In the following short video, produced by China Daily, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez discusses the extraordinary changes that have taken place in China over the last decade since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Carlos particularly emphasises the progress in poverty alleviation, environmental protection, foreign policy, and the pursuit of common prosperity.
China’s proposal for a Global Development Initiative (GDI) has made considerable progress since it was proposed by President Xi Jinping at the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021. Thirty-five countries joined China to formally launch the Group of Friends of the GDI on January 20th. Addressing a High-Level Virtual Meeting of the Group on May 9th, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was able to report that so far more than 100 countries have expressed support for the initiative and 53 have joined the Group of Friends. He put forward four key areas where all parties could work together to deliver concrete results, namely: re-energising global cooperation on the 2030 Global Agenda; creating a favourable environment to accelerate global development; fostering an equal and balanced global development partnership; enabling the UN system to play the central and guiding role.
China, the Foreign Minister continued, would enhance consultation and hold a future high-level meeting to promote global development; increase input into development along with support for South-South cooperation; establish a pool of shared projects, to which proposals would be welcome; and prepare a Global Development Report to promote international exchanges based on respecting countries’ explorations of their own development paths.
Besides high-ranking officials from participating countries, the meeting also heard an address from UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The following report of Wang Yi’s speech was originally carried on the website of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On May 9, 2022, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the High-Level Virtual Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) in Beijing via video link.
Wang Yi said, we meet at a time when the world is beset by global changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century. World economic recovery is facing headwinds. North-South gap keeps widening. Development cooperation is losing steam. And the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is facing unprecedented challenges. Last September, President Xi Jinping proposed the GDI at the UN General Assembly. The purpose is to galvanize worldwide attention to development, strengthen global development partnership, promote international development cooperation, and lend fresh impetus to the realization of the 2030 SDGs.
Wang Yi said that since the very beginning, the GDI has been warmly received by the international community. More than 100 countries expressed support, and as many as 53 countries have joined the Group of Friends. This fully shows that the GDI responds to the call of the times, meets the needs of various countries, and reflects the trend of the world as well as the aspiration of the people. The GDI is committed to building political consensus on accelerating development, building a common platform for development cooperation, promoting exchanges and mutual learning of development experience, and enhancing international synergy for coordinated development. China proposes that all parties work together in four key areas for the GDI to deliver concrete results.Continue reading Wang Yi addresses the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative
On May 3rd, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of greetings to Jose Ramos-Horta on his election as President of Timor-Leste. Ramos-Horta is due to assume office on May 20th. He previously served as President, 2008-2012, and Prime Minister, 2006-2007.
Relations between China and Timor-Leste have a long history and illustrate China’s principle of treating countries large and small as equals as well as its support for the national liberation struggles of the oppressed nations.
Having been a Portuguese colony for four centuries, Timor-Leste proclaimed its independence as the Democratic Republic of East Timor on November 28th 1975, with a young Ramos-Horta as its Foreign Minister. China was one of the few countries to recognise the new state. After Indonesia invaded and occupied the new republic on December 7th 1975, China continued to support the Timorese people’s right to self-determination. As then Chinese Ambassador Fu Yuancong wrote in 2011:
“The well-established relationship between China and Timor-Leste has a long history. China sided with the Timorese people with sympathy and support during their struggle for national independence. China is proud to be the first country establishing diplomatic ties with Timor-Leste after its founding.”
A number of articles in the international media have expressed the view that Ramos-Horta’s return to the presidency will further strengthen his country’s already friendly relations with China. For example, on April 22nd, the leading French daily Le Monde wrote: “The elected president of this island nation twice the size of Corsica, which shares its territory with the other half of the island belonging to Indonesia (West Timor), does not hide his pro-Beijing sympathies. He wants to see China continue its investments in Timor-Leste, the official name of the country. This includes the financing of an oil and gas mega-project off the southern coast, estimated to cost 18 billion U.S. dollars (17 billion euros). ‘China is not a threat, but an opportunity,’ Ramos-Horta insisted in September 2019, in an interview with Le Monde. ‘To think that we could end up the victims of the Chinese ‘debt trap’ is absurd!’ he added.”
The following report of President Xi’s message was originally carried by China Daily.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday sent a congratulatory message to Jose Ramos-Horta on his election as Timor-Leste’s president.
In his message, Xi pointed out that over the past 20 years since China and Timor-Leste established diplomatic ties, the two countries have been continuously deepening their practical cooperation, greatly developed bilateral relations, and brought tangible benefits to their people, which is a vivid reflection of countries, big and small, treating each other as equals and engaging in win-win cooperation.
