Dutch Intelligence Agency Identifies China as Biggest Threat to Economic Stability

Europe doesn't seem to share the same level of concern as Washington about the potential danger posed by China. However, the Netherlands, which has significant economic ties with Beijing, is reassessing its relationship with China in light of growing threats flagged by Dutch security services.

  • The Dutch intelligence agency's warning was issued shortly after Emmanuel Macron's visit to the country, during which he suggested that the EU should remain neutral in any potential conflict between the US and China
  • The Chinese government, on the other hand, expressed their displeasure at the Dutch intelligence agency's statement and urged officials to downplay the perceived threat from China

Europe Divided on China Policy

The European Union desires to decrease its dependence on products from China, yet both Germany and France have no intention of ending ties with China. Macron, specifically, has been advocating for a more autonomous European foreign policy, given concerns about the relationship with the US.

  • Nonetheless, convincing the Netherlands to support this idea will require more than just a state visit
  • Recently, Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra warned that China would encounter difficulties if it provided arms to Russia for its conflict in Ukraine
  • Additionally, Prime Minister Mark Rutte expressed skepticism about China's ascent, stating, “I don’t see how this will be China’s century.”

Compromised Trade Ties

The rising political tensions between the US and China are also impacting trade relations between the two countries. The Netherlands, home to the chip machine firm ASML, has agreed to participate in the US effort to restrict exports of chip technology to China, following the revelation that a former ASML worker in China had stolen confidential information.

  • However, not all Dutch citizens are convinced, with some suggesting that US President Biden may have influenced Prime Minister Rutte's decision during their meeting in the Oval Office
  • Despite this, ASML's CEO Peter Wennink has resisted some of the limitations placed on his company's business in China, though the export restrictions may eventually impact some of the company's sales

Ultimately, national security concerns have taken precedence over business interests, with Rutte emphasizing the importance of maintaining Europe and the US's leading edge in the chip sector.


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