CHINA / DIPLOMACY
New 'Atlantic Charter' misreads trend of time, risks destabilizing Europe: expert
Published: Jun 10, 2021 10:19 PM
US President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C. on April 28. Photo: Xinhua

US President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C. on April 28. Photo: Xinhua



US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson are expected to agree on a new "Atlantic Charter" that will reaffirm US-UK "special relationship" as Biden looks to rally the West to compete with China. Chinese observers noted a single document cannot address trans-Atlantic differences and it misreads the major trend of the time and risks destabilizing Europe. 

Biden and Johnson will have their first face-to-face meeting on Thursday in Cornwall before the UK-hosted G7 leaders' summit on Friday. The accord will outline eight broad areas of cooperation, including defending democracy, reaffirming the importance of collective security, and building a fair trade system, Financial Times reported Thursday.

"China is not mentioned by name but the clear subtext is that the two leaders intend to co-operate in handling the strategic rivalry with Beijing," according to the news report. 

US and UK used a bilateral meeting and the accord before the G7 summit to "show their special relationship," which was marginalized when the EU was intact and acted jointly, but became important again after Brexit, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

The meeting came at a time when Johnson attempted to boost the UK's global credibility after Brexit, while Biden hopes to reassure its European allies and win their support for a collective front against China. 

The historic Atlantic Charter signed by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt mapped out a postwar global order, leading directly to the creation of the UN and NATO.

But the new charter is misreading the trend of time, Li said. 

The old charter 80 years ago used the US-UK special relationship as a leverage to rebuild Europe, but Li pointed out for today's Europe, integration is more beneficial to the bloc than alienating the EU framework.

The more integrated the bloc is, the more stable the region will be. If other countries follow the UK and further shake the basis of European integration, nobody can tell exactly what will happen," the expert said.

There are challenges the world is facing, with the most prominent one being walking out of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the right path is a real multilateral cooperation, observers said. 

The two leaders also face real challenges in walking closer through the accord, including the future of Northern Ireland, uncertainty in a trade deal the UK eagerly wanted, and an unpleasant interaction - Biden once called the British leader a "physical and emotional clone" of Trump.    


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