This chapter analyses the main reasons provided by Chinese and EU policy makers for the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership since Autumn 2003. It includes discussions of how policy makers in Europe and China would perceive the post‐Cold War international system, evaluate the place and role of their countries in it, and appraise the policies to be adopted to maintain global competitiveness in key strategic industrial sectors. This chapter employs the IR notion of soft balancing to explain behaviour by some powerful EU political and corporate elites to fashion — beneath the rhetoric about strategic partnership — a techno‐political linkage with China aimed to achieve three things: (a) counter a perceived US preponderance in the technologically‐advanced aerospace and defence sectors; (b) increase scientific, technological, and political autonomy from Washington; and (c) foster the emergence of a world order characterized by multiple poles of influence.
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