eijing's Pain Points

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-5-5-15
V. Mikheev (mikheev@imemo.ru),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
S. Lukonin (sergeylukonin@mail.ru),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Abstract. The circle of the most acute problems facing the Chinese leadership remains unchanged: relations with the United States, domestic political stability, economic growth, etc. However, by the beginning of 2020, the priority structure of these topics had changed. Prospects for completing the so-called “first stage” of the bilateral trade deal between China and the United States and signing the corresponding agreement were outlined. Trade deal was done on January 15, 2020. The decrease in trade tensions highlighted the growing Sino-American confrontation on other topics: military construction in China, the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region and the struggle for control of the world’s 5G space, which appears to be of long-term strategic importance. Against the background of some easing of trade relations between the P.R.C. and the U.S. by the beginning of 2020, the topic of Hong Kong is gaining new urgency. In Hong Kong the Chinese leadership continues to face a dilemma: go for a military action or use peaceful mechanisms. By the beginning of 2020, it seems that the “non-forceful approach” is still steadily prevailing. At the end of 2019, the United States took a number of steps to put legal pressure on Beijing on the Hong Kong issue. The U. S. laws S. 1838 “On Human Rights and Democracy in Hong Kong” and H.R. 4270 “On Restrictions on the Export of Tear Gas and Crowd Control Technologies to Hong Kong” should be considered from the viewpoint of the global political and economic rivalry between the United States and China. In general, these laws are primarily aimed at improving the effectiveness of the U.S. tariff and sanctions policy against China. The topic of economic growth becomes a priority for the Chinese leadership. GDP growth in 2019 slowed slightly to 6.1%, but was in the “planned fork” of 6.0–6.5%. In this context, discussions about “optimal rates” of economic growth are beginning to intensify again in the PRC. One part of economists continues to argue that China should keep economic growth at the 6% mark “at all costs”. Opponents of this approach speak of the so-called “new normality”, in the sense that it is important to focus not so much on the pace as on the quality of economic development indicators. From December 10 to 12, 2019, the Central Meeting on Economic Work was held in Beijing, during which clear requirements were put forward in relation to the economic development of China in 2020. The main leitmotif is stability and quality of growth. By the beginning of 2020, Russian-Chinese relations have established trends that are likely to determine the direction of bilateral relations in the short term. Beijing and Moscow will demonstrate the strengthening of their strategic partnership in every possible way. On the other hand, Russia and China will try to muffle existing differences and contradictions. In strategic cooperation, Beijing does not agree to establish a military alliance with Moscow and refuses to participate in multilateral negotiations on nuclear missile issues, including the issue of medium- and short-range missiles.

Keywords: world economy, China, USA, “trade war”, “trade deal”, Hong Kong, Russian-Chinese relations


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For citation:
Mikheev V., Lukonin S. eijing's Pain Points. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 5, pp. 5-15. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-5-5-15

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