Xi said he attaches great importance to the development of China-Timor-Leste relations, and stands ready to work with President Ramos-Horta to bring the comprehensive cooperative partnership of good-neighborliness, friendship, mutual trust and mutual benefit between the two countries to a new level.
On April 29th Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi joined Acting Prime Minister of Dominica Reginald Austrie in jointly hosting a video meeting with the foreign ministers of Caribbean countries having diplomatic relations with China. (Austrie was deputising for Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit who was paying an official visit to Cuba where he was awarded the Order José Martí, the socialist Caribbean island’s highest honour.) Foreign Ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago attended the meeting.
Wang Yi said that China and the Caribbean countries enjoy long-standing friendship, and the two sides are good friends, good partners and good brothers sharing the same ideal. He put forward four suggestions to further develop the partnership between the two sides.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the English-speaking Caribbean. Guyana led the way on 27th June 1972 followed by Jamaica on 21st November that year. At the meeting, Guyana’s Foreign Minister Hugh Todd commended Beijing for its “commitment to true multilateralism”.
Wang Yi Hosts the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Among China and the Caribbean Countries Having Diplomatic Relations with China
On April 29, 2022, the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Among China and the Caribbean Countries Having Diplomatic Relations with China was held via video link. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Acting Prime Minister of Dominica Reginald Austrie co-chaired the meeting. Foreign Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Everly Paul Chet Greene, Foreign Minister of the Bahamas Frederick A. Mitchell, Foreign Minister of Grenada Oliver Joseph, Foreign Minister of Guyana Hugh Hilton Todd, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica Kamina Johnson Smith, Foreign Minister of Suriname Albert R. Ramdin, Foreign Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Amery Browne, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados Sandra Husbands were present at the meeting.Continue reading China-Caribbean friendship continues to blossom
The three Chinese journalists who were murdered when the US-led NATO forces bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, in violation of all norms of international law, during the vicious war against Yugoslavia in 1999, were remembered by Serbian and Chinese officials on May 7th.
Speaking at the ceremony, Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin, said: “Chinese citizens that laid their lives here, didn’t even need to be here, but they chose to do so, in order to share the most difficult and saddest moments with us… Serbia will never stop asking for responsibility for crimes conducted by NATO during their aggression… Those (Western powers) which now ask from us to align with their policies should remember their statements from 1999.”
The following report was originally published by Xinhua.
Laying wreaths at memorial plaques here dedicated to the three Chinese journalists killed in the NATO bombing of the former Chinese embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, representatives of Serbia and China on Saturday commemorated the Chinese martyrs and condemned NATO’s “barbaric act.”
Among the officials present at the commemoration were Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin, Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Darija Kisic Tepavcevic, and Tian Yishu, Charge d’affaires of the Chinese embassy in Serbia.
“Chinese citizens that laid their lives here, didn’t even need to be here, but they chose to do so, in order to share the most difficult and saddest moments with us,” Vulin said.
“Serbia will never stop asking for responsibility for crimes conducted by NATO during their aggression,” Vulin said. “Those (Western powers) which now ask from us to align with their policies should remember their statements from 1999.”
He noted that Serbia and China “have a friendship made of steel, forged in the most difficult of times.”
Tian said that “China-Serbia friendship of steel is now playing a vital role in the peace and economic recovery of this region.”
“We wish to continue comprehensive cooperation with all peace-loving countries, both in fields of economic cooperation and security,” he said.
Svetozar Parezanin, a retired colonel of the Serbian Army who came here with a local citizen association, held a banner with photographs of the three killed journalists — Shao Yunhuan of Xinhua News Agency, and Xu Xinghu and his wife Zhu Ying of the Guangming Daily newspaper.
“We remember that day very well, and we will never forget it. We come here every year to show our feeling of respect towards brotherly Chinese people,” Parezanin said.
On April 27th, as part of a regional tour, Chinese State Councilor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in the capital Tehran.
The Iranian President said that Iran and China share weal and woe and hold similar stances and support each other in international affairs. Iran opposes unilateralism, hegemonism and external interference and firmly supports China in safeguarding its core interests. Iran thanks for China’s support and assistance over the years in its difficult period and hopes that the two sides will further expand cooperation areas and strengthen all-round cooperation including in the military field.
General Wei noted that his visit demonstrates the importance of China-Iran relations and embodies mutual firm support and common progress. China firmly supports Iran in safeguarding state sovereignty and national dignity, and stands ready to work with Iran to cope with various risks and challenges, safeguard the common interests of both sides and jointly safeguard regional and world peace and stability.
