Eu rising superpower overtake america says beijing
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EU viewed by China as world power to rival US
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Brussels
The European Union is the world's rising superpower, poised to overtake both America and Japan as the biggest trade and investment force in China, according to a strategic policy paper published by Beijing yesterday.
The Chinese government said the EU was transforming the global landscape with its successful currency launch and strides towards a joint foreign policy, defence, and judicial union.
Describing EU integration as "irreversible", Beijing marvelled at Europe's 25-35 per cent share of the global economy and its projected 450 million population after expanding into the former communist bloc next year.
The white paper follows a flurry of Sino-EU ventures, including the Galileo global satellite system, described as a direct challenge to the American GPS monopoly in space.
The two sides are also working together on nuclear research.
France and Germany have been pushing hardest for closer ties with China, hoping to cash in on a lucrative market but also to develop a strategic alliance as a counterweight to American power after the diplomatic trauma of the Iraq war.
Last June, the French defence minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, proposed sharing sensitive military technology with Beijing. She called for a softening of the arms embargo imposed on the country after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.
The Chinese already have the world's second biggest defence budget, £40 million annually, but they have to rely on outdated weaponry bought from Russia and Ukraine.
Yesterday's white paper said the ever-closer military ties rendered the EU embargo a relic from the last century.
China's efforts to court Brussels reflect a new mood of respect for the EU across Asia. India is also rushing to upgrade its ties with Europe, recruiting extra staff to lobby EU officials and MEPs.