China and the European Union (EU), both old and unique civilisations, are ­relatively young actors in international relations. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was founded in 1949 and the European Coal and Steel Community (the precursor of the European Economic Community (EEC)) in 1951. Only over recent decades have they gradually shown their respective international potential, after relatively inward-looking periods and after the end of the bipolar world. They share two major historical critical junctures as causes of political and institutional change: the defeat of two fascist regional imperialist orders – in Europe and Asia – during World War II, and the collapse of the bipolar world with the global primacy of the United States of America (US) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), a major event paving the way to the emergence of new global actors. China and the EU, as new, even if profoundly different, global actors and international policy-makers, are addressing questions relevant not only to the evolving global order but also to international relations theory.