General Wei’s Iran visit was preceded by visits to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and followed by one to Oman. Whilst in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan, General Wei noted that China firmly opposes external forces deliberately instigating a “color revolution” in Kazakhstan and backs the Kazakh side in taking strong measures to safeguard national security and social stability.
He further called for vigilance about certain major powers interfering in Central Asia to disrupt and undermine regional security.
The following report was first carried in China Military Online.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met with the visiting Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe in Tehran on Wednesday.
Ebrahim Raisi said that Iran and China share weal and woe and hold similar stances and support each other in international affairs. Iran opposes unilateralism, hegemonism and external interference and firmly supports China in safeguarding its core interests. Iran thanks for China’s support and assistance over the years in its difficult period and hopes that the two sides will further expand cooperation areas and strengthen all-round cooperation including in the military field.
General Wei Fenghe said that both China and Iran are ancient civilizations and their traditional friendship is getting stronger with the passing of time. Since last year, President Xi Jinping and President Ebrahim Raisi have exchanged phone calls and letters, jointly led the China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership to make new progress.
General Wei pointed out that this visit is an important one against the backdrop of the current turbulent international situation. It demonstrates the importance of China-Iran relations and embodies the mutual firm support and common progress. China firmly supports Iran in safeguarding state sovereignty and national dignity, and stands ready to work with Iran to cope with various risks and challenges, safeguard the common interests of both sides and jointly safeguard regional and world peace and stability.
General Wei said that the military-to-military cooperation between China and Iran has been expanding in recent years, and the Chinese military is willing to maintain strategic communication, make good use of cooperation mechanism and promote practical cooperation with the Iranian side, so as to push the development of military-to-military relations to a higher level.
On the same day, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Mohammad Bagheri also met with General Wei Fenghe, and Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani held a welcome ceremony for Wei Fenghe and held a formal talk with him. During the talks and meetings, the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the international and regional security situation, the Iranian nuclear issue and the situation in Ukraine, and also reached a number of consensus on strengthening strategic communication at the top level of the two militaries and deepening practical cooperation in such areas as exchanges between services and arms, joint exercises and training and personnel training.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met by video link on May 11th with new Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. It was Bhutto Zardari’s first official bilateral engagement since assuming office. The meeting also occurred against the background of recent terrorist attacks targeting Chinese nationals in Pakistan.
Wang Yi stressed that the friendship between China and Pakistan will be passed on from generation to generation and will not be shaken or changed by a single incident.
Bhutto Zardari’s mother, Benazir Bhutto, and especially his grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, both former Prime Ministers, were pioneers of the special friendship between China and Pakistan. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the last foreign leader to meet with Chairman Mao Zedong on May 27th 1976. The last publicly known photos of Chairman Mao also date from that meeting.
The following report first appeared in CGTN.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday said that the friendship between China and Pakistan will be passed on from generation to generation and will not be shaken or changed by a single incident.
Wang made the remarks when meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari via video link, calling on the two sides to thwart any attempt to undermine bilateral ties.
China and Pakistan are unique and time-tested all-weather strategic cooperative partners, Wang noted.Continue reading Wang Yi: China-Pakistan friendship will not be shaken
We are very pleased to publish the full text of the speech given on May 10th 2022 by President Xi Jinping marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Youth League of China.
In his comprehensive exposition, President Xi outlines how the youth have always stood in the forefront of the struggles and striving of the Chinese people and nation. The May Fourth Movement of the youth and students in 1919, “promoted the spread of Marxism in China, ushered in the new-democratic revolution, and marked the beginning of the youth’s role as the pioneers advancing social changes in China… As Marxism-Leninism was becoming closely integrated with the Chinese workers’ movement, the Communist Party of China was born. Since the day of its founding, the Party has paid particular attention to the youth and placed the hopes of revolution on them.”
He further outlined the indispensable role of the Communist Youth League and young people generally in the periods of the new-democratic revolution, socialist revolution and construction, reform, opening up and socialist modernisation, and the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
“Inspired by ideals and convictions,” Xi pointed out, “the Communist Youth League has organised and united young people with firm belief and scientific thinking. The first national congress of the League defined building a communist society as its ultimate ideal and made clear its banner of socialism, which has lit the beacon of ideals and convictions among generations of young people. This is the most fundamental and enduring cohesion of the League. History tells us that only by holding high the banner of communism and socialism, can the Communist Youth League form the most solid unity, forge the most effective organisation, and ensure that the youth are united under the banner of the Party’s ideals and convictions.”
