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The salvation of defense Europe: in China?

(BRUSSELS2) China will work with the European Union to " create favorable conditions for the development of defense cooperation ". Chinese National Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said Wednesday afternoon after a visit by the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua. Defense departments on both sides held three rounds of political dialogues before a summit meeting between Catherine Ashton and Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie. China wants "work to enrich and expand the content of the China-EU strategic cooperation partnership added Yang.

The news may seem surprising. This is to forget that informal but regular cooperation has already developed in the Indian Ocean between European forces and Chinese forces in the fight against piracy, which is of great concern to China. A country that depends just as much as Europe on the sea route for its world trade. It is essentially in this area that China wants to deepen its cooperation with the EU, particularly in terms of escorting ships, cooperation within the group of contacts for Somalia. This interest is also not without ulterior motives. Beyond the EU, China is also thinking of its member states. China has established military relations with the 27 EU member countries, carrying out cooperation with them in various fields explained the spokesperson.

Very present at the economic level, and recently at the monetary level, by agreeing to play one of the firefighters of Europe (cf. the latest results of the European summit held last night), China thus affirms its desire to be a "global" partner, including in military matters. Interesting at a time when European defense doubts itself. The Chinese partner does not seem to doubt the interest of these questions for our continent.

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).