BY announcing sanctions on Britain, China is going to test Johnson’s independent foreign policy, UK-EU relations, use of international laws and its bilateral relations with the UK.
For rest of the world, UK will be an example of bilateral relations of China with first world with EU and Europe in the background.
It will also test efficacy of international platforms in multi-polar world in areas like trade, defence and foreign policy.
In ‘Global Britain’, Johnson’s has given trade, foreign policy and defence plans. The 40% increase in nuclear weapons is illegal and warrants Iran like sanctions.
The UK opposition leader Starmer said the review had built on “weakened” foundation and breaking international law from Europe to the Indian Ocean.
The extension of New START treaty by America and Russia limiting maximum number of warheads backed by sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance is step in the right direction.
Johnson’s new foreign policy and defence plans including deployment of aircraft carrier and Quad-based India visit are unrealistic.
In multi-polar world, it is all about trade, jobs and economy. There is no space for security threats.
Four years of Trump showed that world can coexist in relative peace, without forever wars and NATO.
With pandemic and its fallouts, no economy can afford military buildups. It is why Quad has fractured. India has opted to preserve its trade interests with China.
Johnson talked about country being at the forefront of a reinvigorated, rules-based international order based on cooperation and free trade. It is important area.
China-EU relations are evolving positively. Merkel defended the EU investment protection deal with China as necessary to help European companies. She told World Economic Forum in January that she is not in favour of formation of blocks.
Under the EU-China connectivity platform, 18 EU members are linked by rail with China.
In terms of China, Europe and the EU, under Merkel, Europe is integrating with China.
Trend will continue in foreseeable future. The impact of pandemic on the economies will make this integration deeper.
However, the real test of Europe, the EU and China will be how they balance trade, exports and health of their economies, jobs and trade, which major western economies failed to do. It was their use of predatory policies, which made China an alternate option.
Britain has been major investment country for China in Europe. China has invested more than $60bn in the UK peeking $20bn in 2017.
However, after that it dropped and came down to $8.7bn in 2020. The standoff on Huawei 5G was setback for the both countries despite clearance by security experts. Like Covid diplomacy and vaccine, the 5G was turned into a trade competition.
China would still like to engage with the UK.
In his policy, Johnson said that China will pose a great challenge to British open society but we will also work with China that is consistent with our values and interests. China has made similar promises.
It is time governments are held accountable for victims of abuse, rape, domestic violence and sexual assaults including Sarah Everard, George Floyd and scores of public deaths in fake police encounters.
Also the weakening of individual freedoms and cuts in legal aid for the victims. The UN has criticized immigration policy of UK. The critics also rejected Patel’s claims on women in UK the Parliament as UK plans to deport homeless immigrants.
Clearly, immigration is fallout of West’s policies including forever wars, arms sales and foreign policies. Look at Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria.
Tens of millions have been left unemployed due to Covid showing that if economies fail there will be unemployment.
The challenge for China and the West is to give third world its due share in global economy if they want to stop immigration.
China has offered dual circulation economic model in which domestic and external demand complement each other.
China should explain why its economic model is different and how it can save third world from the loot and plunder of the first world economies.
It would be interesting to see how Beijing balances self-interest in “comprehensive” economic growth message to developing countries’ to improve their economies, jobs, trade and technology.
Biden has also called for infrastructure plan for democratic countries to compete BRI. According to OECD, 72 economies in BRI grew by 6.3% in 17 years.
The share of 18 richer countries outside BRI including UK fell from 19% to 12.6% between same period while China’s economy grew from 7.4% to 18.3% of world GDP.
With BRI, China should also help developing world in digital economy, IT, 5G. If funded, West’s second Marshall Plan Europe is welcome.
It should be extended to third world also.The development of China-UK relationship on trade, foreign policy and human rights will set the tone for Beijing’s bilateral relations with individual countries.
In case of India, China has shown that it can engage diplomatically, militarily and both.
Based on their history, China will be ready to work with the UK but there will be free pass on western standards of human rights.
Unlike the West, it’s hoped that Beijing’s policies will help third world flourish in trade, jobs and economy.
—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.