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Why Europe Is Getting Tough on China

And What It Means for Washington

French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attend a meeting at the Élysée Palace in Paris, France, March 2019 Philippe Wojazer / Pool via REUTERS

Over the past two years, Washington has come to embrace a policy of strategic competition with China. The Trump administration’s National Defense Strategy and National Security Strategy make clear that the United States sees China as a great power rival not only militarily but also in a contest for economic and technological supremacy.

As a result, an effective coalition to manage China’s rise can no longer center on Asian security partnerships alone but must now include the world’s principal concentrations of economic power, technological progress, and liberal democratic values. Among these are many of the United States’ partners in the Indo-Pacific, such as Australia, India, and Japan. But the European Union and its major member states are also becoming increasingly critical U.S. counterparts in dealing with China.

As next week’s EU-China summit approaches, Europe has begun to fundamentally rethink its China policies. The shift is

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