February 5, 2020

Estonian Foreign Policy Institute Launches a Discussion Series “Understanding China’s Power”

Anthony Devlin/AP/Scanpix
China president Xi Jinping vaatab 3D prillidega roboteid Hamlyni Meditsiionirobootika Keskuses Londonis.
China president Xi Jinping vaatab 3D prillidega roboteid Hamlyni Meditsiionirobootika Keskuses Londonis.

The Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the ICDS is organising four discussions on China this year with renowned international lecturers. The first event will take place today, 5 February, and will look at China’s long-term goals for trade and investments in Europe.

“China has become a top player in the global power struggle alongside the US and Russia. China is undoubtedly fascinating and offers great potential, but the dangers cannot be overlooked. In China, politics and economics are two sides of the same coin. China cannot be either welcomed with open arms or completely cut off. The way forward for academia, entrepreneurs, civil servants and politicians is to get to know Chinese society, politics and economics better,” explains Frank Jüris, a junior researcher at the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the ICDS and project lead of the discussion series.

The first guest speaker of the series “Understanding China’s Power” is Philippe Le Corre, a research associate at the Harvard Kennedy School and a non-resident senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Le Corre started his career as a foreign correspondent based in Asia from 1988 to 1998. Later he served as special assistant and counsellor for international affairs to the French Minister of Defence and as senior policy analyst on Northeast Asia within the ministry’s directorate for strategy. He is also the author of the book “China’s Offensive in Europe” (Brookings Institution, 2016).

Last year, for the first time, the EU-China Strategic Outlook called China a “competitor” and a “systemic rival.” Today, Le Corre explains why China is investing heavily in Europe and what impact it has. Why is the development of the 5G connection creating tensions between Europe and China? And how will the two upcoming EU-China summits scheduled for this year influence the future relationship between the EU and China?

In addition, during today’s discussion, Frank Jüris will present his recent analysis on China’s economic and security objectives in the Talsinki tunnel project. Jüris describes how China has previously used infrastructure projects to exert political pressure and outlines China’s defence white paper, which states that foreign investments are an important national interest that must be protected. The analysis can be found here.

The next discussions in the “Understanding China’s Power” series will address defence and security, technology and governance.

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