As Washington retreats from global leadership on trade, defense, and environment, the question is to what extent Beijing will move in to fill the vacuum.
Begging the question, the European Union is preparing an and early summit with China in April or May with a trade agenda. The primary objective is to signal that a trade war would have wider implications, according to three Brussels-based sources talking to Reuters.
The EU-China summit is an annual event, although it is less than an institution. This year, China is looking to push the event forwards and Brussels is keen to oblige. In Brussels, one of the objectives is to ensure Beijing will play a counterbalancing role in the UN Security Council in areas of high strategic significance, such as the future of Syria.
However, there are still cleavages between Brussels and China. The EU still maintains that China is pursuing dumping policies, especially in the steel industry. Moreover, Brussels is not at ease with the remilitarization of the South China Sea.
However, the tilting point has been Washington’s position on Brexit, with President Trump endorsing not only the result of the referendum but also other centrifugal forces of the nationalist far-right.