Expressing the hope that the League would continue to play its vanguard role, President Xi noted that: “Young people are the most vigorous, enterprising, and least conservative group in society, who possess infinite power to improve the objective world and promote social progress,” adding:
“Revolutionaries are always young. Today, a hundred years on from its founding, the Communist Party of China is still in its prime, and remains as determined as ever to achieve lasting greatness for the Chinese nation. Quoting from Engels, Lenin once said, ‘We are the party of the future, and the future belongs to the youth. We are a party of innovators, and it is always the youth that most eagerly follows the innovators. We are a party that is waging a self-sacrificing struggle against the old rottenness, and youth is always the first to undertake a self-sacrificing struggle.’ Both history and reality have shown that the Communist Party of China is a party that always preserves its youthful features and a party that is worthy of the young people’s trust and worth following.”
Party organisations, the Chinese President said, “must attach great importance to the training and recruitment of outstanding young people and should particularly focus on cultivating and admitting outstanding League members into the Party, so as to ensure our socialist country never changes its nature.”
Members of the Communist Youth League of China (League), young friends, and comrades,
Youth gives rise to infinite hope, and young people are the creators of a bright future. A nation can thrive and prosper only when it places hopes on its youth and maintains its youthful vigor.
Today, we are gathered here at the ceremony marking the centenary of the Communist Youth League of China to encourage League members and young people to forge ahead on the new journey toward realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.Continue reading Xi Jinping’s speech marking the centenary of the Communist Youth League of China
We’re pleased to republish this thought-provoking opinion piece from Wang Jiamei in the Global Times. Wang notes that the unilateral sanctions being imposed by the major Western countries are causing significant economic harm around the world, driving up energy and food prices, along with inflation. Furthermore, the extreme financial sanctions (such as removing Russia from the SWIFT system) may affect the ability of developing countries to trade with Russia, and serve as a reminder that the developing countries need to deepen their coordination in order to insulate themselves from the negative effects of the decisions taken by the imperialist countries.
It seems that a gradual embargo on Russian oil has become the focus of the latest round of US-led economic sanctions against Russia, which may lead to further volatility throughout the world economy.
Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations committed on Sunday to “phasing out or banning the import of the Russian oil” in an aim to remove reliance on Russian energy supplies, according to a joint statement.
The G7 decision came just days after Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, announced a plan last week to phase out Russian crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year.Continue reading Developing nations should jointly deal with fallout of Western sanctions on Russia
We are pleased to republish below this comprehensive and thoroughly-researched report by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The report exposes the NED’s origins and rationale – as essentially an extension of the CIA, funded and controlled by the US government. It goes into detail, uncovering the NED’s extensive operations on behalf of US imperialism throughout the world, both in China (backing pro-independence and anti-China groups in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong) and in other countries that refuse to go along with US diktat (including Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Belarus, Libya, Syria, Algeria, and more). The report is well worth reading in full.
The United States has long used democracy as a tool and a weapon to undermine democracy in the name of democracy, to incite division and confrontation, and to meddle in other countries’ internal affairs, causing catastrophic consequences.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), as one of the US government’s main “foot soldiers”, “white gloves” and “democracy crusaders”, has subverted lawful governments and cultivated pro-US puppet forces around the world under the pretext of promoting democracy. Its disgraceful record has aroused strong discontent in the international community.
In today’s world, peace and development is the theme of the times, and the trend towards greater democracy in international relations is unstoppable. Any attempt to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of democracy is unpopular and is doomed to failure.Continue reading Fact Sheet on the National Endowment for Democracy
This article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez explores the hysterical and hypocritical reaction by the US and Australia to the recently-announced security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands. Carlos observes that the Western imperialist powers are attempting to construct – via AUKUS and other means – a Monroe Doctrine in the Pacific, imposing US hegemony over the region as part of their long-term strategy of China containment. The article also deals with the contention that China itself is acting in an imperialist manner in the Pacific.
The Anglo ruling classes have gone into a state of frenzy over a recently-signed security agreement between the People’s Republic of China and the Solomon Islands. Various people who had barely heard of the Solomon Islands just a few weeks ago are now expressing grave concern that this small sovereign nation could be used as a pawn by an aggressive and expansionist China in its bid for world domination.
The deal itself appears to be entirely ordinary, allowing for China to “make ship visits to, carry out logistical replenishment in, and have stopover and transition in the Solomon Islands,” in addition to providing the Solomon Islands police with training and – on invitation – support. Indeed, the Solomon Islands already has similar security cooperation arrangements with Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Fiji; as such, the deal with China simply represents a desire to “seek greater security partnership with other partners and neighbours.”
