Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has emerged as the biggest supporter of China on international forums. The European Union’s close ties with the United States create a problem for the organization as one of its fellow members sings the praises of Xi Jinping.
The United States under President Biden has been an absolute flop show in countering China’s increasing economic influence over the world. Unlike Biden, his predecessor had things under control with him waging a trade war over China to maintain the United States’ powerful economic and military grip over the world. Well, now the effective King has been replaced and the rivals are aggressive.
Why is Rutte Singing The “China” Song?
The Netherlands and China share very close economic ties, possibly the strongest China has with any nation in Europe. Among the EU nations, the Netherlands has the deepest association with the Chinese supply route chain.
The Netherlands was the biggest importer of goods from China in 2021, according to EU data. China is the country’s third-biggest trade partner after neighbors Germany and Belgium. Amsterdam’s indigenous chip production powerhouse company ASML Holding NV has been a key player behind China’s very profitable chip-making industry.
The Netherlands is an export powerhouse that exported goods and services worth $550 billion in 2021. Amsterdam’s partial dependence on China to maintain trade has been troubling Rutte.
Rutte’s anxiety over the EU’s resistant stand towards China stems from Netherlands’ strong trade relations with Beijing. Netherlands’ indigenous Government economic analysis organization “Central Planning Bureau ” has warned against the deep impact on the local economy if ties are severed with China.
The EU considers itself to be the champion of “Human Rights”. The union has been vocal against China’s support of Russia amid the ongoing war. European countries have tried to sway China to employ its influence and condemn Russia’s “illegal” aggression.
The EU has also been targeting China on the issues of running a forced labor program in Xinjiang targeting minority Uygurs and crackdowns in Hong Kong. Beijing, however, has denied the mistreatment of minority communities and has claimed its aggression in Hong Kong to be a rightful attempt to protect its sovereignty. The EU, backed by the United States, is pushing towards decreasing involvement with Beijing over several matters as a response to its human rights abuses.
Rutte, however, is not so happy about the Anti-China wave in Europe. He said the EU should address those topics but should not isolate countries that do not live up to European standards. Cutting ties with China will not “help anyone in Hong Kong or the Uygurs,” he said in Brussels after an EU summit.
Rutte said he always addresses the issues with China, including the last time he spoke to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. However, Rutte’s “Efforts” do not seem to be bringing the Chinese to their senses.
After a summit in April, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell said the talks were “a dialogue of the deaf” with China refusing to discuss the war in Ukraine, human rights, or other issues between the two sides.
Apart from the Russian Ukraine conflict that itself is a propaganda war fueled by Biden, the issue of China’s grave “Human Rights” abuses should be countered by all global powers including the Netherlands.