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  • Author: Daniele Fattibene
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia’s “pivot to Asia” has come to the fore in the wake of the crisis over Ukraine. Growing tensions with the West over the common neighbourhood, coupled with economic sanctions, have accelerated this trend, with China gaining in strength as both an economic and military partner to Moscow. The Kremlin’s propaganda has sought to convince the broader public that Russia’s strategies in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Arctic region are a complement to China’s new Silk Road Economic Belt. Nonetheless, behind the headlines huge potential problems jeopardise the emergence of a durable Sino-Russian consensus in Eurasia. Against this backdrop, the EU should opt for “strategic patience.” This would be a far more effective policy choice than finger pointing, which only deepens the mutual ideological clash between the EU and Russia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-69-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Nicola Casarini
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: With the One Belt One Road (OBOR), arguably Beijing’s major diplomatic outreach in decades, a process towards greater Sino-European connectivity has been put in place. The implementation of the OBOR in Europe has focused so far on financing infrastructure projects, in particular railways in Southeast Europe and ports in the Mediterranean Sea. This has been complemented by growing monetary linkages between the People’s Bank of China and European central banks through the establishment of currency swap agreements and yuan bank clearing – so-called “offshore renminbi hubs” – with the aim of lowering transaction costs of Chinese investment and bolstering the use of the Chinese currency. While there are undoubtedly great economic opportunities, China’s OBOR initiative also presents the EU with a major political challenge. There is the risk, in fact, that a scramble for Chinese money could further divide EU member states and make it difficult for Brussels to fashion a common position vis-à-vis Beijing. Furthermore, China’s economic penetration into Europe may lead – if not properly managed – to a populist backlash as well as a strain in relations with Washington. All these elements should be taken into consideration by EU policymakers, as China’s OBOR makes inroads into the Old Continent.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-64-4
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Luigi Carafa
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The United States and China recently announced a joint climate agreement that creates unprecedented political momentum for the Paris COP21 to be held in December 2015. Yet, it is unclear whether such a deal is an historic breakthrough or business as usual policy. A closer look at the US-China climate agreement shows that the chances that the agreed measures have of limiting global warming to 2°C are very few. If seen in terms of concrete policy action, the US pledge comes closer to a pathway compatible with a 2°C target. By contrast, however, China's pledges are far from consistent with a 2°C pathway. As the COP21 approaches, it is becoming clear that China matters more than ever for an effective climate deal. But it is also becoming increasingly clear that, in the best case scenario, Beijing will support a start now/sprint later agreement in Paris.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Zhang Xiaotong
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Chinese policy and academic communities have mixed views about the US-led TPP, either viewing it as a strategic attempt at encircling China, or as a positive spur for domestic reform and opening-up. Although the Chinese government adopted an open and flexible attitude towards the TPP, it has moved strategically by accelerating the negotiations of the RCEP and China-Korea FTA, as well as updating its FTA with ASEAN. A more interesting development is China's new initiatives for building two grand silk roads, one to Central Asia, leading on to Europe, and the other to Southeast Asia, leading on to the Indian Ocean. Both represent China's renewed confidence in finding its role in Asia.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Andrea Ghiselli
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Developments at both the doctrinal and operational level suggest that the 'post-modernisation' of China's PLA Navy (PLAN) has started. Issues such as the maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas and how to create a network of bases or 'footholds' outside Asia might slow down or temporarily halt this process. However, as China's economic presence expands on a global scale, its security interests and those of the international community will overlap increasingly with one another. Consequently, once its transformation has been completed, the PLAN is likely to become a global and cooperative force.
  • Topic: Security, Development
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Claudia Astarita
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: China's naval power : an offensive realist approach / Yves-Heng Lim. - Farnham and Burlington : Ashgate, 2014. - xii, 217 p. - (Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies series). - ISBN 978-1-4094-5184-6 ; 978-1-4094-5185-3 (ebk) ; 978-1-4724-0270-7 (ePUB)
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Silvia Menegazzi
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Following the leader : ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping / David M. Lampton. - Berkeley : University of California Press, 2013. - xiii, 293 p. : ill. - ISBN 978-0-520281-21-9 ; China's foreign policy / Stuart Harris. - Cambridge ; Malden : Polity Press, 2014. - 356 p. - ISBN 978-0-7456-6246-6 ; 978-0-7456-6247-3 (pbk) ; China's foreign policy : who makes it, and how is it made? / edited by Gilbert Rozman. - New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. - 343 p. - ISBN 978-1-137-34406-9 ; 978-1-137-34409-0 (pbk)
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Marco Sanfilippo
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper analyses foreign direct investment (FDI) activities of Chinese multinational enterprises (MNEs) in Italy. Chinese investments in Italy present features similar to those in other advanced countries, while also showing some country-specific features. Italy is considered an attractive destination for Chinese investors not only because of its large market and its strategic position as a gateway to the Mediterranean, but also because it is seen as a valuable source of strategic assets in both traditional and advanced industries. The analysis of the Italian case is supported by the presentation of a number of detailed case studies, which exemplify the strategies followed by Chinese companies in the country and help summarise the main implications of this phenomenon. Evidence presented in this paper gives rise to a number of suggestions for policy makers on how to maximise the benefits from rising flows of FDI from China and other emerging economies.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Sylvia Menegazzi
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Transnational Civil Society in China: Intrusion and Impact, by Chen Jie, Elgar, 2012
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Daniel Twining
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: China and the United States have just experienced political transitions that allow the leaders of both countries to focus on bilateral relations free from the pressures of domestic political campaigns. But the domestic politics of the bilateral relationship inside each country are, like the structural tensions between the established power and the rising challenger, intensifying, as Washington takes new steps to assert its primacy in Asia and Beijing works to edge America out of its neighbourhood. US-China relations are likely to be less stable and more prone to conflict over President Obama's second term, unless the two nations can arrive at a modus vivendi to keep the peace in Asia. The challenge is that such an entente likely requires the kind of political change in China its leaders seem determined to block for fear of the threat it would pose to their own legitimacy. The reverberations of a relationship that is conflict-prone, but in which conflict holds such downside risks for both countries, will be felt well beyond Asia.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia