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.
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.
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”.
The following tworeports were originally published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The current political crisis in Pakistan, which, at time of writing, has seen Prime Minister Imran Khan forced to relinquish office following his loss of a parliamentary vote of no confidence, a vote he had attempted to derail by dissolving parliament, only to have the dissolution overruled by the Supreme Court, has led to considerable speculation in some anti-imperialist circles, focused not least on the nature and extent of the US role in the crisis and the prospects for China/Pakistan relations.
In an attempt to provide some clarity on these matters we are pleased to republish two important and thoughtful articles from China’s GlobalTimes, both published on April 10. They deserve to be carefully read in full, but we highlight here some salient points by way of introduction.
“[Imran] Khan implied that the US was behind the motion against him. Chinese scholars argue that even if the US was playing tricks from behind the scene, it cannot sow discord between China and Pakistan.”
It goes on to quote Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, as saying:
“There is no difference between Pakistan’s major political parties in their friendship and the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership with China. If there’s a difference, it would lie in which party will uphold such relations better.”
Qian further notes that, “In China-Pakistan relations, the Pakistani military has played the role of a stabilizer and ballast stone in building a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future”, adding that, “no matter which party is in power in Pakistan in the future, it should not be labeled as pro-US.”
“The potential successor of Khan is from the Sharif family which has been promoting China-Pakistan ties for a long time, and cooperation between the two countries could be even better than under Khan.”
This article also quotes Qian Feng as noting: “The latest political change in Pakistan is mainly caused by political party struggles and issues with the economy and people’s livelihoods,” adding that “due to the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in the country believe that Khan’s administration has failed to stop the economic situation from worsening… In general, current internal problems in Pakistan have nothing to do with its solid ties with China, so there will not be a significant impact on China-Pakistan cooperation. Khan is from a newly rising political party – the Pakistan Movement for Justice, and when traditional major political parties like the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) or the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) return to power, China-Pakistan cooperation could be even better because these traditional major parties have much closer and deeper ties with China.”
“When [Shehbaz] Sharif [candidate for Prime Minister] was regional leader of the eastern province of the Punjab, he struck many BRI cooperation deals with China directly to improve local infrastructure and economic development, and his family have maintained long-standing ties with China as his brother Nawaz Sharif is a three-time former prime minister and the leader who kicked off the CPEC project,” the paper quoted unnamed experts as saying.
Neither article seeks to deny that the US is interfering in Pakistan and attempting to create discord both internally and in the country’s relations with China. However the newspaper quotes Rana Ali Qaisar Khan, executive member of the Central Standing Committee of the Pakistan National Party, one of the country’s historic left-wing parties, with its main base in Balochistan Province, as saying, “the US has always tried to influence many countries’ domestic affairs, including Pakistan’s, but its role should not be exaggerated and the current political situation in Pakistan is mainly caused by internal reasons.”
We are very pleased to republish this important article by Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute and a member of our advisory group, originally published by Wall Street International and also republished by the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency. Taking the recent ‘historic first’ of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s address to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Islamabad as his starting point, Senator Hussain notes that the connection between the Chinese and Muslim civilisations dates back to the very earliest days of the Islamic faith and has been a consistent cornerstone of New China’s diplomacy since the founding of the People’s Republic to the present. Key early examples given by the Senator include China’s key role in the 1955 Bandung Conference in Indonesia and its pioneering recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
The retrenchment of American power in the Middle East and the larger Muslim world, coupled with the war in Ukraine, has provided a geopolitical breather for China. Beijing is effectively deploying this to make strategic inroads into the region, given this vacuum and focus on Europe. The recent invitation to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to address the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference in Islamabad is a ‘historic first,’ and a significant breakthrough for Chinese diplomacy. For the first time, the foreign minister of the Peoples Republic of China was invited to address the most representative platform of the 57 member body representing the 1.5 billion Muslims. During his speech at the OIC conference in Islamabad on the 22nd March 2022, Foreign Minister Wang Yi talked about the “long standing relationship between China and the Muslim world” and reaffirmed that China would continue supporting Muslim countries in their quest for political independence and economic development.
Historically, China has always been etched in the Muslim consciousness as a country with a great civilisation based on knowledge, learning and development. For example, there is a famous saying of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him), 1,400 years ago, which urged Muslims to “seek knowledge, even if you have to go to China,” implying that although China was physically far away from Arabia, it was a land of learning. Soon after the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, a professor of the prestigious American university Harvard, Prof. Samuel Huntington, talked of a ‘clash of civilisations’ in which he implied that Western civilization would be at odds with both the Islamic and the Confucian civilisations. Interestingly, he also talked of a united front of the Islamic and Confucian civilisations.
We publish here the text of the statement made by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, held on April 7th, where the Russian Federation’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council was suspended. In explaining his country’s negative vote, Ambassador Zhang reiterated China’s respect for international humanitarian law and called on all parties to the conflict in Ukraine to protect civilians, especially women, children and other vulnerable groups. Noting that dialogue and negotiation are the only way out, he further noted that the people of the world, especially of the developing countries, are paying a price, for example in soaring food and oil prices, although they are not parties to the conflict.
