By Huan Yuping, People’s Daily
The term “de-risking” has been replacing “decoupling” these days, becoming a new argument of some Western politicians when discussing economic relations with China. It is used to prettify their damaging policies aiming at de-sinicization.
The so-called “de-risking” is the politicization and ideologicalization of economic and trade issues. It is against the laws of economics, disturbs the security and stability of global industrial and supply chains, and finally impedes the recovery of the world economy.
“De-risking may feel more diplomatic than decoupling.” The New York Times just told the truth.
The high-profile “decoupling” strategy launched by the last U.S. administration has been approved to be unrealistic. Though the current U.S. administration claimed it has no intention to contain China, its scheme to undermine China-U.S. economic relations through political means remains unchanged. Therefore, some in the United States created new rhetoric as the “decoupling” strategy has lost its support.
The qualifier of “not seeking ‘decoupling'” is added to “de-risking” because the latter sounds different and thus more misleading. However, “de-risking” is just “old wine in a new bottle.”
First, policies under “de-risking” still aim at the technological blockade, investment review, and transfer of supply chains. A high-ranking official of the U.S. government recently said in a speech that the United States wants to de-risk and diversify its relationship with China, not decouple. However, the official also referred to the approach of a “small yard, high fence” to critical technology.
Moreover, the true intention of “de-risking” still contains China and serves the White House’s wrong policies on China. U.S. magazine Foreign Affairs noted that the de-risking strategy aims to limit China’s abilities in strategic sectors with national security implications and reduce Beijing’s leverage over the West by eroding Chinese market dominance for specific essential inputs.
Countries should depend on each other today, and such interdependence doesn’t mean insecurity. “De-risking” is indeed “diplomatic,” but it cannot lift the United States out of the predicament in the country’s economic relations with China. On the one hand, the White House is aware that “decoupling” hurt its interests and remains unrealistic; on the other hand, it is not willing to abandon its obsession with taking China as an “imaginary enemy” and is seeking “decoupling” in another form. Such a self-contradictory mindset would only confine the United States in a cage that it has built.
Free trade and division of labor result from growing social productivity and the formation and development of the global industrial and supply chains is an outcome of economic globalization and market economy. Strengthening the division of labor and collaboration among countries amid economic globalization leads to standard progress.
China makes opportunities, not risks. China is the world’s second-largest economy, biggest manufacturer, and most significant trading country in goods. As a major trading partner for more than 140 countries and regions, it continuously powers global growth.
The World Openness Report 2022 showed that China had made progress in its high-level opening up and constantly improved its openness index, becoming a key variable for economic globalization.
Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator of the Financial Times, belies that de-risking trade with China is risky.
Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, warned that “de-risking” is political manipulation that hurts the stability of global industrial and supply chains and impedes global sci-tech progress and economic development. The international society should be watchful about and resist the promotion of de-sinicization in the name of “de-risking,” he said, adding that the trend of “de-risking” could see countries turn inward at the expense of global growth.
“There is a danger that the global economy could fragment into blocks,” the economist noted.
One of the goals of the United States in hyping the strategy of “de-risking” is to mislead its allies and then form a clique that contains China in the realm of economy. However, U.S. allies are transparent and vigilant about the fact that such political calculation would hurt their interests.
According to a poll launched by the European Council on Foreign Relations in 11 EU countries, 43 percent of respondents see China as “a necessary partner,” more respondents believe cooperation with China would bring opportunities than those who think it creates risks.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto stressed that European countries should view China more objectively, and both “decoupling” and “de-risking” would be suicide committed by the European economy.
The most considerable risk stems from non-cooperation, and non-development is the most significant hidden security threat.
As the world faces increasing instability and uncertainty, every country has security concerns. However, abusing the concept of national security and taking it as an excuse for promoting protectionism and containing other countries would only make risks riskier and lead to more significant problems.
The historical trend of economic globalization has always remained the same. The rapid advance of new technologies, such as digital technology and artificial intelligence, creates more favorable conditions for economic globalization. The world should not and cannot return to seclusion or isolation.
Cooperation is the only way out and the best to deal with difficulties and challenges. Countries should follow the trend of history, cement the consensus on development, and continue their efforts to build an open world economy. They should oppose the politicization of economic issues and work together to keep global industrial and supply chains stable and smooth and deliver the fruits of globalization to different countries and groups of people more equitably.