Responding to criticism of the deal by Australian and US politicians, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare assured that it was signed “with our eyes wide open, guided by our national interests”, and that it has been developed not as a means of power projection but of addressing the island nation’s security needs.
Nonetheless, Western politicians and media have reacted with an anxiety bordering on the hysterical. Indeed the Australian government made repeated attempts to prevent the deal being signed in the first place, and its failure has prompted bitter recrimination. Allan Gyngell from the Australian Institute of International Affairs commented to BBC News that “the objective had to be to stop something like this happening. You can’t read it any other way – this is a failure of Australian diplomacy.” Meanwhile, opposition leader Anthony Albanese described Australia’s failure to prevent the agreement going through as “a massive foreign policy failure” and “a Pacific stuff-up”. The Australian Labor Party is now promising that it will “restore Australia’s place as the partner of choice in the Pacific” if it is successful in the coming federal elections.Continue reading No to a new Monroe Doctrine in the Pacific
The following article from Global Times provides valuable insight into China’s strategy for suppressing the Covid-19 pandemic. Liang Wiannan, a renowned epidemiologist and one of the architects of the Zero Covid approach, outlines the expected consequences of the alternative “lying flat” or “living with the virus” strategy, which relies on gradually building passive/herd immunity. Although China’s overall vaccination rate is high, there is significant variation between regions and age groups. To “live with the virus” at this moment would result in severely stretched medical resources, and would pose a serious threat to patients with underlying diseases, children, seniors, and pregnant women. However, the article makes clear that, as understanding of the virus develops, health authorities are able to restrict the negative side-effects of the suppression strategy with the extensive use of nucleic acid testing.
Why won’t China adopt a “lying flat” strategy in face of Omicron like some Western countries do? Liang Wannian, head of the expert group in China’s epidemic response and disposal leading group, said that to passively respond to Omicron is not China’s option as the country still faces unbalanced medical resources.
Adopting the dynamic zero-COVID strategy could be seen as “purchasing an insurance for 1.4 billion of Chinese people,” Liang said, noting that it helps avoiding large-scale transmissions and outbreaks, protecting people’s lives, effectively diminishing the loss of life expectancy per capita.
In countries like the US, life expectancy declined dramatically in 2020 after being hit by the COVID-19 outbreak and continued to decline in 2021, these tragic data are seen as historically unusual drops for the US.
Some countries chose the so-called “lying flat” strategy by living with the virus to gain herd immunity while China is getting immunity by vaccination, Liang said, noting that although 90 percent of population have been vaccinated, there have been unequal results in different ages and regions.Continue reading Why China continues with its dynamic Zero Covid strategy
At a webinar of the International Manifesto Group on the theme of Anti-imperialism and the Western Left, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez gave this talk about the Western left’s failure to meaningfully engage with Chinese socialism.
The focus of my presentation is: why doesn’t more of the Western left support the People’s Republic of China? Why doesn’t more of the Western left engage in a serious way with Chinese socialism?
There are lots of things about modern China that seem worthy of support, from a socialist point of view.
Poverty alleviation. Reducing poverty is a decidedly leftist objective. If there was no poverty under capitalism – if there were no homeless, no people without sufficient food to eat, without access to education and healthcare, without work or the possibility of earning an income – most people on the left would probably find something better to do with their time than struggling for a new society.
So the fact that China has achieved so much in the realm of poverty alleviation should obviously be something that we study and celebrate.
Not everyone trusts the Chinese government’s statistics, not everyone is convinced by the claim that China in 2020 eliminated extreme poverty. Fine. But it is absolutely beyond question that, in the period from 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed, the Chinese people have experienced an unprecedented and extraordinary improvement in their living standards and their level of human development.Continue reading Why doesn’t more of the Western left support the People’s Republic of China?
In this recent presentation to the International Manifesto Group webinar, The Case Against NATO, Dr Jenny Clegg traces the makings of an Asian NATO via such mechanisms as AUKUS and the Quad whose fundamental purposes are to contain and confront a rising China. She further draws attention to the extension of NATO influence into the Asia Pacific through its Partnerships for Peace for example with Japan, South Korea and Australia; and also considers the impact of the Ukraine crisis in relation to these developments with the increase of tensions, divisions and militarisation in the region
NATO serves as the nuclear-armed fortress that helps to elevate the West above the ‘Rest’; it anchors Europe to its western orientation, severing it from its Eurasian geography.
