EU–China Security Relations: The ‘Softer’ Side


in The International Politics of EU-China Relations

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264089
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734809 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Occasional Papers

EU–China Security Relations: The ‘Softer’ Side

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This chapter states the question starkly: between two such mismatched partners, is it not natural to wonder whether someone is being fooled and someone profiting unduly. The discussion then proceeds to an audit of Chinese–European interaction in areas of security restraint, whether defined in terms of issues (demilitarization, non-proliferation, confidence-building, and peace-keeping) or levels (Asian sub-regional and regional, inter-regional, and global). It concludes that the China–Europe security relationship ‘works’ because of its limits: items on the agenda are limited; China's accommodation of EU goals is limited; the process is limited in its functionalism; and the limits of the EU's ‘soft engagement’ are not revealed because of the ‘hard engagement’ taking place in different parts. Yet it would not be good if hard engagement stood alone; so Europe should intensify its strategy of mutual binding.

Keywords: security restraint; mutual binding; EU; China; hard engagement; demilitarization

Chapter.  13401 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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