Economic historian Chris Miller confirmed that leaders in the West adopted the phrase “de-risking” to describe their approach to China, after the level of tension with it rose.
Miller said in an article published at The Economist magazine that following this approach by the West requires continued imposition of restrictions on technology and investment on China, while preserving trade with it, stressing that this strategy will never succeed.
Regarding the reasons for the support of this strategy by the West, Miller said that the United States and Japan follow a flexible discourse to preserve the wavering European allies, who consider China a “Systemic Competitor”, and thus the strategy appears risk-free and inexpensive.
As for the second reason, according to Miller, the administration of US President Joe Biden hopes that the pressure campaign it imposed on Beijing will succeed and make China more compliant with it.
Regarding the reasons for the failure of the low-cost risk removal strategy, the economic historian pointed out that China believes it can overcome the technology limitations imposed by the West.
The second reason is that Western companies don’t listen to politicians’ rhetoric and instead take costly steps to restructure their relationship with China.
The third reason, according to Miller, is that China is pursuing its own agenda to reduce its dependence on Western manufacturing technology, while continuing its efforts to make the West more dependent on Chinese products, from low-quality chips to electric cars.
This may lead to a new round of technological and trade tension.
Miller stressed that the West will inevitably impose new restrictions, and this matter may lead to the difficulty of isolating economic relations from the deteriorating political relations between the West and China.
The economic historian explained that power struggles, whether diplomatic or economic, are only resolved when one side surrenders.
According to Miller, China believes it still has a lot of cards to play with the impact of the confrontation on trade relations.