Consistent with US pressure, the resolution was passed with 93 votes. However 24 countries (including all the socialist countries) voted against, 58 abstained and 18 did not participate in the vote. As only negative votes were counted in this way, the resolution was deemed to have passed with the required two thirds majority. It is, however, a noteworthy fact that a small majority of UN members actually failed to vote in favour of the resolution.
On the Ukraine issue, China always believes that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine, should be respected, that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be upheld, that the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously, and that all efforts conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis should be supported. Putting an early end to the fight is the urgent expectation of the international community. It is also what China is striving for. China supports all initiatives and measures that will help ease the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. We call on the parties concerned to respect international humanitarian law, and take concrete actions to ensure the safety of civilians, and protect the basic rights and humanitarian needs of women, children and other vulnerable groups. The reports and images of civilian deaths in Bucha are disturbing. The relevant circumstances and specific causes of the incident must be verified and established. Any accusations should be based on facts. Before the full picture is clear, all sides should exercise restraint and avoid unfounded accusations.
In this article, originally carried by CGTN, Keith Lamb argues that the America COMPETES Act of 2022, in which China is mentioned a staggering 666 times, and which now only awaits presidential approval following its passage in the House and Senate, amounts to a formal declaration of the New Cold War, not only against China but against the entire Global South.
The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science (COMPETES) Act of 2022 has passed in the House and the Senate. It now only needs presidential approval to become law. If it is passed, it will mark the official start of a new Cold War against China and the Global South.
Importantly, the “America COMPETES Act of 2022” is actually the “United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021.” This is because, on March 28, the Senate voted to use the more belligerent text of the 2021 Act for the 2022 Act.
The United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, originally known under the imperial sounding “Endless Frontier Act,” was drawn up by those conditioned by the ideology of neoliberal imperialism, namely Senator Todd Young and Chuck Schumer. Schumer was a supporter of the illegal occupation of Iraq, and Young, an ex-naval officer with an MBA from the University of Chicago, one of the centers of neoliberal ideology, worked at the anti-China think tank “The Heritage Foundation.”
We are pleased and honored to present the English translation of Dilma Rousseff’s keynote speech at our recent webinar, 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline. Dilma Rousseff, former President of Brazil, provides a detailed analysis of the New Cold War and the current state of US-China relations, comparing and contrasting the US neoliberal model with China’s people-centered model of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. President Dilma reiterates the need for Brazil to integrate with the rest of Latin America, to break its dependency on the US, to develop a truly sovereign foreign policy, and work closely with China – a country which is increasingly leading in new technology and which is willing to work with other countries on the basis of equality.
Brazil during the Workers Party governments always had a position of absolute independence with regard to its relations with all other countries. And it prioritized its strategic relation with the BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Now we find ourselves in an international framework of conflict.
Since the financial crisis in 2008, friction between China and the United States has grown. Such frictions, which emerged during the Obama administration with the Trans Pacific Partnership (which was an attempt to counter China), became more aggressive during the Trump administration. After the Biden administration took office, China-US relations, while more “diplomatic” in appearance, became even more conflictual.
When comparing China and the US in their COVID response, economic recovery, education, science and technology, domestic governance and global governance, it seems fair to say that the balanceof competition is increasingly tilting towards China.
In the response to COVID, the disappointing result in the US contrasts sharply with the situation in China, which has had greater control over the spread of the virus, reducing the number of infections and deaths. The US government, on the other hand, has failed to reduce the deadly effects of the disease in the country. China has also actively participated in international cooperation, supporting the COVAX Facility and the World Health Organization (WHO), proposing to make COVID vaccines a global public good, and providing vaccines and PPE to other countries. These movements evidenced China’s growing “soft power”.
Whilst international media coverage understandably focused on President Xi Jinping’s March 18 telephone conversation with US President Biden, the Chinese leader also held two other important conversations that day with leaders of countries that have particularly friendly relations with China.
Speaking with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Xi said that their two countries “share a special friendly relationship of comrades and brothers”. This phrase is particularly significant – whilst it has been used several times by the Chinese leadership to describe their ties with South Africa, it is highly unusual, if not unique, for China to describe its state relations with a non-socialist country as embracing comradeship. In this context, it is worth noting that the friendship between the Communist Party of China and the African National Congress of South Africa date back to at least 1953, when Nelson Mandela sent ANC Secretary General Walter Sisulu to China to gain support for the steadily building anti-apartheid struggle, following Sisulu’s participation in the fourth World Festival of Youth and Students in Romania. China consistently supported the South African people’s struggle against apartheid and for national liberation.
President Xi further said that the relationship with South Africa is of great significance both for China/Africa relations as well as solidarity and cooperation among developing countries. The two leaders also exchanged views on the development of the BRICS grouping, which links Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and which China chairs this year. They noted that their two countries share a very close position on the conflict in Ukraine, standing for dialogue and negotiation. There have been a number of suggestions that South Africa could play an important role in this regard. Clearly alluding to the US pressures that both countries are facing, the two leaders agreed that sovereign countries are entitled to independently decide on their own positions.
