China is playing an increasingly important role on the world stage. It has grown into the second-largest economy in the world and a major player in the field of technology. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands released a publication in this month May 2019 where it demonstrates the Dutch foreign policies towards China.
In the publication, it recognizes that China is one of the key trading and investment partners to The Netherlands. China’s rapidly-growing market and investments offer Dutch companies and institutions many opportunities, and the Dutch government can open its door in that regard. However, this publication reckons that China “is not a market economy […] founded on the rule of law”, therefore the Dutch government wishes to address unfair trading practices and strive for more balance and more reciprocity in its trade relations with China. When it comes to certain key technologies and critical raw materials, as the publication states, The Netherlands does not want to be dependent on China.
This publication expresses its concerns regarding China’s military defence expenditure which is lower than that of the United States but nevertheless is almost equal to that of the EU Member States collectively. It states that China’s pursuit of its strategic goals could impact Dutch national security, but the risks posed by China will be manageable.
These concerns remind us of the previous event where KPN, a huge Dutch telecommunication company declared in last month that it intended to co-operate with Chinese company Huawei for the 5G construction in the Netherlands. This has incurred some criticisms from the western countries including the United States, being particularly concerned with the national security. Under the pressure, KPN has reassured that the work for critical core of 5G construction would be co-operated with other western companies.
Although not specifically mentioned, the publication released by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs seems to target the recent challenges and opportunities brought by the Chinese company Huawei who recently has received a great deal of economic sanction from the United States. Compared to the US approach, The Netherlands is more looking for a fair balance to come to a win-win solution.
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Yichuan Qiu and Xuan Hao | Global Connect Admin B.V.