EU diplomatic relations with China were established in 1975 and are governed by the 1985 EU-China Trade and Cooperation Agreement and seven other legally binding agreements. This rapprochement between the two powers culminated in the setting up in 1988 of a delegation by the EC Commission in Beijing just before the relation started to deteriorate as a result of the Tiananmen events in 1989. Despite persistent tensions on human rights issues, the EU's relation with China has continuously deepened including support for China's accession to the WTO in 2001. By launching a strategic partnership' in 2003, EU is clearly acknowledging China as a key player in the global arena.
However, is there a full convergence of all 27 national member states towards a unified EU foreign policy towards China? Or is there a competition preventing a better coordination and undermining the achievement of an influential CFSP? Therefore, this essay will attempt to assess whether Sino-EU relations have been translating into a convergence of the foreign policies of individual EU Member States or if they provide a good example of how national interests prevail. In order to tackle these questions, the essay will focus on three areas: the low politics' of trade, the high politics' of security, and finally human rights and the promotion of democracy.
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