The same day, President Xi also spoke with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, with a key focus being their bilateral Belt and Road Cooperation. Xi stressed that China would pay particular attention to developing roads and education in Cambodia’s rural areas so as to help develop agriculture and lift farmers out of poverty. Noting that next year will see the 65th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, President Xi said that their ties had become even more unbreakable whilst Prime Minister Hun Sen described the two countries as true ironclad brothers. Discussion also centred on the prospects for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), to which both belong, and relations between China and ASEAN, a ten-country bloc of South East Asian nations that Cambodia chairs this year.
China ready to move ties with South Africa to deeper level
In this important article, originally published as an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, Qin Gang, China’s Ambassador to the US and one of his country’s most skilled and experienced diplomats, sets out Beijing’s principled position on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine for the American public and refutes a number of misconceptions being spread in that regard. Most importantly, he makes it crystal clear that:
Assertions that China knew about, acquiesced to or tacitly supported this war are purely disinformation. All these claims serve only the purpose of shifting blame to and slinging mud at China. There were more than 6,000 Chinese citizens in Ukraine. China is the biggest trading partner of both Russia and Ukraine, and the largest importer of crude oil and natural gas in the world. Conflict between Russia and Ukraine does no good for China. Had China known about the imminent crisis, we would have tried our best to prevent it.
Many Americans are understandably trying to understand where China stands as the crisis in Ukraine unfolds, so I want to take this opportunity to explain fully and dispel any misunderstandings and rumors.
There have been claims that China had prior knowledge of Russia’s military action and demanded Russia delay it until the Winter Olympics concluded. Recent rumors further claimed that Russia was seeking military assistance from China. Let me say this responsibly: Assertions that China knew about, acquiesced to or tacitly supported this war are purely disinformation. All these claims serve only the purpose of shifting blame to and slinging mud at China. There were more than 6,000 Chinese citizens in Ukraine. China is the biggest trading partner of both Russia and Ukraine, and the largest importer of crude oil and natural gas in the world. Conflict between Russia and Ukraine does no good for China. Had China known about the imminent crisis, we would have tried our best to prevent it.
The following transcript of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s press conference on 7 March 2022, held on the sidelines of the Fifth Session of the 13th National People’s Congress, provides an instructive and valuable global snapshot of China’s foreign policy. Touching on Ukraine, Russia, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, the South Pacific, China-Africa cooperation, China-Latin America cooperation, Taiwan, the Global Development Initiative, the Belt and Road Initiative, the New Cold War and more, the constant theme is China’s unwavering commitment to peace, global development, conflict resolution through dialogue, solidarity and cooperation; in summary, the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Wang reiterates China’s unambiguous opposition to the New Cold War, to unilateralism and bloc politics, and calls for safeguarding the UN-based system of international law, based on the UN Charter.
Wang Yi: Friends from the media, good afternoon. I am very pleased to meet you again. For the world, the year ahead continues to be full of challenges. The world has not completely defeated COVID-19, and yet it is now facing the Ukraine crisis. An international situation already rife with uncertainties is becoming more complex and fluid. At such a critical moment, countries need solidarity, not division; dialogue, not confrontation. As a responsible major country, China will continue to hold high the banner of multilateralism. We will work with all peace-loving and development-seeking countries to strengthen solidarity and cooperation, jointly meet challenges, and continue to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. We will strive together for a brighter and better future for the world. With these words, I’m ready to take your questions.
China Central Television: The Beijing Olympic Winter Games has been a great success, which was not easy under the current international circumstances. Some foreigners say that China has more confidence and strength than it staged the Olympic Games in 2008. What is your view?
Wang Yi: With the joint efforts of China and the international community, the Beijing Olympic Winter Games has achieved a full success. We have presented to the world a streamlined, safe and splendid Games, and a more confident, self-reliant, open and inclusive China. Around 170 official representatives from close to 70 countries and international organizations were at the Opening Ceremony, supporting China with concrete actions. Here, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to friends from all countries that have participated in and supported Beijing 2022.
Beijing 2022 is not only a success for China, but also a success for the world. It represents not just the triumph of sport but, more importantly, the triumph of solidarity. The Games was held amid the spread of Omicron and rising tensions over regional hot-spots. It also faced politically-motivated attempts of disruption and sabotage by a handful of countries. Under such circumstances, it was inspiring to see that the overwhelming majority of countries and people chose to unite under the Olympic spirit, bringing hope to people beset by the pandemic and confidence to a world overshadowed by instability.
As we speak, athletes from around the world are giving their best performance on the winter Paralympic field of play. I am confident that the light of unity and cooperation created by the Olympic and Paralympic Games will shine through mist and rain, and illuminate the path for humanity to jointly forge ahead into the future.
The video embedded below is a speech given by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez on 6 March 2022 at an online panel discussion entitled ‘Demystifying modern, socialist China: From Belt and Road to Xinjiang’, jointly organised by the Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire Morning Star Readers & Supporters groups. Carlos discusses the imperialist nature of the original Cold War; its relation to the current state of international relations (particularly the escalating tensions between the US and China); and the importance for progressive, socialist and anti-war forces of struggling against this New Cold War.