to lose.
Boris Johnson recently announced an extra £16.5 billion in defence spending. Could this indicate a foreign policy strategy is beginning to be developed?
Oil and natural gas are undergoing an important crisis, as they are running out worldwide. In this context, powers like Russia and China have chosen to detach from the reliance on Middle Eastern oil, and have been seeking to create their own regional independence to the point companies such as Gazprom and Sinopec have overtaken US and European former leaders like ExxonMobil and Shell. What does this imply for oil security in Northeast Asia? And how are these countries coping with sustainability and oil consumption?
On 30 June 2020, the Chinese Government passed the Hong Kong Security Law, a much debated piece of legislation which was welcomed with strong protests both in the region and at an international level.
How will the new law concretely affect Hong Kong? And how did international actors respond to it?
In May 2020, a spark of conflict re-ignited a long-standing border dispute between China and India.
How can the two nuclear powers de-escalate the tensions?
Ping-Pong Diplomacy between Japan and China is causing tensions to rise in the East China Sea.
Is there a solution to the Sino-Chinese frictions?