Forging the broadest solidarity against US imperialist intervention in the South China Sea

Communist media in North America have spoken out against the latest moves by US imperialism to strengthen its web of alliances in the Pacific region, targeted principally on the People’s Republic of China. 

On April 19, Otis Grotewohl, reporting on the April 11 meeting of US President Biden with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishima and President of the Philippines, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wrote in Workers’ World that:

“While the White House claimed the meeting focused on ‘peace and security,’ Biden’s own ‘tough-talk’ description of the gathering could be perceived as a threatening gesture towards China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as all working-class and indigenous peoples residing near the Indo-Pacific and South China Seas.”

He added:

“The summit was met by a militant protest from a Philippine-led coalition that includes BAYAN USA, Malaya Movement USA and the Tuloy Ang Laban Coalition. Organisers of the event said they were particularly appalled by the showing of Marcos Jr., son of the former right-wing dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

“The elder Marcos was president from 1965-86 and ruled the Philippine islands under martial law from 1972 until 1981, with the full blessing of US and European imperialists. Many labour unionists and leftists disappeared and were gruesomely slain during Marcos’ ‘ironclad’ rule.”

He also outlined the history of the RIMPAC naval exercises, which have been held since 1971 and are the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise. A final planning conference for the 2024 exercise was held at the Point Loma Annex Naval Base in San Diego on March 25-28. According to Grotewohl:

“Washington claims it is not using the event as a forum for provocations against the governments of China, DPRK or Russia, but its actions tell a different story. That China, DPRK and Russia are not allowed to attend RIMPAC exercises, but Israel is, exposes the hypocrisy of US leaders.”

Meanwhile, the April edition of TML Monthly, published online by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (CPCML) detailed the protests of national democratic organisations in the Philippines against the 39th US-Philippines Balikatan Joint Military Exercise, which began on April 22 and will end on May 18. These are the largest such war games to date, involving more than 17,000 US and Philippines soldiers, almost twice as many as last year.

This year, the Australian Defence Force and French navy are also joining the war games. Eighteen other countries, including Canada, are participating as “observers.”

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), a broad alliance of progressive and patriotic Filipino organisations, called the military war games “a shameful proof of the subservient foreign policy of the administration of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. by allowing the increased presence and intervention of genocide-enabling and imperialist foreign military forces.”

The Philippine human rights organisation Karapatan also condemned Balikatan 2024, pointing out that the heavy presence of US troops on the Philippines islands is a violation of the sovereignty of the Filipino people and a provocation against China which could lead to a military conflict between the two countries with people of the Philippines in the middle. Karapatan pointedly denounced the recent first-time deployment of the US mid-range Typhon missile system which is capable of reaching the Chinese mainland. The missiles were introduced in the context of the Balikatan war games, Karapatan noted, further signalling the US intention “to use Philippine territory as a launching pad for hostile acts against China.”

Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment also underscored that the US plans to use the Philippines as cannon fodder in confronting China.  “History has also shown that US intervention has always led to war and tragedy – and widespread, long-term environmental destruction, as well. These have been seen in the US-led wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, and Palestine,” the organisation said.

Bayan called on the Filipino people to resist the Balikatan war drills, oppose the US provocations in the region and expel US military facilities and other foreign troops in the country. 

For its part, Karapatan called on the freedom-loving people of the Philippines and the world to “forge the broadest solidarity front against US imperialist intervention and war-mongering in the South China Sea and in other areas of the world.”

The following articles were originally published by Workers World and TML Monthly.

U.S.-led ‘Trilateral Summit’ promotes militarism in the Pacific

President Joe Biden met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishima and the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., on April 11. Dubbed as the “Philippines-U.S.-Japan Trilateral Summit,” the event was held in Washington, D.C.

While the White House claimed the meeting focused on “peace and security,” Biden’s own “tough-talk” description of the gathering could be perceived as a threatening gesture towards China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as all working-class and Indigenous peoples residing near the Indo-Pacific and South China Seas.

Continue reading Forging the broadest solidarity against US imperialist intervention in the South China Sea

Wang Yi: China will remain a staunch force for peace, stability and progress

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave a press conference on March 7 in the margins of the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC). 

In his opening remarks, Wang noted that: “In this changing and turbulent international environment, China will remain a staunch force for peace, stability and progress of the world… China will stand firmly on the right side of history and on the side of human progress, and will advocate vigorously peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit. It will pursue its development along with its efforts for peace and development of the world, and at the same time, it will make greater contributions to world peace and development through its own development.”

Following his introductory comments, he spent some 90 minutes answering 20 questions, concerning numerous international issues, from both the Chinese and foreign media.

Responding to a question from Rossiya Segodnya, Wang Yi said:

“The China-Russia relationship moves ahead along the trend of the times toward multipolarity and greater democracy in international relations and is thus very important for maintaining global strategic stability, enabling positive interactions among major countries, and promoting cooperation among emerging major countries.

“This year marks the 75th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic relations. The two sides will also jointly launch the China-Russia Years of Culture. The relationship faces new opportunities. China is ready to work with Russia to foster new driving forces for cooperation and steadily enhance the foundation of friendship between the two peoples.”

Bloomberg raised a question regarding relations between China and the United States, following last year’s meeting between the two heads of state in San Francisco, and Wang stated:

“There has been some improvement in China-US relations since the summit in San Francisco. This meets the interests and wishes of people of both countries and the world. But it has to be pointed out that US misperception toward China continues and US promises are not truly fulfilled. The US has been devising various tactics to suppress China and kept lengthening its unilateral sanctions list, reaching bewildering levels of unfathomable absurdity. If the US says one thing and does another, where is its credibility as a major country? If it gets jittery whenever it hears the word ‘China,’ where is its confidence as a major country?… The challenge for the US comes from itself, not from China. If the US is obsessed with suppressing China, it will eventually harm itself… This year marks the 45th anniversary of China-US diplomatic relations. President Xi Jinping pointed out that the hope of the China-US relationship lies in the people, its foundation is in grassroots connections, its future depends on the youth, and its vitality comes from subnational exchanges.”

A question from the Xinhua News Agency gave Wang Yi the opportunity to set out China’s views on the related questions of multipolarity and globalisation:

“China believes in an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalisation. An equal multipolar world means equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal rules for every nation. Certain or a few powers should not monopolise international affairs. Countries should not be categorised according to their strength. Those with the bigger fist should not have the final say.”

And invoking an already infamous remark uttered by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at this February’s Munich Security Conference, he pointedly added:

“And it is definitely unacceptable that certain countries must be at the table while some others can only be on the menu.”

Responding to a question from the Nile News Egyptian Network, Wang Yi made a strong statement in support of the just cause of the Palestinian people on behalf of the Chinese government:

“The current Palestinian-Israeli conflict has caused 100,000 civilian casualties, and countless innocent people remain buried under the rubble. There is no distinction between noble and humble lives, and life should not be labelled by race or religion. The failure to end this humanitarian disaster today in the 21st century is a tragedy for humanity and a disgrace for civilisation. Nothing justifies the protraction of the conflict, or the killing of the civilian population. The international community must act promptly to promote an immediate ceasefire as its overriding priority and ensure humanitarian assistance as its pressing moral obligation. People in Gaza have the right to life in this world, and women and children deserve the care from their families…

“The calamity in Gaza is another wake-up call for the world that the long occupation of the Palestinian territories is a fact that should not be ignored anymore, and that the long-cherished aspiration of the Palestinians for an independent state should not be evaded anymore. More importantly, the historical injustice to the Palestinians must not be allowed to continue uncorrected from generation to generation…

“China firmly supports the Palestinian people’s just cause of regaining their legitimate national rights, and is always committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine at an early date. We support Palestine’s full membership in the UN and urge a certain UN Security Council member not to lay obstacles to that end.”

The Foreign Minister also reiterated China’s call for a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis:

Continue reading Wang Yi: China will remain a staunch force for peace, stability and progress

Asian NATO under a new guise

In the following article, which was originally published on the Australian website Pearls and Irritations, Tim Beal analyses the increasing focus on the Asia-Pacific region by the NATO military alliance, with China as its main potential target.

Tim notes recent military activities in the region on the part of Germany, France and the Netherlands, while Britain, “enthused with imperial nostalgia and memories of the Opium War, flaunts its very expensive but very vulnerable aircraft carriers in a mix of high ambition and low farce.”

There are, however, impediments to NATO’s regional expansion, including the potential role of more independent minded leaders in some member countries, such as Türkiye, Hungary, Slovakia, and even France. Tim therefore argues that the Seoul-based United Nations Command (UNC) might be pressed into service as a more pliant alternative, citing an article by US strategist Clint Work to explain:

“Although the Koreas, both South and North, are important in their own right the peninsula’s position in US geostrategy is principally as an instrument against China. Sometimes, Work mentions China, sometimes he uses North Korea as a surrogate for China and on other occasions he employs coded phrases for China such as South Korea’s ‘broader regional responsibilities’.”

Regarding the UNC, Tim further notes that: “Despite its name it is not an organisation under the control of the United Nations but in fact a US-controlled military alliance that got its misleading title during the early stages of the Korean War when the Soviet Union was boycotting the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) over the US blocking of recently-established People’s Republic of China (PRC) taking over the China seat from Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China (ROC) which had retreated to Taiwan province. And because of its name and its illegal use of the UN flag and logo, the UNC can be portrayed as a UN body, an expression of ‘the international community’, rather than the US military.”

Tim Beal is a retired New Zealand academic, whose main focus has been Northeast Asia. He is the author of ‘North Korea: The struggle against American power’ (2005) and ‘Crisis in Korea: America, China and the risk of war’ (2011), both published by Pluto Press.

Over the past couple of years there has been a flurry of activity linking NATO, and some of its constituent countries with the states of American East Asia, principally Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has been a frequent visitor, and in December 2023, the US embassy in Seoul arranged for senior representatives from eight NATO countries to visit South Korea to “engage in discussions on the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region and other pertinent issues”. Meanwhile back in Washington Representative Mike Lawler has introduced a bill in Congress aimed at “establishing [a] task force for NATO-like Indo-Pacific Alliance”. The Luftwaffe made headlines in August 2022 by flying non-stop, refuelling in air, to participate in the Pitch Black exercises in Australia and more of the Bundeswehr returned in 2023 for the Talisman Sabre 23 exercises. In November a British army unit participated in military exercises in South Korea.  France and the Netherlands have been doing their bit, and Britain, enthused with imperial nostalgia and memories of the Opium War, flaunts its very expensive but very vulnerable aircraft carriers in a mix of high ambition and low farce. The participation of Asian militaries in the NATO space has been, so far, very low key. The Japanese sent observers to Air Defender 23 in Germany, and the South Koreans joined in a cyberwar game in Estonia in November 2023. However regional leaders – the Asia Pacific Four (AP4), Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – have been invited with some fanfare to mix with the grown-ups at NATO summits in Madrid and Vilnius. Moreover, NATO has been active in crafting Individually Tailored Partnership Programmes (ITPPs) with Japan, South Korea, Australia, and soon, New Zealand.

The reasons for this accelerating activity are easily discernible. For regional leaders – Yoon, Kishida, Albanese, etc – the illusion of European support in a war against China must offer comfort; delusionary given the state of European militaries but something to clutch at. For the Europeans in NATO, civilians and military, there is a desperate need to convince Washington that they are still relevant, given the shift of USA attention towards China and the failure of the proxy war in Ukraine. The search for relevance has been a constant since the Soviet collapse; as Senator Richard Lugar put it in 1993, for NATO it’s either ‘out-of-area or out-of-business’. NATO chose out-of-area and Beijing is the logical, and final, destination.

Continue reading Asian NATO under a new guise

How the war on Gaza has stalled the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor

In this article, originally published on People’s Dispatch and produced by Globetrotter, Vijay Prashad explains how the Gaza conflict has likely dealt a fatal blow to the proposed India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), that was proposed by seven countries along with the European Union (EU) at the G20 Summit held in the Indian capital New Delhi in September.

Prashad explains that: “The United States, which was one of the initiators of the IMEC, pushed it as a means to both isolate China and Iran as well as to hasten the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. It seemed like a perfect instrument for Washington: sequester China and Iran, bring Israel and Saudi Arabia together, and deepen ties with India that seemed to have been weakened by India’s reluctance to join the United States in its policy regarding Russia.” However: “Israel’s war on the Palestinians in Gaza has changed the entire equation and stalled the IMEC.”

He further outlines that, even two years before China first unveiled its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), in 2011, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had proposed a “new silk road” that would start from India and transit Central Asia. This in turn was part of a wider ‘pivot to Asia’, proposed by President Barack Obama and designed to check the rise of China. 

According to Prashad, even before the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, IMEC was already facing serious challenges:

“The attempt to isolate China appeared illusory, given that the main Greek port in the corridor—at Piraeus—is managed by the China Ocean Shipping Corporation, and that the Dubai Ports have considerable investment from China’s Ningbo-Zhoushan port and the Zhejiang Seaport. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are now members of the BRICS+, and both countries are participants [with the status of Dialogue Partners] in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.” 

Prashad concludes that IMEC will not progress “from paper to port”, “due to Israel’s bombing of Gaza but also due to Washington’s fantasy that it can ‘defeat’ China in an economic war.”

On September 9, 2023, during the G20 meeting in New Delhi, the governments of seven countries and the European Union signed a memorandum of understanding to create an India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor. Only three of the countries (India, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates or the UAE) would be directly part of this corridor, which was to begin in India, go through the Gulf, and terminate in Greece. The European countries (France, Germany, and Italy) as well as the European Union joined this endeavor because they expected the IMEC to be a trade route for their goods to go to India and for them to access Indian goods at, what they hoped would be, a reduced cost.

The United States, which was one of the initiators of the IMEC, pushed it as a means to both isolate China and Iran as well as to hasten the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. It seemed like a perfect instrument for Washington: sequester China and Iran, bring Israel and Saudi Arabia together, and deepen ties with India that seemed to have been weakened by India’s reluctance to join the United States in its policy regarding Russia.

Israel’s war on the Palestinians in Gaza has changed the entire equation and stalled the IMEC. It is now inconceivable for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to enter such a project with the Israelis. Public opinion in the Arab world is red-hot, with inflamed anger at the indiscriminate bombardment by Israel and the catastrophic loss of civilian life. Regional countries with close relations with Israel—such as Jordan and Turkey—have had to harden their rhetoric against Israel. In the short term, at least, it is impossible to imagine the implementation of the IMEC.

Pivot to Asia

Two years before China inaugurated its “One Belt, One Road” or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the United States had already planned a private-sector-funded trade route to link India to Europe and to tighten the links between Washington and New Delhi. In 2011, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Chennai, India, where she spoke of the creation of a New Silk Road that would run from India through Pakistan and into Central Asia. This new “international web and network of economic and transit connections” would be an instrument for the United States to create a new intergovernmental forum and a “free trade zone” in which the United States would be a member (in much the same way as the United States is part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC).

The New Silk Road was part of a wider “pivot to Asia,” as US President Barack Obama put it. This “pivot” was designed to check the rise of China and to prevent its influence in Asia. Clinton’s article in Foreign Policy (“America’s Pacific Century,” October 11, 2011) suggested that this New Silk Road was not antagonistic to China. However, this rhetoric of the “pivot” came alongside the U.S. military’s new AirSea Battle concept that was designed around direct conflict between the United States and China (the concept built on a 1999 Pentagon study called “Asia 2025” which noted that “the threats are in Asia”).

Two years later, the Chinese government said that it would build a massive infrastructure and trade project called “One Belt, One Road,” which would later be called the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Over the next ten years, from 2013 to 2023, the BRI investments totaled $1.04 trillion spread out over 148 countries (three-quarters of the countries in the world). In this short period, the BRI project has made a considerable mark on the world, particularly on the poorer nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where the BRI has made investments to build infrastructure and industry.

Chastened by the growth of the BRI, the United States attempted to block it through various instruments: the América Crece for Latin America and the Millennium Challenge Corporation for South Asia. The weakness in these attempts was that both relied upon funding from an unenthusiastic private sector.

Complications of the IMEC

Even before the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, IMEC faced several serious challenges.

First, the attempt to isolate China appeared illusory, given that the main Greek port in the corridor—at Piraeus—is managed by the China Ocean Shipping Corporation, and that the Dubai Ports have considerable investment from China’s Ningbo-Zhoushan port and the Zhejiang Seaport. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are now members of the BRICS+, and both countries are participants in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Second, the entire IMEC process is reliant upon private-sector funding. The Adani Group—which has close ties to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has come under the spotlight for fraudulent practices—already owns the Mundra port (Gujarat, India) and the Haifa port (Israel), and seeks to take a share in the port at Piraeus. In other words, the IMEC corridor is providing geopolitical cover for Adani’s investments from Greece to Gujarat.

Third, the sea lane between Haifa and Piraeus would go through waters contested between Turkey and Greece. This “Aegean Dispute” has provoked the Turkish government to threaten war if Greece goes through with its designs.

Fourth, the entire project relied upon the “normalization” between Saudi Arabia and Israel, an extension of the Abraham Accords that drew Bahrain, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates to recognize Israel in August 2020. In July 2022, India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States formed the I2U2 Group, with the intention, among other things, to “modernize infrastructure” and to “advance low-carbon development pathways” through “private enterprise partnerships.” This was the precursor of IMEC. Neither “normalization” with Saudi Arabia nor advancement of the I2U2 process between the UAE and Israel seem possible in this climate. Israel’s bombardment of the Palestinians in Gaza has frozen this process.

Previous Indian trade route projects, such as the International North-South Trade Corridor (with India, Iran, and Russia) and the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (led by India and Japan), have not gone from paper to port for a host of reasons. These, at least, had the merit of being viable. IMEC will suffer the same fate as these corridors, to some extent due to Israel’s bombing of Gaza but also due to Washington’s fantasy that it can “defeat” China in an economic war

‘Asian NATO’: brought to you by South Korean repression

In this detailed article, which was originally published by The Real News Network, Ju-Hyun Park, the network’s engagement editor, analyses the implications for regional peace, security and economics of the tripartite summit between the United States, Japan and South Korea, that US President Joe Biden hosted at Camp David in August, and relates them to the intensified crackdown on the labour movement and wider sections of civil society since a new conservative administration took office in South Korea.

According to Park, this budding tripartite alliance is a “dream come true for Washington in the New Cold War. And it wouldn’t be happening without South Korean President Yoon’s [Yoon Suk Yeol] war on labour and the opposition.”

Noting that, at Camp David, “for the first time, South Korea, Japan, and the US pledged to share data on North Korean missiles, coordinate joint military responses to threats in the region, and host a new annual trilateral military exercise,” Park explains: “These outcomes indicate a realignment of forces in East Asia that significantly raises the risks of potential major power conflict with China… The Camp David summit is a sure step towards achieving one of Washington’s long-standing goals: establishing an Asian equivalent to NATO as a bulwark to protect US interests in the Pacific.”

Roping South Korea into an alliance with Japan has been an aim of US policymakers since the Korean War (1950-53), but consummating it has proved elusive, both because of the bitter legacy of Japanese colonial rule on the Korean peninsula and latterly South Korea’s burgeoning and mutually beneficial economic relationship with China:

“China overtook the US as South Korea’s primary trade partner almost 20 years ago, and South Korea’s largest corporations depend on China for labour, production, and markets. While South Korea’s capitalists also benefit from the US military occupation of the peninsula, there are few benefits to them in picking sides in a zero-sum conflict between the US and China.”

Biden’s apparent success, therefore, in binding the two powers together in a joint embrace with the United States may been seen as a victory for deft diplomacy, but “there is another cause that deserves significantly more credit: For the past year, current South Korean President Yoon Seok Yeol has waged a ruthless war on the sections of South Korean civil society standing in the way of Washington’s agenda, attacking labour, peace groups, and the general public.”

Yoon’s principal target has been South Korea’s militant labour movement. In January this year, hundreds of police officers raided the offices of multiple progressive organisations, including the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), which represents over two million workers.

Yoon has also overseen a drastic escalation in the frequency and intensity of joint military exercises between South Korea and the US, with more than 20 planned for this year alone.

According to Park:

“Labour repression within South Korea also plays a significant role in facilitating Washington’s aims to technologically and economically isolate China… The war on Chinese tech goes beyond targeting individual Chinese conglomerates. Under Biden, a strategy has slowly taken shape to attempt to bring as much high-tech production back to the US as possible while simultaneously taking measures to exclude China from existing international supply chains that rely heavily on production in Taiwan and South Korea. Two of Biden’s biggest legislative wins, the Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS and Science Act, contain provisions that effectively force South Korean companies to abandon their investments in China in favour of building electric vehicle and semiconductor factories in the US. South Korean EV battery makers have already committed $13 billion to build new plants and expand existing ones in seven US states.

“This has all come at a steep cost to South Korea. South Korean technology exports to the Chinese market plummeted in the wake of the CHIPS and Inflation Reduction Acts. From 2022 until June 2023, South Korea suffered the most severe trade deficit in its history, haemorrhaging some $47.5 billion in 2022 alone. By far, the leading cause of this deficit was the sudden reversal in trade with China.

“Squeezed between rising inflation and spiralling economic prospects, South Korea’s workers are bearing the brunt of this economic realignment. At the same time, the Yoon government is scrambling to find some way to reverse its poor economic performance without making concessions to workers. Hence, Yoon’s war on trade unions – the only vehicles available for the working class to organise independently and fight back… South Korean labour is one of the only organised obstacles within the US-led bloc to Washington’s economic offensive against China. Crushing the unions means clearing the way for the unhindered reengineering of South Korea’s economy in Washington’s vision.”

Whilst noting that Chinese President Xi Jinping seems determined to maintain cordial relations with South Korea, if at all possible, Park adds that analysts have also warned of the possibility that the trilateral alliance could be used as a mechanism to draw South Korean forces into US wars abroad – including in the Taiwan Strait.

Park also explains that the tightening of a US-led hegemonic bloc in the Pacific inevitably comes up against the law that every action has a reaction, in this case in terms of further consolidating the ties between Pyongyang, Moscow and Beijing:

“North Korea, isolated and encircled for so long, now has a wide and reliable rearguard of support in Moscow and Beijing. As the centre of economic gravity pivots towards China, opportunities for North Korea’s advancement will only proliferate.”

While largely unnoticed by the US public, the trilateral summit between Japan, South Korea, and the US that took place at Camp David this August sent shockwaves throughout East Asia. 

US President Joe Biden, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio punctuated the end of the three-day summit by releasing a joint declaration rife with the kinds of diplomatic ambiguities and appeals to vague principles typical of this sort of affair. The three leaders pledged their support for a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” for an international “rules-based order,” and for “peace and stability” around the world. But, of course, the historic significance of the summit had less to do with the rhetoric and more to do with the concrete commitments made by the three governments. 

The Pacific today looks a lot like Europe on the eve of the First World War—a hotbed of military powers sharply divided into opposing blocs driven by irreconcilable interests, ready to be pulled into war at a moment’s notice.

For the first time, South Korea, Japan, and the US pledged to share data on North Korean missiles, coordinate joint military responses to threats in the region, and host a new annual trilateral military exercise. 

These outcomes indicate a realignment of forces in East Asia that significantly raises the risks of potential major power conflict with China. Japan and South Korea have been individual allies of the US for decades—but the three have never before been part of a shared military structure. Now, with an agreed-upon “commitment to consult,” tighter military integration and coordination between the three countries than ever before is assured. 

While there is no treaty to bind this budding alliance together yet, the unprecedented “trilateral security cooperation” born from the Camp David summit is a sure step towards achieving one of Washington’s long-standing goals: establishing an Asian equivalent to NATO as a bulwark to protect US interests in the Pacific. The result, which is already manifesting, is a much more divided and hostile region than existed before—where the possibility of great power conflict between nuclear states seems to be more a matter of time than a mere hypothetical.

WRANGLING SOUTH KOREA

Roping South Korea into an alliance with Japan has been an aim of US policymakers since the Korean War, when then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson sought to weld South Korea and Japan together into an economic bloc that could revive Japanese industry post-World War II and ward off communist influence in Asia. In recent years, however, the rise of China as an economic powerhouse, coupled with the nuclearization of North Korea, has brought renewed urgency to this long-sought objective.

For years, Seoul proved to be a slippery fish in Washington’s net. Yoon’s predecessor, Moon Jae-In, delicately navigated support for US military expansion in Korea without making ironclad commitments to insert South Korea into an anti-China bloc. 

The reasons for South Korea’s previous ambiguity lay in a divergence of interests between Seoul and Washington in light of a rapidly changing world. China overtook the US as South Korea’s primary trade partner almost 20 years ago, and South Korea’s largest corporations depend on China for labor, production, and markets. While South Korea’s capitalists also benefit from the US military occupation of the peninsula, there are few benefits to them in picking sides in a zero-sum conflict between the US and China. 

This is all rather inconvenient for those in Washington intent on preserving US hegemony indefinitely. South Korea is not only geostrategically important in a conflict against China—it also has the largest military of any US ally in the region, and is also a crucial producer of advanced technologies which US corporations and the Pentagon depend on. To put it simply, the US needs South Korea to succeed in containing China far more than South Korea needs to participate in this conflict. 

Then there’s the other, far thornier issue of Japan’s 35-year colonization of Korea and the deep imprint it has left—and continues to have—on Korea. Japan has yet to fully acknowledge, apologize for, or offer satisfactory compensation for its many colonial crimes against the Korean people. This matter remains an open wound on the Korean psyche, and a thorn in the side of Tokyo and Washington. 

The litany of Japanese atrocities in Korea are too many to name here, but the most prominent issue at the moment concerns Japan’s forced conscriptions of Koreans during WWII. From 1939 to 1945, Japan forcibly conscripted hundreds of thousands of Koreans to fight its wars, and mobilized more than 3 million Koreans as forced laborers throughout its empire. Among the most heinous and best known of these crimes was the conscription of an estimated 200,000 Korean women into sexual slavery for Japan’s military—a program euphemistically known as the “comfort women” system. 

In 2018, the South Korean Supreme Court ordered Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi, which profited from wartime forced labor, to pay reparations to their surviving victims. This incident set off a diplomatic row that escalated to the level of a trade dispute that lasted for years.

For Washington, the renewed push to force Japan to address and atone for these historical injustices could not have come at a more inconvenient time. Just a year before, in 2017, India, Australia, Japan, and the US had revived the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the Quad—a military alliance intended to serve as the main axis of a new anti-China bloc. 

The Trump administration was keen to rope South Korea in as a fifth member of the Quad, but this goal never materialized. Entering any kind of explicit alliance with Japan was, and still is, politically toxic in South Korea. Moreover, as the world enters a new era where the US is losing its footing as the globe’s preeminent military and economic power, South Korea, among other nations, was quite sensibly reading the room and attempting to hedge its bets.

Upon entering office, Biden’s administration set achieving a trilateral partnership between the US, Japan, and South Korea as a high priority, seeking to accomplish what its predecessor could not. The Camp David summit represents a major step towards achieving this goal. While the White House and its cheerleaders have already claimed this as a victory for deft diplomacy, there is another cause that deserves significantly more credit: For the past year, current South Korean President Yoon Seok Yeol has waged a ruthless war on the sections of South Korean civil society standing in the way of Washington’s agenda, attacking labor, peace groups, and the general public. 

ENTER YOON SEOK YEOL

Despite less than 18 months in office, Yoon has earned the dubious distinction of being South Korea’s least popular head of state ever—not to mention one of the most maligned leaders in the world. His administration has been pilloried by civil society groups and the main opposition Democratic Party for its corruption and ineptitude, while simultaneously characterized as a “prosecutor’s dictatorship” where escalating abuses of executive power are interpreted by many as signs of backsliding towards South Korea’s days of autocratic rule.

Domestically, the Yoon administration has declared war against its political enemies, particularly against the labor movement. In January of this year, hundreds of police officers raided the offices of multiple progressive organizations, including the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, which represents over 2 million workers.

Yoon’s domestic crackdown isn’t taking place in a vacuum separate from the formation of the trilateral alliance. These repressive measures are the necessary internal complement to an international agenda primarily determined not in Seoul, but in Washington. 

Wielding trumped-up charges ranging from racketeering to spying on behalf of North Korea, the Yoon administration has weaponized law enforcement to continue its crackdown on labor and progressive organizers throughout this year. Over 1,000 members of the Korean Construction Workers Union alone are currently under federal investigation, and more than 30 are now in jail. One local KCWU leader, Yang Hoe-dong, died by self-immolation in protest of these charges—transforming himself into a martyr for the movement to rally around.

It’s not just labor unions that have found themselves in Yoon’s crosshairs. The 6.15 Committee has also been the target of official persecution. Originally founded in 2000, the 6.15 Committee has chapters on both sides of the Korean peninsula and overseas that work towards building support for Korean peace and reunification through people-to-people exchanges. At the same time that the KCTU’s offices were raided, members of the 6.15 Committee in Jeju province were arrested on espionage charges. The evidence? They had previously hosted a public screening of a North Korean film.

Perhaps most brazenly, the Yoon administration has also escalated attacks on the media. Two news outletsNewstapa and the Joongang Tongyang Broadcasting Company, were raided by prosecutors on Sept. 14, 2023, for publishing a story in 2022 spotlighting Yoon’s alleged participation in an illegal loan scheme. Press freedom has never stood on firm ground in South Korea, even after the supposed era of “democratization” in the 1990s. Ousted former President Park Geun-hye notoriously maintained a blacklist banning thousands of artists considered unfriendly to her government. Yet no other president since the days of military dictatorship ever dared to use state security forces against a media office, until Yoon.

Yoon’s domestic crackdown isn’t taking place in a vacuum separate from the formation of the trilateral alliance. These repressive measures are the necessary internal complement to an international agenda primarily determined not in Seoul, but in Washington. 

OLD AUTOCRACY, NEW COLD WAR

As president, Yoon has overseen several dramatic changes in South Korean foreign policy that benefit US interests and require the repression of internal dissent to achieve: scuttling relations with North Korea, joining US attempts to technologically isolate China, and reconciling with Japan to clear the way for the Camp David summit. 

Since coming into office, Yoon has overseen a drastic escalation in the frequency and intensity of joint military exercises between South Korea and the US. These military exercises began in the 1970s as annual affairs—now, there are more than 20 planned for 2023 alone. These war drills routinely rehearse invasions of North Korea within miles of the DMZ, the de facto border that has divided Korea since the 1953 armistice. 

The KCTU and other labor groups have provided some of the most stalwart opposition to these war games. Last year, in response to the Ulchi Freedom Shield exercises, the KCTU joined hands with the more moderate Federation of Korean Trade Unions to deliver a joint statement denouncing war maneuvers—a statement that was, significantly, also signed by their union umbrella counterpart in North Korea. 

Predictably, Yoon and Biden’s acts of aggression have prompted parallel North Korean shows of force, which then provide the pretext for Washington, Seoul, and, increasingly, Tokyo to escalate in turn. The Biden administration deployed two US nuclear submarines to Korea for the first time in 40 years this summer, and the US and South Korea warned in a joint statement that “Any nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its allies is unacceptable and will result in the end of that regime.”

Labor repression within South Korea also plays a significant role in facilitating Washington’s aims to technologically and economically isolate China, a crucial pillar of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s “New Washington Consensus.” Here, the intersection of technological and military power are key. US domination of tech patents is one of the pillars of its premiere position in the global economy—a position it can only hold so long as Chinese attempts to develop domestic tech production capacity are foiled.

Maintaining US dominance of the tech market also has more obvious military implications for Washington, which depends on semiconductors produced in South Korea and Taiwan to operate its weapons of mass destruction. Gregory C. Allen, an analyst with the hawkish Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, describes Washington’s tech offensive against China as “actively strangling large segments of the Chinese technology industry—strangling with an intent to kill.”

Attempts to “strangle” Chinese tech have escalated sharply under the Trump and Biden administrations. Two of the clearest and highest-profile examples of this have been US attempts to sanction Huawei, going as far as to coordinate the arrest of the company’s CFO during a visit to Canada, as well as the push to ban TikTok, which culminated in a bizarre and ridiculous Senate hearing earlier this year.

But the war on Chinese tech goes beyond targeting individual Chinese conglomerates. Under Biden, a strategy has slowly taken shape to attempt to bring as much high tech production back to the US as possible while simultaneously taking measures to exclude China from existing international supply chains that rely heavily on production in Taiwan and South Korea. Two of Biden’s biggest legislative wins, the Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS and Science Act, contain provisions that effectively force South Korean companies to abandon their investments in China in favor of building electric vehicle and semiconductor factories in the US. South Korean EV battery makers have already committed $13 billion to build new plants and expand existing ones in seven US states.

This has all come at a steep cost to South Korea. South Korean technology exports to the Chinese market plummeted in the wake of the CHIPS and Inflation Reduction Acts. From 2022 until June 2023, South Korea suffered the most severe trade deficit in its history, hemorrhaging some $47.5 billion in 2022 alone. By far, the leading cause of this deficit was the sudden reversal in trade with China. 

Squeezed between rising inflation and spiraling economic prospects, South Korea’s workers are bearing the brunt of this economic realignment. At the same time, the Yoon government is scrambling to find some way to reverse its poor economic performance without making concessions to workers. Hence, Yoon’s war on trade unions—the only vehicles available for the working class to organize independently and fight back. As President Yoon himself put it, the crackdown on unions is necessary “so that corporate value can rise, capital markets can develop, and many jobs can be created.” South Korean labor is one of the only organized obstacles within the US-led bloc to Washington’s economic offensive against China. Crushing the unions means clearing the way for the unhindered reengineering of South Korea’s economy in Washington’s vision.

Amid this political and economic chaos, Yoon was able to broker a new understanding with Tokyo that put an end to years of diplomatic and economic clashes. In a move many critics described as unconstitutional, the Yoon administration unilaterally modified the 2018 Supreme Court decision ordering restitution from Japanese companies for Korean survivors of wartime forced labor. Instead, the survivors will now be compensated from a fund paid into by South Korean corporations, letting their Japanese counterparts off the hook. Despite being opposed by some 60% of South Koreans, this arrangement allowed for a thaw in Seoul and Tokyo’s relations, which, in turn, set the stage for the summit at Camp David this August. 

Analysts have also warned of the possibility that the trilateral alliance could be used as a mechanism to draw South Korean forces into US wars abroad—including in the Taiwan Strait. 

The specter of North Korean nuclearization was presented as the primary justification for the Camp David summit and the resulting trilateral security cooperation alliance. But the outcomes of Camp David were not exclusively military in nature. Japan and South Korea also pledged to share data on critical supply chains with the US. 

Domestically, Yoon’s participation in the Camp David Summit was widely lambasted as a betrayal of South Korea’s interests. The summit has not only heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula; it has also done significant damage to South Korean relations with Russia and China, although China’s Xi Jinping seems determined to maintain cordial relations. Analysts have also warned of the possibility that the trilateral alliance could be used as a mechanism to draw South Korean forces into US wars abroad—including in the Taiwan Strait. 

The Camp David Summit has only brought more darkness to the political climate in South Korea. Days before he left for the US, Yoon gave a national address for Liberation Day, which marks the anniversary of the end of Japanese colonial rule in Korea. Rather than offer reflections on the human toll of the colonial period or the legacy of the Korean independence movement, Yoon fixated on a different target: “The forces of communist totalitarianism have always disguised themselves as democracy activists, human rights advocates, or progressive activists while engaging in despicable and unethical tactics and false propaganda,” he said. “We must never succumb to the forces of communist totalitarianism.” 

In South Korea, anticommunism and state repression have gone hand-in-hand since the “Republic of Korea” was first established in a widely opposed, US-sponsored election process in 1948. Before the Korean War officially began in 1950, a mass uprising on the island of Jeju against Korea’s division ended in the slaughter of between 30,000 and 60,000 people. In the early days of the Korean War itself, the South Korean government massacred between 100,000 and 200,000 political dissidents that had previously been forced to register in the so-called National Guidance League.

Throughout the long night of South Korea’s military dictatorships, which lasted from the end of WWII to the 1990s, strikes were broken, activists tortured and disappeared, and families of the massacred and vanished were silenced and surveilled in the name of suppressing the communist threat. When the city of Gwangju took up arms in 1980 to demand democracy and appealed to the US to intervene, President Jimmy Carter greenlit the deployment of South Korean paratroopers from the DMZ to butcher as many as 2,000 of the city’s residents. In the aftermath, the Chun Doo Hwan regime blamed the events in Gwangju on North Korean infiltrators and communists. 

For now, the Yoon administration has limited the scale and brutality of its crackdown to incarcerations and prosecutorial witch hunts. But the echoes of Korea’s recent history leave many wondering if, or when, the bloodletting will return. For its part, the Biden administration has followed in the footsteps of every previous administration by refusing to acknowledge the political repression unfolding under Yoon’s South Korea. Corporate media, in turn, has largely ignored the outcry against the Camp David summit by South Koreans themselves.

DIVIDING KOREA, DIVIDING THE PACIFIC

The joint statement delivered at Camp David cast the new US-Japan-South Korean axis in terms of a partnership based on a mutual desire for global peace and prosperity. But the immediate consequences of the summit strongly indicate that things are, in fact, moving in the opposite direction.

Rather than deescalating military tensions and breaking down barriers to international cooperation, the Camp David Summit signals an escalation of military threats coinciding with the tightening of a US-led hegemonic bloc in the Pacific. Every action has a reaction, and the reaction here is coming in the form of a consolidated counter-bloc between Pyongyang, Moscow, and Beijing.

The reestablishment of cooperative relations between North Korea, China, and Russia has been a long time coming. Relations between the three countries turned cold after the destruction of the Soviet Union. For decades, Russia and China acquiesced to UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea—something which they no longer are willing to abide.

In recent years, Beijing and Moscow have increasingly turned to each other, and to Pyongyang, as fellow targets of US sanctions, military encirclement, and propaganda. For all its bombastic proclamations about protecting peace and freedom around the world, Washington has created the conditions for a new unity of interests to emerge among those states it names as its enemies. 

Pyongyang, Beijing, and Moscow were all united in their alarm and rejection of the Camp David Summit—and not without reason. All three countries were explicitly named in the Camp David Principles and Joint Statement as problems to be managed by the self-appointed triumvirate. China and Russia also share borders with Korea, which will be the primary site of military escalation by Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul. Beijing and Pyongyang swiftly denounced the new bloc. Moscow even suggested the start of trilateral naval exercises between the three countries as a counter to US-led military maneuvers.  

On Sept. 12, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un boarded an armored train for the Russian Far East in his first foreign visit as head of state since 2019. In a meeting with Vladimir Putin, Kim expressed his government’s full support for Russia in its conflict against NATO, and received pledges to assist with developing space technologies from Moscow. 

For the time being, the two Korean states have aligned with opposing global interests. The possibility of reunification and reconciliation, which seemed so tantalizingly close just a few years before, now appears to be far out of reach. Yet even as the currents of world politics pull Korea apart once again, opportunities for a different future remain. 

South Korea, which ascended economically for decades on Washington’s coattails, now finds itself on the side of a declining power. Already, Seoul is being forced to choose between its objective interests in closer ties with its neighbors and Washington’s contravening political preferences. The result appears to be a declining trend in South Korea’s fortunes—something key stakeholders in the country may not tolerate forever. 

North Korea, isolated and encircled for so long, now has a wide and reliable rearguard of support in Moscow and Beijing. As the center of economic gravity pivots towards China, opportunities for North Korea’s advancement will only proliferate. The unintended result in the not-too-distant future could well be two Koreas that can stand on truly equal footing and finally become one, ending the division of Korea and the centrality of that division in manufacturing regional conflict.

But perhaps such predictions are too optimistic for the present moment. After all, Korea must survive intact for such a future to be possible. The Pacific today looks a lot like Europe on the eve of the First World War—a hotbed of military powers sharply divided into opposing blocs driven by irreconcilable interests, ready to be pulled into war at a moment’s notice. That war was so cataclysmic that for a generation it could only be remembered as The Great War. The war to come will be even more vicious, and so far, it’s being served to us with a smile.

The New Cold War is failing

On 6 September 2023, Carlos Martinez and Dr Ken Hammond joined Danny Haiphong live on his YouTube channel to discuss the latest developments regarding the US’s hybrid war on China and the multipolar world.

They have a detailed discussion on the US attempts to prevent China from developing advanced semiconductors; the recent advances made by Huawei and SMIC in precisely the field of advanced semiconductors; the contradiction between the requirements of the US business community and the strategic designs of the New Cold War; the state of the Chinese economy; the successes of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg; the significance of BRICS; China’s prioritisation of relations with the countries of the Global South and those countries outside the US imperialist orbit; and more.

The three pay tribute to the recently-deceased comrade and veteran friend of China Isabel Crook, and also discuss Carlos’s and Ken’s books on China, both of which have been published in 2023.

Videos: China encirclement and the imperialist build-up in the Pacific

On Saturday 24 September 2022, we hosted a webinar on the rising aggression of the US and its allies in the Pacific region. There were a number of excellent contributions dealing with issues including the Biden administration’s increased support for Taiwanese separatism; Western power projection in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits; the hysteria surrounding China’s security agreement with the Solomon Islands; the AUKUS nuclear pact; and developments in Korea and Japan. The event stream and the individual speeches are embedded below, and can be viewed directly on our YouTube channel.

Event stream: China encirclement and the imperialist build-up in the Pacific
Ken Hammond: Fearing the loss of their global hegemony, US elites are responding with desperation
Ju-Hyun Park: China encirclement not possible without imperialist national oppression of China’s neighbors
Lilian Sing: US geopolitical hostility to China is trickling down and fomenting anti-Asian hate
Sara Flounders: There’s US ruling class consensus around derailing China’s socialist development
Li Peng: The US plays the Taiwan card to undermine China’s development and obstruct reunification
Charles Xu: A “free and open Indo-Pacific” is exactly what imperialist forces have always subverted
Ben Norton: The US is developing plans to overthrow the Chinese government by military means
KJ Noh: The US is already engaged in a multi-faceted hybrid war on China
Zhong Xiangyu: Taiwanese separatism is being leveraged towards the West’s China containment strategy
Keith Bennett: A major conflict between China and the US would be a catastrophe for humanity

US media hide military threats against China

This insightful article by Sara Flounders, originally published in Workers World, exposes the incredible hypocrisy shown by the ‘free’ media – giving non-stop coverage to China’s allegedly aggressive response to Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit whilst studiously ignoring the RIMPAC maneuvers being carried out at the same time by the US naval command.

Sara notes that the US maintains a constant military presence in the region, and connects this back to the imperialist domination of China, starting with the First Opium War nearly 200 years ago. Just as the Opium Wars were fought to impose British imperial hegemony, so is the current escalation in the Pacific region being carried out in order to impose US imperial hegemony. The difference being that, following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the CPC-led government has been able to “rebuild a strong, united China which is increasingly able to defend its coastal waters and resist US imperialist demands.”

The author points out that the US is conducting a “desperate imperialist strategy to reverse its declining global position”, and is wreaking havoc in the process. Progressive and pro-peace forces worldwide must join hands against this menace.

Consider what is being said, as well as what is totally omitted, in the U.S. coverage of China’s naval action around Taiwan.  

The U.S. naval command RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Amphibious Assault Training) was carrying out maneuvers involving 170 aircraft, 38 ships, four submarines, and 25,000 military personnel from all the G7 imperialist countries. Some 19 other Asia Pacific countries were pulled in for symbolic participation. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise.

This aggressive maritime action took place from June 29 to Aug. 4. In other words, it was going on as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was visiting Taiwan.

The shaping of information is all pervasive. Whether it is FOX News, CNN, AP, the New York Times or the Washington Post, the multibillion-dollar media are part of and totally intertwined with U.S. military industries. They collaborate in hiding U.S. war plans and provocations. 

The role of the corporate media in totally distorting the news on China must be challenged.

Continue reading US media hide military threats against China

Xi Jinping’s address to the 2022 World Economic Forum

The following speech was delivered by President Xi Jinping on Monday 17 January by video link to the 2022 World Economic Forum virtual session.

In his special address, the Chinese President addressed a broad range of critical issues currently facing the global economy and human society, whilst also detailing his country’s domestic situation and goals. He remarked:

“The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century. These changes, not limited to a particular moment, event, country or region, represent the profound and sweeping changes of our times. As changes of the times combine with the once-in-a-century pandemic, the world finds itself in a new period of turbulence and transformation. How to beat the pandemic and how to build the post-COVID world? These are major issues of common concern to people around the world. They are also major, urgent questions we must give answers to.”

The first task, he noted, was to embrace cooperation and jointly defeat the pandemic rather than holding one another back or shifting blame. China, he reported, has already sent over two billion doses of vaccine  to more than 120 countries and international organisations.

Further, President Xi remarked, steps have to be taken in a coordinated way to promote steady recovery of the world economy, to bridge the development divide, realise global development, and tackle climate change, based on a people-centred philosophy.

All this means, the Chinese President continued, that “we need to discard Cold War mentality and seek peaceful coexistence and win-win outcomes. Our world today is far from being tranquil; rhetoric that stokes hatred and prejudice abound. Acts of containment, suppression or confrontation arising thereof do all harm, not the least good, to world peace and security… Even worse are the practices of hegemony and bullying, which run counter to the tide of history.”

Professor Klaus Schwab, 
Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Friends, 

Greetings to you all! It is my pleasure to attend this virtual session of the World Economic Forum. 

In two weeks’ time, China will celebrate the advent of spring in the lunar new year, the Year of the Tiger. In Chinese culture, tiger symbolizes bravery and strength, as the Chinese people often refer to spirited dragon and dynamic tiger, or soaring dragon and leaping tiger. To meet the severe challenges facing humanity, we must “add wings to the tiger” and act with the courage and strength of the tiger to overcome all obstacles on our way forward. We must do everything necessary to clear the shadow of the pandemic and boost economic and social recovery and development, so that the sunshine of hope may light up the future of humanity. 

The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century. These changes, not limited to a particular moment, event, country or region, represent the profound and sweeping changes of our times. As changes of the times combine with the once-in-a-century pandemic, the world finds itself in a new period of turbulence and transformation. How to beat the pandemic and how to build the post-COVID world? These are major issues of common concern to people around the world. They are also major, urgent questions we must give answers to. 

As a Chinese saying goes, “The momentum of the world either flourishes or declines; the state of the world either progresses or regresses.” The world is always developing through the movement of contradictions; without contradiction, nothing would exist. The history of humanity is a history of achieving growth by meeting various tests and of developing by overcoming various crises. We need to move forward by following the logic of historical progress, and develop by riding the tide of development of our times. 

Notwithstanding all vicissitudes, humanity will move on. We need to learn from comparing long history cycles, and see the change in things through the subtle and minute. We need to foster new opportunities amidst crises, open up new horizons on a shifting landscape, and pool great strength to go through difficulties and challenges. 

First, we need to embrace cooperation and jointly defeat the pandemic. Confronted by the once-in-a-century pandemic, which will affect the future of humanity, the international community has fought a tenacious battle. Facts have shown once again that amidst the raging torrents of a global crisis, countries are not riding separately in some 190 small boats, but are rather all in a giant ship on which our shared destiny hinges. Small boats may not survive a storm, but a giant ship is strong enough to brave a storm. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the international community, major progress has been made in the global fight against the pandemic. That said, the pandemic is proving a protracted one, resurging with more variants and spreading faster than before. It poses a serious threat to people’s safety and health, and exerts a profound impact on the global economy. 

Strong confidence and cooperation represent the only right way to defeat the pandemic. Holding each other back or shifting blame would only cause needless delay in response and distract us from the overall objective. Countries need to strengthen international cooperation against COVID-19, carry out active cooperation on research and development of medicines, jointly build multiple lines of defense against the coronavirus, and speed up efforts to build a global community of health for all. Of particular importance is to fully leverage vaccines as a powerful weapon, ensure their equitable distribution, quicken vaccination and close the global immunization gap, so as to truly safeguard people’s lives, health and livelihoods. 

China is a country that delivers on its promises. China has already sent over two billion doses of vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations. Still, China will provide another one billion doses to African countries, including 600 million doses as donation, and will also donate 150 million doses to ASEAN countries. 

Second, we need to resolve various risks and promote steady recovery of the world economy. The world economy is emerging from the depths, yet it still faces many constraints. The global industrial and supply chains have been disrupted. Commodity prices continue to rise. Energy supply remains tight. These risks compound one another and heighten the uncertainty about economic recovery. The global low inflation environment has notably changed, and the risks of inflation driven by multiple factors are surfacing. If major economies slam on the brakes or take a U-turn in their monetary policies, there would be serious negative spillovers. They would present challenges to global economic and financial stability, and developing countries would bear the brunt of it. In the context of ongoing COVID-19 response, we need to explore new drivers of economic growth, new modes of social life and new pathways for people-to-people exchange, in a bid to facilitate cross-border trade, keep industrial and supply chains secure and smooth, and promote steady and solid progress in global economic recovery. 

Economic globalization is the trend of the times. Though countercurrents are sure to exist in a river, none could stop it from flowing to the sea. Driving forces bolster the river’s momentum, and resistance may yet enhance its flow. Despite the countercurrents and dangerous shoals along the way, economic globalization has never and will not veer off course. Countries around the world should uphold true multilateralism. We should remove barriers, not erect walls. We should open up, not close off. We should seek integration, not decoupling. This is the way to build an open world economy. We should guide reforms of the global governance system with the principle of fairness and justice, and uphold the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its center. We should make generally acceptable and effective rules for artificial intelligence and digital economy on the basis of full consultation, and create an open, just and non-discriminatory environment for scientific and technological innovation. This is the way to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all, and to fully unleash the vitality of the world economy. 

A common understanding among us is that to turn the world economy from crisis to recovery, it is imperative to strengthen macro-policy coordination. Major economies should see the world as one community, think in a more systematic way, increase policy transparency and information sharing, and coordinate the objectives, intensity and pace of fiscal and monetary policies, so as to prevent the world economy from plummeting again. Major developed countries should adopt responsible economic policies, manage policy spillovers, and avoid severe impacts on developing countries. International economic and financial institutions should play their constructive role to pool global consensus, enhance policy synergy and prevent systemic risks. 

Third, we need to bridge the development divide and revitalize global development. The process of global development is suffering from severe disruption, entailing more outstanding problems like a widening North-South gap, divergent recovery trajectories, development fault-lines and a technological divide. The Human Development Index has declined for the first time in 30 years. The world’s poor population has increased by more than 100 million. Nearly 800 million people live in hunger. Difficulties are mounting in food security, education, employment, medicine, health and other areas important to people’s livelihoods. Some developing countries have fallen back into poverty and instability due to the pandemic. Many in developed countries are also living through a hard time. 

No matter what difficulties may come our way, we must adhere to a people-centered philosophy of development, place development and livelihoods front and center in global macro-policies, realize the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and build greater synergy among existing mechanisms of development cooperation to promote balanced development worldwide. We need to uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, promote international cooperation on climate change in the context of development, and implement the outcomes of COP26 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Developed economies should take the lead in honoring their emissions reduction responsibilities, deliver on their commitment of financial and technological support, and create the necessary conditions for developing countries to address climate change and achieve sustainable development. 

