The current two regional hot wars in the world that may affect the international geopolitical landscape are a topic of special concern in the international edition of the French national newspaper published on the 7th. One is the Russia-Ukraine war on the European battlefield, and the other is the Israel-Kazakhstan conflict in the Middle East that has lasted for one month. Regarding China, both Les Echos and Le Figaro focused on Australian Prime Minister Albanese’s visit to China and sorted out signs of warming relations between China and Australia. Les Echos also published an article introducing the efforts of multinational companies to reduce their dependence on China.
Australian Prime Minister’s visit to China: The highest level meeting between China and Australia in seven years
A report by “Echo” reporter in Sydney, Australia pointed out that the meeting between Australian Prime Minister Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing was symbolic from many perspectives. This is the first Australian Prime Minister to visit China in the past seven years, which shows that the tense relationship between China and Australia is gradually stabilizing. For Australia, China is Australia’s largest economic partner, accounting for a quarter of Australia’s external exports. This article briefly reviews the process of the relationship between the two countries turning from a golden era between 2021 and 2016 to a cooling of tensions. Among them are the Australian government’s decision to ban the domestic deployment of 5G networks developed by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, and Australia’s public call for an international investigation into the origin of the new coronavirus. China has resorted to economic sanctions. In 2021, Australia decided to form the Orcus Trilateral Security Agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom. However, since the Albanese government took office in 2022, its efforts to seek relaxation have begun to take effect. China has lifted tariffs on some Australian products and recently released Australian Chinese journalist Cheng Lei who had been imprisoned for three years. Australia also finally released China Landbridge Group’s 99-year lease on the Port of Darwin. However, this article also emphasized that a week before the leaders of China and Australia shook hands in Beijing to make peace, Australia and the European Union had just announced the suspension of free trade negotiations that had been delayed for five years.
China wants to avoid Australia deepening ties with the US
“Le Figaro” published a report on the Australian Prime Minister’s visit to China in its economic supplement, highlighting the economic interests of both parties, pointing out that Beijing needs Australia’s rich mineral resources, while Canberra needs China, a vital buyer. In addition to the thaw in diplomatic relations, trade relations between the two Pacific powers have also picked up. Although relations between the two countries have deteriorated in recent years, one-third of Australia’s exports still go to China. Tensions have arisen from a ban on Huawei’s 5G network, calls for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, a trilateral security agreement between the United States, Britain and Australia, and disputes over what are seen as Chinese influence infiltration operations. Some analysts believe that China’s desire to ease relations with Australia undoubtedly also hopes to prevent Australia from continuing to strengthen its relations with the United States. Of course, China also needs Australia’s rich mineral resources.
ECB survey: Multinational companies in Europe hope to reduce dependence on China
Multinational companies want to reduce their dependence on China. Les Echos published an article in its corporate section introducing a survey recently announced by the European Central Bank. The survey shows that 42% of multinational companies in the EU are considering transferring their supply chains to friendly countries within five years. In surveys conducted in the past few years, only 9% of companies held this view. However, the article specifically pointed out that Europe may not be the biggest beneficiary of multinational groups’ efforts to restructure their supply chains, because only 20% of the companies surveyed are willing to deploy their supply chains in other EU member states. Among the 65 companies surveyed, two-thirds first listed China as a country that may cause supply chain problems. More than 10% of companies also cited the United States, Taiwan, India, Turkey and Russia. But supply chain migration is not easy. The survey shows that nearly two-thirds of multinational companies believe that if raw materials or semi-finished products from these countries are suddenly unavailable, it will be difficult for them to find alternatives. But the survey also noted that many companies are considering moving production lines outside the EU. This could lead to unemployment problems in Europe over the next five years. The shift in the industrial chain will also be reflected in product prices. 60% of companies said that the average price of their products has increased in the past five years.
Regarding the Israel-Kazakhstan conflict in the Middle East, Les Echos published a special article focusing on the possible impact of the Israel-Kazakhstan conflict on Lebanon, which is already in a political and economic crisis. It believes that Lebanon is currently on the verge of total chaos. The conflict between Israel and Kazakhstan has divided international public opinion into two camps. One side supports Israel’s counterattack against Hamas’s terrorist attacks, while the other side cannot stand the constant innocent casualties caused by Israeli counterattacks in the Gaza corridor. The “Liberation” report noted that public opinion within Israel has become increasingly sharp and confrontational. “Cruz” published a front-page headline today, warning of the increasing number of remarks or actions against the Jewish community in France in the past month of the Israel-Kazakhstan conflict. An article in the opinion page of “Le Figaro” analyzed that the impact of the Israel-Kazakhstan conflict on a global scale may be detrimental to the entire West because it weakens the unjust characteristics of Russia’s war invading Ukraine and also affects Western society. Catalysts for social division were sown from within.