Italy become Beijing’s European stepping stone into the EU
One of the main objectives of the Belt and Road Initiative, which was presented by President Xi in 2013, was to connect European countries with the countries on the route of the Belt and Road Initiative. However, Italy is not the first EU member state to sign a belt and road initiative projects with China. Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Poland, and Portugal have different agreements with China under the Belt and Road Initiative. On the other hand, the port of Piraeus in Greece has become one of the fastest-growing marine terminals in the world due to Chinese investments. However, Italy is the first G7 member country to participate in this agreement, it is the first founding member of the EU, as well as its geopolitical and geostrategic importance of the ports, allows Italy to occupy more agenda. Considering the trade volume of European countries with China, the fact that the port of Trieste is exempted from customs duties and connected to cities in Europe by rail will accelerate the export of China to Europe. It is impossible for European countries to close the door to China due to the fact that Italy has a highly strategic EU country opening to Mediterranean trade routes. Considering the reasons mentioned above, Italy will probably be the most important strategic gate of China to Europe.
China is a country that avoid inter-country conflicts and pursues soft power diplomacy in its foreign policy initiatives. It carries out its projects under the Belt and Road Initiative with a win-win strategy. She doesn’t want her massive projects to damage due to some internal conflict between countries. Even though Italy has conflicts with Brussels, her relations with China are a matter of developing their national and economic interests without compromising EU national security, and without crushing EU law. It is very important for Italy to increase its market share in the gigantic Chinese market. The agreement over China and the ports of Genoa and Trieste will increase the geopolitics and geostrategic importance of Italy, and perhaps make it a political patron of Europe’s relations with China. At the same time, cooperation with the Beijing-based economy system will offer different opportunities to Italy, which is one of the ancient terminals of the Silk Road.
US is warning Europe against not cooperating with China’s Huawei
China is not only an economic competitor for the United States but also rising new global power against the US in technological and military fields. Due to these concerns, the Pentagon makes continuous warnings against the possibility of espionage and the future military operations through the 5G telecommunication network. According to some officials of the Pentagon, It would be difficult for the US military to share data with the allies or to transmit information in case of war due to the agreements they will make with 5G technology. At the same time, the Huawei dispute is related to superpower policies, who have access to or control over the data of the future. Although the authorities of Huawei insist that they never provided espionage to the Chinese government but US officials are not sure that a firm can resist government directives and warns all allies on these possibilities
Russia play role in China’s plans to expand its Silk Road to Europe
Under the leadership of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, efforts were made to coordinate the cooperation between the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. However, it should be noted that many trade-centered agreements between the two countries have not been fully successful. The coordination between the EAEU-Belt and Road initiative contributes to the balancing of geopolitical uncertainties between two major Asian Power. China does not have any economic need for infrastructure works for the restoration of Belt and Road projects and railways that will extend to Europe through Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It has the economic capacity to do it all alone. Considering the fact that the two countries, rather than the trade, mostly come together on the US’s opposition to global hegemony on foreign policy; Compared to China, Russia may provide support for China at the Mediterranean, Central Asia, Arctic Route of Belt and Road and securing the Belt and Road projects extending to Europe based on its expansive experience in the field and through its own land and sea bases in some regions.
China Malacca Strait and CPEC
It can be said that Beijing’s strategy of bypassing the Malacca Strait is based on two important principles. First and foremost, setting up a Kra Canal in Thailand as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It is said that China is willing to provide about 28 billion dollars of funds and technological support to Thailand for the canal project. Kra Canal Project aims to will both connect the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean and connect the South China Sea to the Andaman Sea and significantly reduce the transit time on the most intense sea transport route. As more than 80 percent of Chinese oil imports pass through the Malacca Strait, the project is becoming more important for China. The second pillar of China’s strategy to bypass the Strait of Malacca is the establishment of a port in the town of Kyaukpyu on the coast of the Gulf of Bengal in Rakhine, Myanmar. These projects reflect the strategic efforts of Beijing to reduce its dependence on oil and gas imports from the Malacca Strait. Continuously increasing trade volume and growth capacity in China will cause excessive blockages in Malacca Strait in the future will bring more importance to these projects.
The US’s most important initiative against China’s rising power in the region is the Quadrilateral Alliance and the Indo-Pacific Strategy. This alliance between the US-Japan-India-Australia aims to limit Chinese power in Indo-Pacific. All four countries have joined this alliance due to national security concerns from China. India is worried that being surrounded by China in the Indian Ocean through the port of Gwadar and also China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will pass through the Kashmir territory claimed by India. Japan is concerned that China will create problems in the East China Sea and will also affect the Asian-African connection and energy supply routes; Australia is worried that China will penetrate its internal affairs. The United States probably has a strategy ensuring freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea and immediately block China’s overseas supply and connections in a war-time. Finally, the US F-35 sales to countries such as Australia and Singapore will create a very significant security vulnerability for China. Through these alliances and strategies, the US wants to limit China in its territory and overseas.
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