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China boxes clever and seeks to outwit America’s growing military belligerence through its economic clout

23 20 11

Since Wednesday’s provocative announcement of a new military and technological partnership between the US, UK, and Australia that sent shockwaves through the world, all eyes have been on how Beijing was going to react.

China’s Foreign Ministry quickly denounced the new deal as “extremely irresponsible” and told Australia to “prepare for the worst.” So far, so predictable. But then Beijing made a surprise announcement of its own: that it would be applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade group, a free market economic bloc which the United States had initially created, but from which it later withdrew. This comprises eleven Pacific and American states, including Japan, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The United Kingdom has also applied to join as part of its post-Brexit trading agenda.

Although many expected Beijing to find some means of sanctioning Australia and escalating tensions, China is instead bidding to further strengthen economic ties with it. Given that Chinese-Australian trade relations have been severely strained recently, what’s going on here? Why is China doing this?

It has been a long-term art of China's diplomacy to indirectly dilute the power of the United States against it by hastening its economic integration with other countries, a process which more deeply ingrains China into the global economy, protects the thresholds of its development, and reduces the capacity for ‘decoupling’ against it, isolating America and forcing them to act unilaterally. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is one successful example of how China has pulled this off, the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) is another.

Much of the coverage of relations between China and the US is........

© RT.com

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