But NATO members are also Pacific powers – the US, Canada, but also France and Britain, which maintain possession of a few islands and hence some considerable maritime territory.
In this Pacific presence can be seen the makings of an Asian NATO as a counter to the growing Eurasian dimension.
Whilst the world’s focus is on Russia in the Ukraine, for the US, China is the ‘pacing challenge’, and from this perspective, the Ukraine crisis can be seen as the first phase in the US’s last-ditch battle to retain its world supremacy, a battle pitting ‘democracies against autocracies’ in which NATO is to serve as the armed vanguard against the so-called Russia-China alliance.
The world before NATO was to be a new world of the UN Charter which, in the coordination of the wartime allies – the US, UK, Soviet Union and China – and in its commitment to national sovereignty, held the promise of a multipolar world.
It was this new world of the equality of nations that the US set out to smash in driving the first Cold War.
From Cold War to thaw back to Cold War in the Asia Pacific
The Cold War in the Pacific divided China and Korea and involved two hot wars – in Korea and Indochina – at the cost of countless lives and countless war crimes.
The US sought to set up an Asian NATO – however Australia lacked trust in Japan after WW2; Japan’s military was constrained under Article 9 of its constitution; and many South East Asian states, having fought to gain independence, chose non-alignment over subordination in a military alliance.
SEATO – Southeast Asia Treaty Organization – was set up in 1955 to block the ‘communist domino effect’ but it lacked unity and folded in 1977. The US instead relied on bilateral alliances and a spread of some 400 military bases to encircle China.
The Cold War never ended in the Pacific – China and Korea remain divided. Nevertheless, a degree of thaw in the 1990s allowed China to improve its relations in the region whilst ASEAN extended membership to the three communist-aligned Indochinese nations along with Myanmar. Regional economic growth entered a new phase.
But then, sending things into reverse, Obama embarked on his Asian pivot launching the freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. Following this, Trump declared China a strategic competitor, initiating the Quad to draw India into a new network with Australia, Japan and the US.
2020 saw the counter-hegemonic trend gather momentum with agreement on RCEP – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, embracing large parts of East Asia and Oceania; the EU was also about to sign a major investment deal with China – these two developments recalling the coalition of Germany all the way across to China which Brzezinski foresaw in 1997, claiming this would be hostile to the US.
The US then prepared to strike back, launching the New Cold War, followed in September 2021 by AUKUS – a mini–Asian NATO, an intervention by the outside Anglosphere which started to sow disunity within the region, undermining its resolve for Asians to deal with Asian affairs.
NATO in the Pacific
NATO itself has been expanding into Asia since 2012 with its Partnerships for Peace programme drawing in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
By 2014, an equation was already being drawn between Russia and the Ukraine and China in the South China Sea.
At the 2019 NATO summit, Pompeo raised the issue of the China threat and, in 2021, the NATO 2030 document widened its focus to include the ‘IndoPacific’, making very clear a strategy of: Russia first then China.
Biden has advanced on Trump’s anti-China approach in two key ways, elevating the Quad and bringing the Taiwan issue more into view. But the Quad lacks military muscle – hence the announcement of AUKUS.
The US and UK are to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, not only violating the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but also subverting the nuclear weapons free zones of South East Asia and the South Pacific – both important advances of regional independence in the 1980s. These submarines will extend Australia’s naval reach much further into the South and East China Seas.
Australia is to be transformed into a forward base for the US military, providing the core of a regional ‘hybrid warfare’ network, with looser links bringing nations into various regional networks under US direction, covering diplomacy, intelligence sharing, media narratives, supply chains and so on.
The pact also represents a new level of cooperation in military technologies – in quantum computing and digital technologies – as exemplified in the recent announcement on the development of hypersonic weaponry.
Accompanying the promotion of arms sales and the implementation of sanctions, AUKUS then is designed to secure US dominance over East Asia’s future growth in its support of US competition at the cutting edge of new technologies.
The impact of the Ukraine crisis
Amidst the Ukraine crisis, fears have been raised of a Chinese military takeover of Taiwan – in a completely false parallel between Ukraine, a sovereign state and Taiwan, recognised by the UN as a part of China.
As in Europe, militarisation in East Asia is accelerating: Japan has just increased its military budget by $50bn; Australia has estimated the cost of AUKUS at an eye-watering $250bn. With the newly elected conservative president in South Korea, a North East Asian arc with Japan and the US, comes into view, and with both Japan and South Korea strengthening military links with Australia, there are possible ties here into AUKUS in the South.
