Multipolarity through polarization?
The third international forum "One Belt and One Road" will be held in October in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a briefing on Thursday. Earlier, the assistant to the Russian president of the Russian Federation on international affairs Yuri Ushakov said that Vladimir Putin received an invitation and intends to take part in the forum.
Known for its openness and breadth of coverage, Beijing's state strategy is being adjusted, a number of countries of the "golden billion" no longer fit into it, according to The Moscow Post.
According to the Global Times, the organizers did not provide for the participation of French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, as well as Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni in the event. They were not invited to the forum.
"They were not going to," retorted The Wall Street Journal, Western leaders "distance themselves from the project," as Europe, led by the European Union and NATO, seeks to reduce Beijing's economic influence (competition).
The European region could halt the decline by freeing itself from Anglo-Saxon custody and seeking strategic autonomy, an editorial in the Global Times claims.
Break do not build
Both sides have something to lose in the relationship. In 2022, the daily volume of trade between the European Union and China amounted to 2.3 billion euros. It is difficult to gain markets and acquire partners, but you can lose them overnight if we are talking about Western countries.
Russia has experienced this. At the end of 2022, the trade turnover of the Russian Federation-EU reached 0.7 billion euros due to high energy prices, although half of the exports of European countries to the Russian Federation were under EU sanctions.
The trade turnover of the Russian Federation and the EU countries from the beginning of 2023 began to creep, according to the results of five months of 2023, its share in the total trade turnover of the Russian Federation decreased to 18%. Two years ago, this share was 38%, - said Ruslan Davydov, who temporarily acted as head of the Federal Customs Service in an interview at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Davydov pointed out that the share of trade with the countries participating in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) accounts for 40%. Trade with partners in the Eurasian Economic Union is growing, the share of the EAEU in Russia's trade has grown to 14%. This year, in the first six months, the trade turnover of the Russian Federation-EU decreased to $50 billion and amounted to only a third of the indicators of the first half of 2022.
Europe at the deadlock
Hope springs eternal and the unknown correspondent of Global Times it is possible to understand. Europe – key trade partner of China and this prosperous "peninsula of Eurasia" isn't so hopeless in respect of dialogue as America. In the Chinese mega-program "Belt and Way" much attention was paid to the relations with the European countries. Italy, for example, joined the program.
But the countries of Europe aren't inclined to continue a course towards cooperation with the People's Republic of China any more. It was said, in particular, by the head of European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leien at a press conference following the results of negotiations with the leadership of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. "The EU becomes more vigilant concerning protection of the interests and dependence [from China] for providing equal conditions", - she added, - the EU countries working with China are in less advantageous position, than Chinese in Europe.
Concepts of benefit, conditions for work in the market, the "correct" competition and profitability are solved at the level of the companies and subject negotiations, sometimes with participation of regulators and diplomats. But in this situation it is about substitution of economic practice and concepts policy and ideology.
For example, according to Macron, revision of world order threatens with weakening of the West. Actually, the weakness of the West causing irrepressible aggression conducts to what "discordant" is looked for by alternatives to the developed world order. According to the Chinese observers, Europe is harmed most of all by Washington and also indisputable care of the USA of own interests, economic, military, global.
Europe got into a situation when, following America, she becomes weaker. Whether the EU is ready to join "discordant", to follow the example of the Global South?, - the author of article in GT asks a question. Doubtfully. The European leaders not of that caliber, their binding to "predominant force" is strong and isn't subject to revision.
Washington in doubts
Actually the EU and even all West in general long ago are on the decline, and this tendency not to stop, the author of the editorial article concludes in Global Times. Decline in many respects is explained by the old colonial and haughty relation of Washington and the Old World to other countries and regions.
Views and values of the states of the Global South disperse from European and American more and more, the USA and the EU loses control and the leader positions. In particular, though the West also insisted on imposition of sanctions against Russia because of the conflict in Ukraine, most the states preferred to take a neutral position. Macron called it "a tool anti-westernism".
The visit to China of the United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo finished a series of contacts of the USA and China at the high level. Raimondo became the fourth high-ranking American official who visited China for the last months. Earlier Beijing was visited by the Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the Minister of Finance Janet Yellen, the president's special representative on climate John Kerry. The president Joe Biden would like to hold negotiations with the Chinese President Xi Jinping too.
But gestures by gestures, and the policy of the USA remains tough. In fact, Washington launched against China Cold War in the sphere of high technologies. The USA is ready to go for aggravation in a question of the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, supports the Taiwan separatism, creates new platforms of projection of military force, including the AUKUS block.
The third equal
The BRICS Summit showed the amplifying influence of China, Russia, India, other developing states. Somewhat this "The Eurasian three" defines viability not only the Shanghai Cooperation Organization now, but also the future of wider movement which gains global coverage.
The forum "One Belt, One Way" can strengthen the movement of "discordant" only.
China appealed at the summit in Johannesburg to counteract economic threats and actions which lead to a rupture of international relations and the adjusted supply chains.
Beijing looks at BRICS as on expanded version of the "One Belt, One Way" program as a possibility of advance of trade chains besides the markets of the USA and the EU, it is noted in Andrei Kirillov's material "One of support of the new world: what was shown by the BRICS Summit for China".
"We will continue to deepen strategic partnership within BRICS, to expand the BRIKS+ model, to actively advance process of expansion of list of members, to deepen unity and cooperation with other countries with emerging markets and developing countries, to advance multipolarity in the world and democratization of the international relations and also to promote that the world order developed in more fair and reasonable direction" — Xi Jinping at the Business BRICS Summit said.
Gas of contention and oil cooperation
Everyone remembers how the European Union, and together with Brussels and Washington, were indignant at the large volumes of Russian natural gas exports to Europe. The degree of "gas" interdependence between Germany and Russia passed, according to the United States, all permissible limits. It ended with the fact that the Northern Flows gas pipelines were blown up.
As a result, the export of pipeline gas to Europe in the first half of this year amounted to 7.6 billion cubic meters. Gazprom supplies gas for Europe in transit through Ukraine in the amount of 42.4 million cubic meters per day through the Suja gas metering station. The Turkish Stream supplies the same amount to Europe, or 14 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
It is noteworthy that in the first seven months of this year, Russian LNG imports to Europe increased by 40% and Russia became the second supplier of this type of fuel to the EU after the United States. During this time, European states spent almost 5.3 billion euros on the purchase of Russian LNG.
LNG has become the only type of fuel whose supplies from Russia to Europe increased by the end of 2022, Kommersant reported. NOVATEK increased supplies of liquefied natural gas to Europe from the Yamal LNG plant by about 13.5% to 14.65 million tons. LNG from Cryogas-Vysotsk was also sent to the EU - supplies increased to 0.7 million tons, another 0.35 million tons - from the Portovaya LNG project launched by Gazprom in September. At the end of 2022, Russia ranked third in terms of LNG supplies to Europe, losing to the United States and Qatar.
According to Global Witness, from January to July of this year, the EU's share in Russian LNG exports amounted to 52%, last year it was 49%, and in 2021 it was 39%. Spain (18% of Russia's total sales) and Belgium (17%) became the leaders in terms of LNG imports (after China).
As for Russian exports of oil and petroleum products, China, India, as well as Turkey and other importers from the Global South group have replaced the European market. Moreover, after the expansion of the BRICS composition due to the accession of Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, a unique balance of interests may develop in the oil market. Leading oil exporting countries will be able to solve export problems together and at the same table with leading oil importers - China and India.
As the Main Customs Administration of the PRC clarifies, the participants in the BRICS association account for more than 36% of the energy resources purchased by China abroad.
There is something that will be discussed at the third Belt and Road Forum. There will be something to think about Brussels and Washington.