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Europe and ChinaStrategic Partners or Rivals?$
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Roland Vogt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9789888083879

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888083879.001.0001

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Problematizing “Constructive Engagement” in EU-China Policy

Problematizing “Constructive Engagement” in EU-China Policy

Chapter:
(p.37) Chapter 2 Problematizing “Constructive Engagement” in EU-China Policy
Source:
Europe and China
Author(s):
Roland Vogt
Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888083879.003.0003

'Constructive engagement' is the rhetorical hallmark of Europe's policy towards China. This approach fits with the European self-imagination as a normative and civilian power that promotes regional integration and multilateral channels to advance its interests. But a closer critical analysis reveals that this European self-conception is not only an attempt to discursively create its own identity but also a normative project to gradually transform China. Arguably this is a false promise which has exacerbated the misexpectations and the cognitive gap between both sides. The longer this European self-imagination is kept intact the more disillusionment the EU will experience in its relations with China.

Keywords:   Constructive engagement, Rhetoric, Norms, False promise, Self/Other construction

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