AUKUS only received a lukewarm reception amongst regional powers with Indonesia and Malaysia most openly expressing their reservations. Again, as in Europe, pressure is being brought to bear to erode the long held stabilising positions of Japan’s peace clause and ASEAN’s non-aligned inclinations, using the threat of sanctions to splinter and subordinate the organisation so as to clear the obstacles to militarisation.
Rather than Ukraine-Taiwan, Ukraine-the South China Sea may offer a better parallel: whilst Russia insists on Ukraine’s neutrality, China has been seeking the neutrality of the South China Sea in negotiations on a code of conduct which limits permission for outside powers to set up naval bases.
The marker of the Cold War battle line of ‘democracies versus autocracies’ is being drawn by the US around the so-called democratic right of nations to choose their allies. This is also the meaning behind the ‘free and open IndoPacific’ – that is freedom to join in the making of an Asian NATO.
Why is it that the US is blocking peace negotiations on Ukraine’s neutrality? Why can’t it accept the legitimacy of Russia’s security concerns? Not least, because this would set a precedent for China over Taiwan and the South China Sea. And it is China that is seen as the real, comprehensive challenger.
Amidst false allegations that China is supplying arms to Russia and propping Russia up, NATO is strengthening its links with the Pacific 4 – Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. The upcoming summit this June will set the stage for an attempt to legitimise NATO’s increasing penetration into the IndoPacific region as the necessary opposition to the so-called ‘Russia-China alliance’.
NATO expansion is the root cause of the war in Europe; through its links into the Asia Pacific, it is equally intent to divide and destabilise a region now forecast to overtake Europe as the centre of the world economy by 2030.
Russia first, China next, NATO is bringing on a new world order – it’s called the jungle.
If China has not criticised Russia, at least one reason is because it looks to the long term – to a new security plan not just for Europe but one which restores its Eurasian orientation, a new Eurasian Security Order
China, in taking its stand on the indivisibility of security, on security for all – not of one at the expense of another – is keeping alive the spirit of the UN Charter.
Co-Editor of Friends of Socialist China Danny Haiphong analyzed the hypocrisy of the West’s hysterical opposition toward the recent security pact reached between the Solomon Islands and China on his weekly podcast, Cold War Brew. Haiphong observes that the US and its allies, particularly Australia, have no issue with Ukraine possibly joining NATO but have threatened regime change on the Solomon Islands for working bilaterally with China to meet its security needs. He goes on to explain the root causes of this contradiction.
The Cold War Brew podcast can be listened to live each Sunday at 11:30 AM US Eastern on the Callin app, which can be downloaded on Android and Apple devices as well as on Spotify after the episode publishes.
In this article, originally published by Countercurrents, women’s historian Linda Ford analyzes and condemns the misogynist and racist animus directed by US imperialism towards two outstanding teenage woman athletes, Gu Ailing (Eileen Gu) of China and Kamila Valieva of Russia, in the service of the new Cold War.
As Ford rightly concludes:
“Here is hegemonic politics, and ruthless patriarchy and racism, coming together. And here are two remarkably strong and level-headed young women athletes who are braving the results of being who they are. In its overwhelming power, the US Empire has made evil all things Chinese and Russian, and women athletes have not been spared the weaponizing of that hate.”
As one who has followed Olympic women’s figure skating, especially since Michelle Kwan (ironically a Chinese-American), I was—as an egalitarian feminist when it comes to sports—excited to learn that there was a 15-year-old Russian woman skater, Kamila Valieva, who could do effortless quad jumps. Waiting in anticipation of her first Olympic performance, I listened to commentators and former US skaters Tara Lipinsky and Johnny Weir rave about her spectacular talent. They told the audience that we were about to see “the best skating in the world”…that “a talent like this comes around once in a lifetime.” They found her first performance in the short skate “incredible… flawless… perfect in every way.” It was, they said, a rare privilege to watch her perform: “she will have an amazing legacy.” Days later they would say nothing watching her perform.Continue reading Kamila Valieva and Eileen Gu: Young Women Athletes as Enemies of Empire
Responding to a question from a Bloomberg journalist, Wang Wenbin comprehensively rejected accusations made by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that China was planning to build a military base on the Solomon Islands. Wang Wenbin further highlighted the hypocritical nature of US and Australian commentary and behavior, noting that the two are attempting to construct a new Monroe Doctrine in the Pacific.
