The direction of China’s economic and strategic policy will set the tone of the 21st century. And under President Xi, there has been a shift in tone – and in the country’s general aspiration to fashion an economic and strategic approach to its neighbours and the world.
However, its design remains unclear, and it is a bold assumption that the leadership will deliver policy reforms corresponding with the new rhetoric. While there are positive signals about economic reforms, much of the reform agenda still remains an aspiration. Its new direction in foreign policy, however, goes in a different direction – and no one can say for sure if China on current trend wants to take up a greater role in the post World War II institutions that have shaped the global order, or if it wants to dismantle them. Regardless of China’s choices, the EU and the U.S. need to have a pro-active strategy towards China. What are these strategies – and do we need to revisit them?