Atlantic : Emmanuel Macron continues his trip to China, with Ursula Von der Leyen. If European intentions are very clear on this trip, what does china expect ?
Emmanuel Lincot : China, fundamentally, expects from Europeans an alternative to the blocking of relations it is experiencing with the United States. China also expects a lot from French technological and agrifood capabilities. The remainder, important agreements in the fields of aeronautics and agriculture have just been signed. We should be happy because for France, reap profits, at the very moment when it undergoes more 20 % d’inflation, becomes a priority. In this, France reminds anyone who will listen that if it shares values with the United States and its allies, it defends its own interests first and foremost. This sovereignist approach by the French head of state is in line with Chinese political culture, which is itself sovereignist. Just as Chinese diplomacy is sensitive to the fact of strengthening its ties with the European Union, which have slackened over the past three years and which remain very largely tainted with suspicion.. It is also in his interests because, let's not forget, the European Union is its first trading partner. The signal that was very clearly received by the Chinese is also the following : we french, we Europeans give you, somehow, life insurance against the Americans if you help us pressure Moscow to end the conflict in Ukraine.
What are the current political intentions, diplomatic and economic relations of China vis-à-vis Europe ?
Emmanuel Lincot : Brussels is a mailbox for the Chinese to the Americans. In this, Europeans are in a situation as uncomfortable as they are privileged. The European Union is obviously also a market, less attractive than before given its protectionist measures; which are a response to those taken by China. We can also assume that Russia will weaken and that this weakening may ultimately be dangerous for both European and Chinese security.. In this, geography cooperates and the two extremes of Eurasia can only have common interests.
How important or not Europe is in China's geopolitical and economic game plan ?
Emmanuel Lincot : For the reasons I have just stated. Unless China, in an irreversible momentum and pride decides to assert itself totally on the hegemonic level without wanting to rely on sufficiently stable and long-lasting partnerships. The ideological option, in short. Alas, it is not to be excluded. But in the longer term it would be absolutely catastrophic. We must also prepare for it. China is also sending us signals in this direction.. Either by rallying around it the votes of the global South (central asia countries, from the Middle East and Africa…), either by continuing to develop an anti-Western rhetoric, by putting in the same bag both its American enemies and its European partners.
Does China see the EU as an interlocutor or as an obstacle to implementing its plans for Europe? ?
Emmanuel Lincot : Even a superpower, needs support, partners without whom it cannot sustainably preserve its achievements. The European Union still offers him opportunities. But above all it has a political power at its head, the only one with whom it can dialogue on a statutory equal footing. I obviously mean France as a permanent member of the Security Council, as a nuclear power too, and above all as a privileged interlocutor in the Indo-Pacific project that it carries on behalf of the European Union – as the world's second largest maritime power – and which is a project opposed to the logic of confrontation to which the Americans would like to lead us.