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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the analysis of cooperation between the EC/EU1 and China using an eclectic approach which proposes that the fluctuation between bilateral and multilateral interregional cooperation process is influenced by actors’ strategic choices in pursuing a material, institutional or ideational focus in their interaction. The chapter conducts a broad analysis of the material, institutional and ideational elements of the EC-China inter-regional partnership. It contends that, in its relationship with China, the EU appeared to consistently opt for a bilateral strategy, with a priority on material interests. Using the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) as the main multilateral forum for engagement between Europe and Asia, there is little evidence to suggest that the EU pursued a multilateral strategy with China. The first part analyses the EC’s motivations for inter-regionalism. The second part observes the material, institutional and ideational influences in the EC-China bilateral and multilateral partnerships. The final part argues that active bilateralism has taken precedence in the EC’s dealings with China, while passive multilateralism remains an option for future engagement between the two.



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