The security cooperation between China and Solomon Islands is based on equality and mutual benefits. It is within the sovereignty of our two countries and consistent with the international law and international customary practice. The cooperation is open, transparent, legitimate, lawful and irreproachable. The speculation that China will build a military base in Solomon Islands is pure disinformation fabricated by a handful of people who harbor ulterior motives.Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on April 25, 2022
I have noted that the US and Australian accuse the framework agreement on security cooperation between China and Solomon Islands of not being transparent. However, it is the AUKUS security partnership that is neither open nor transparent. When will the US and Australia invite South Pacific island countries and other regional countries to review AUKUS cooperation? The US claims that China’s military presence will cause grave concerns. If we follow this logic, the nearly 800 military bases in 80 countries and regions across the world run by the US have long been of major concern for the world. When will the US shut down those bases?
Island countries in the South Pacific are independent and sovereign states, not a backyard of the US or Australia. Their attempt to revive the Monroe Doctrine in the South Pacific region will get no support and lead to nowhere.
In the following video, Vietnamese blogger and broadcaster Luna Oi, who spoke at our Summit for Socialist Democracy in December, showcases Hanoi’s new metro system, which opened to the public in January this year. Luna shows how efficient and convenient the metro is, and notes that, since it is subsidized by the Vietnamese government, it is also very affordable. The Hanoi metro is a good example of China-Vietnam cooperation: built by China Railway Sixth Group, its operation is 100 percent in the hands of the Vietnamese metro company.
China’s Ambassador to the US, Qin Gang, is making persistent efforts to explain to the American public his country’s real position regarding the conflict in Ukraine and to counter disinformation. Below is his article, published on April 18 by The National Interest, a leading US conservative bimonthly International Relations magazine, founded in 1985.
Ambassador Qin notes that: “To end this unwanted conflict as soon as possible is more important than anything else.” He notes that Europe is the focus of the current crisis and the continent needs not only an end to the fighting but also a fundamental answer to the question of securing lasting peace and stability and a balanced and effective security architecture.
Qin Gang contrasts the eastward expansion of NATO, which contributed in no small measure to today’s tragic situation, with the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in which framework China has amicably settled all its historic border disputes with Russia and the countries of Central Asia, both of which may be traced to 1996, and notes: “Different choices lead to different outcomes.”
The Ukraine crisis is agonizing. One more minute the conflict lasts means one more hardship for the 43 million Ukrainian people. To end this unwanted conflict as soon as possible is more important than everything else.
China loves peace and opposes war. It advocates upholding international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations and respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine. China supports all efforts that can deliver a ceasefire and relieve the humanitarian crisis on the ground, and will continue to play a constructive role toward this end.
Lessons must be learned. While working to end this conflict, we must also give some serious thought to the changes brought by the crisis and the path forward in its aftermath.
The postwar international system is coming under the heaviest pressure since the Cold War. The once-in-a-century pandemic, the Ukraine crisis and the unparalleled sanctions, the spiraling inflation and a looming recession, all these have sounded the alarm for the “boiler” of the international system. It is high time for us to reduce the pressure, not the other way round, for our shared world.Continue reading Qin Gang: The Ukraine crisis and its aftermath
We are very pleased to publish the full text of President Xi Jinping’s important speech delivered via video to the opening session of this year’s Boao Forum for Asia on the morning of April 21. Often referred to as the ‘Asian Davos’, this year’s forum was joined virtually by several regional leaders, including the presidents of the Philippines, Mongolia and Nepal and the Prime Ministers of Laos and Kazakhstan.
In his comprehensive speech, President Xi made a number of important calls to the Asian and wider international community, stressing the need to unite together to win final victory over the Covid-19 pandemic; to promote economic recovery and to overcome uneven and inadequate development through the Global Development Initiative; and to work together to promote peace and stability in the world.
The Cold War mentality, President Xi explained, would only wreck the global peace framework, hegemonism and power politics would only endanger world peace, and bloc confrontation would only exacerbate security challenges in the 21st century.
China would therefore like to propose a Global Security Initiative – to stay committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and work together to maintain world peace and security; stay committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, uphold non-interference in internal affairs, and respect the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by people in different countries; stay committed to abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, reject the Cold War mentality, oppose unilateralism, and say no to group politics and bloc confrontation; stay committed to taking the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously, uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security; stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, reject double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction; stay committed to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains, and work together on regional disputes and global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity.
Specifically turning to Asian issues, the Chinese president noted that: “The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the Bandung Spirit, first advocated by Asia, are all the more relevant today. We should honor such principles as mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence, follow a policy of good-neighborliness and friendship, and make sure that we always keep our future in our own hands.”
The entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and specifically the opening to traffic of the China-Laos Railway, were cited by Xi as key examples of Asian cooperation.