Chinese leader Xi Jinping has prioritized “economic security” as part of his vision of “comprehensive national security.” Economic security is seen as the foundation of China’s approach, ranking below political security. China’s international environment has deteriorated due to pushback against Xi’s policies, particularly regarding economic security. Countries like the US, Japan, Europe, and South Korea have developed their own economic security agendas to counter China’s influence globally. These agendas address risks such as China’s excessive leverage, leakage of civilian technology for military use, and unfair competition due to China’s state-led economy. In the European Union, there is debate about the securitization of economic relations with China, with concerns about excessive power and risks to the single market. China’s focus on economic security aligns with the assessment that the period of strategic opportunity has ended, and a quest for state power is now paramount. China seeks to manage the European de-risking agenda while promoting its own national-security-first approach in trade and investment relations. However, there is skepticism about China’s trustworthiness given its history of weaponizing dependencies.
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