WA few weeks before Donald Trump’s term ends, the United States is presented with a particularly lofty bill for this president’s poorly crafted policy. Under the leadership of China, the Asean Association states of Southeast Asia as well as Japan and other states in Asia and the Pacific are uniting to form the largest free trade area in the world.
Many of the states that are party to the new agreement know all too well how China means “leadership”. Territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where China sovereignly ignores the rulings of international courts, are just one example.
The fact that Beijing’s relations with the weakest people have not been a sufficient deterrent on the one hand is completely understandable, on the other hand it is also an indirect effect of Trump’s path of “decoupling” the United States from the rest of the world.
Southeast Asians hope China will respect the treaty
Southeast Asians and other members of the new alliance had little economic choice. Now you obviously have to hope that China will abide by the rules set out in the agreement. In recent months, Hong Kong citizens in particular have painfully experienced that such good behavior cannot be taken for granted.
The Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement negotiated years ago, in which the US hoped to at least get China under control, seems like a distant memory. But the New York real estate agent, who still considers himself the greatest president in history, terminated this contract in a grand gesture early in his term.
The pieces that Donald Trump left behind must now be cleaned up by his successor, Joe Biden. It’s not a job to envy the elected president for. Europe, which can claim an important position in the world at least in trade policy, should support Biden in this.