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Title: The search for a comprehensive strategic partnership between the European Union and China : obstacles and prospects
Author: Ambrosetti, Massimo
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 760X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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Massimo Ambrosetti The search for a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the European Union and China: obstacles and prospects. ABSTRACT Notwithstanding the development of an impressive framework of cooperation – based on regular meetings, initiatives and dialogues – the EU-China “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” seems to be still in search of a truly strategic dimension. In assessing the obstacles and prospects of the Partnership, the thesis offers -through the lens of a pluralist and post-positivist epistemological/hermeneutical approach - an interpretive “fil rouge” which seeks to break the logic that has often insulated the EU-China relations in the “comfort zone” offered by the architecture and institutional logic of their bilateral interaction. On this basis some crucial ideational elements which shape the identity, the historical-cultural background and the actorness of the two strategic partners are analyzed in order to better understand not only the persistent “conceptual gaps” but also an increasing normative divergence affecting the strategic dimension of the relationship. In this perspective the thesis focuses on the degree of convergence/divergence between Brussels and Beijing by considering the influence of these ideational factors in areas - such as human rights and the approach to multilateralism - which are key test beds for evaluating the structural strategic dimension of the EU-China Partnership. In analyzing the conceptual, normative and operational divergence of key components of the EU-China Partnership the thesis assesses its impact also in terms of policy implications, in particular problematizing the traditional EU’s approach of “constructive engagement”. In a complex framework in which European national China policies coexist with new Chinese initiatives aimed at individual European countries, the thesis not only deconstructs key tenets of the Partnership such as “constructive engagement” and “multipolar world” but also problematizes possible new paradigms by underlying that their coherence and sustainability is challenged by the increasingly diverging dynamics affecting the Partnership in the broader process of change which characterizes 21st century international relations. In this context of complex interaction the strategic dimension of the Partnership and its future potential role is thus assessed for its significance in the framework of a “strategic triangle” in which the United States continues to be an inevitable counterpart for both Europe and China in an evolving international system.
Supervisor: Hill, Christopher J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: EU Strategic Partnerships ; EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership ; EU-China Conceptual Gaps ; EU-China Ideational And Normative Divergence ; COnstructive Engagement Reconsidered ; EU-US-China Strategic Triangle