Last year, I put forward a Global Development Initiative at the UN General Assembly to draw international attention to the pressing challenges faced by developing countries. The Initiative is a public good open to the whole world, which aims to form synergy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and boost common development across the world. China stands ready to work with all partners to jointly translate the Initiative into concrete actions and make sure that no country is left behind in this process. 

Fourth, we need to discard Cold War mentality and seek peaceful coexistence and win-win outcomes. Our world today is far from being tranquil; rhetoric that stokes hatred and prejudice abound. Acts of containment, suppression or confrontation arising thereof do all harm, not the least good, to world peace and security. History has proved time and again that confrontation does not solve problems; it only invites catastrophic consequences. Protectionism and unilateralism can protect no one; they ultimately hurt the interests of others as well as one’s own. Even worse are the practices of hegemony and bullying, which run counter to the tide of history. Naturally, countries have divergences and disagreements between them. Yet a zero-sum approach that enlarges one’s own gain at the expense of others will not help. Acts of single-mindedly building “exclusive yards with high walls” or “parallel systems,” of enthusiastically putting together exclusive small circles or blocs that polarize the world, of overstretching the concept of national security to hold back economic and technological advances of other countries, and of fanning ideological antagonism and politicizing or weaponizing economic, scientific and technological issues, will gravely undercut international efforts to tackle common challenges. 

The right way forward for humanity is peaceful development and win-win cooperation. Different countries and civilizations may prosper together on the basis of respect for each other, and seek common ground and win-win outcomes by setting aside differences. 

We should follow the trend of history, work for a stable international order, advocate common values of humanity, and build a community with a shared future for mankind. We should choose dialogue over confrontation, inclusiveness over exclusion, and stand against all forms of unilateralism, protectionism, hegemony or power politics. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Friends, 

Last year, the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding. Through a century of tenacious struggle, the CPC has rallied and led the Chinese people in accomplishing remarkable achievements in the advancement of the nation and betterment of people’s lives. We have realized a moderately prosperous society in all respects and won the battle against poverty, both according to plan, and found a historic solution to ending absolute poverty. Now, China is marching on a new journey of building a modern socialist country in all respects. 

– China will stay committed to pursuing high-quality development. The Chinese economy enjoys a good momentum overall. Last year, our GDP grew by around eight percent, achieving the dual target of fairly high growth and relatively low inflation. Shifts in the domestic and international economic environment have brought tremendous pressure, but the fundamentals of the Chinese economy, characterized by strong resilience, enormous potential and long-term sustainability, remain unchanged. We have every confidence in the future of China’s economy. 

“The wealth of a country is measured by the abundance of its people.” Thanks to considerable economic growth, the Chinese people are living much better lives. Nonetheless, we are soberly aware that to meet the people’s aspiration for an even better life, we still have much hard work to do in the long run. China has made it clear that we strive for more visible and substantive progress in the well-rounded development of individuals and the common prosperity of the entire population. We are working hard on all fronts to deliver this goal. The common prosperity we desire is not egalitarianism. To use an analogy, we will first make the pie bigger, and then divide it properly through reasonable institutional arrangements. As a rising tide lifts all boats, everyone will get a fair share from development, and development gains will benefit all our people in a more substantial and equitable way. 

– China will stay committed to reform and opening-up. For China, reform and opening-up is always a work in process. Whatever change in the international landscape, China will always hold high the banner of reform and opening-up. China will continue to let the market play a decisive role in resource allocation, and see to it that the government better plays its role. We will be steadfast in consolidating and developing the public sector, just as we are steadfast in encouraging, supporting and guiding the development of the non-public sector. We will build a unified, open, competitive and orderly market system, where all businesses enjoy equal status before the law and have equal opportunities in the marketplace. All types of capital are welcome to operate in China in compliance with laws and regulations, and play a positive role for the development of the country. China will continue to expand high-standard opening-up, steadily advance institutional opening-up that covers rules, management and standards, deliver national treatment for foreign businesses, and promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. With the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) on 1 January this year, China will faithfully fulfill its obligations and deepen economic and trade ties with other RCEP parties. China will also continue to work for the joining of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), with a view to further integrating into the regional and global economy and achieving mutual benefit and win-win results. 

– China will stay committed to promoting ecological conservation. As I have said many times, we should never grow the economy at the cost of resource depletion and environmental degradation, which is like draining a pond to get fish; nor should we sacrifice growth to protect the environment, which is like climbing a tree to catch fish. Guided by our philosophy that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, China has carried out holistic conservation and systematic governance of its mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, grasslands and deserts. We do everything we can to conserve the ecological system, intensify pollution prevention and control, and improve the living and working environment for our people. China is now putting in place the world’s largest national parks system. Last year, we successfully hosted COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity, contributing China’s share to a clean and beautiful world. 

Achieving carbon peak and carbon neutrality are the intrinsic requirements of China’s own high-quality development and a solemn pledge to the international community. China will honor its word and keep working toward its goal. We have unveiled an Action Plan for Carbon Dioxide Peaking Before 2030, to be followed by implementation plans for specific sectors such as energy, industry and construction. China now has the world’s biggest carbon market and biggest clean power generation system: the installed capacity of renewable energy has exceeded one billion kilowatts, and the construction of wind and photovoltaic power stations with a total installed capacity of 100 million kilowatts is well under way. Carbon peak and carbon neutrality cannot be realized overnight. Through solid and steady steps, China will pursue an orderly phase-down of traditional energy in the course of finding reliable substitution in new energy. This approach, which combines phasing out the old and bringing in the new, will ensure steady economic and social development. China will also actively engage in international cooperation on climate and jointly work for a complete transition to a greener economy and society. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Friends, 

Davos is known as a heaven for winter sports. The Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will open soon. We are confident that China will present a streamlined, safe and splendid Games to the world. The official motto for Beijing 2022 is “Together for a Shared Future.” Indeed, let us join hands with full confidence, and work together for a shared future. 

Thank you.

Hua Chunying: Washington DC is the birthplace and headquarters of economic coercion

A powerful quote from Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying about the US use of economic warfare against developing countries.

For a long time, the US has been engaged in unilateral bullying practices, imposing long-term sanctions on Cuba, the DPRK, Iran, Venezuela, among other countries. Washington DC is the birthplace and headquarters of economic coercion. The US, through its policies and actions, has provided the world with textbook examples of coercive diplomacy, which means achieving one’s strategic goals with military threats, political isolation, economic sanctions and technical blockade.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on September 29, 2021

CGTN video interviews regarding the situation in Afghanistan

Embedded below are two important video interviews conducted recently by CGTN regarding the situation in Afghanistan and China’s potential role in helping to construct a future of peace, stability and development in that country. Both interviewees make it clear that China is ready and willing to engage with the new government; China encourages the Taliban to govern in a tolerant, pluralistic and inclusive way, respecting the rights of women and of ethnic minorities; China encourages the Taliban to end its support for terrorist forces such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement; and China will work with the Afghan government and other countries in the region to support Afghanistan’s reconstruction.


The first interview is with Yue Xiaoyong, Special Envoy for Afghan Affairs, Chinese Foreign Ministry:

The second interview is with Senior Colonel Zhou Bo (retired), a senior fellow of the Centre for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University and former director of the Center for Security Cooperation at the Chinese Ministry of National Defense: