Contain or Cooperate: Understanding the EU’S China Dilemma

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Dr Pervaiz Ali Mahesar
Abdul Hameed Mahesar
Dr Imdad Hussain Sahito


Despite the divergence in global governance, human rights, and rulesbased international order, the Brussels-Beijing ties have switched from the natural, strategic partnership to strategic rivalry. In 2003, the EU initiated a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with an effort to bring their bilateral relations from the mutual enmity to mutual empathy. In connection to this, the CNBC reported a survey of the European Council of Foreign Relations, on September 20, 2019, in which it referred to China’s trade practices as aggressive and a threat to the EU’s economy. The report also showed that in Asia, China is among the EU’s competitive and cooperative partners. The EU and China are dubbed as second and third-largest economies at the global level in nominal terms. The former considers the latter as its second-biggest trading partner, whereas China puts the EU as its biggest trading partner. This article draws on the qualitative research in which the secondary sources of data are applied. It aims to explore a growing concern in the EU, about whether to contain or cooperate with China in the current geopolitical environment. This paper suggests that cooperation, not containment could be the wise strategy of the EU towards China.

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