Embassy spokesperson responds to Irish politician’s remarks on China

On Tuesday May 2, Micheál Martin, Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), as well as Minister for Foreign Affairs and for Defence, of the Republic of Ireland, and leader of the  Fianna Fáil party, delivered a major speech at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin on the question of his country’s relations with China. 

Whilst acknowledging that this relationship is valued, and highlighting the €34.5 billion in two-way trade as well as “enduring links in education, in culture and in tourism,” Martin echoed a number of European politicians, as well as US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, in calling for ‘de-risking’ Ireland’s ties with China. The financial news service Bloomberg noted that, in so doing, Martin had positioned Ireland in opposition to the recent call by French President Emmanuel Macron for a more constructive relationship with China. According to the Irish Times, Martin stated:

“We must be clear-eyed about China’s strategic objectives and about what these might mean for the European Union and Ireland.

“Ireland’s message on human rights will remain consistent, whether in relation to Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, or elsewhere – China has an obligation to act in a manner that ensures full respect for the rule of law.”

He further called on China to use its “considerable influence” to end Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

Responding to the speech, the Chinese Embassy in Ireland said that it had “taken note of the positive elements… that Ireland values its bilateral relationship with China and wants to work constructively together with China; that Ireland reaffirms it adheres to the one-China policy,” but continued:

“Regrettably, the speech over-exaggerated the differences between China and Ireland and emphasized the concept of ‘de-risking’ with China. It also made misleading comments on China’s stance on current international hot issues and made groundless accusations against China on issues related to Taiwan, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong, interfering in China’s internal affairs.”

Stressing that it disagreed with the concept of ‘de-risking’ and the idea that differences in worldview would “inevitably shape” the way the two countries viewed one another, the Embassy noted that: “The tremendous development of bilateral cooperation between China and Ireland over the past more than 40 years has fully demonstrated the fact that China and Ireland share extensive common interests, the convergence of our views far outweighs our differences, and our cooperation far outweighs our competition.”

On the Ukraine crisis, it said that: “China always stands on the side of peace. Its core stance is to facilitate talks for peace. China did not create the Ukraine crisis, nor is it a party to the crisis.”

Regarding the Taiwan issue, the embassy stated that, “just as ‘no one group can have a veto on Ireland’s future’, no one can have a veto on Chinese people’s aspiration and determination to achieve national reunification.”

It added that “a lot of international friends who have been to Xinjiang said that what they saw with their own eyes in Xinjiang is completely different from what has been portrayed by Western media. We welcome Irish friends from all walks of life to visit Xinjiang and find out the true picture there, instead of being misled by Xinjiang-related lies.

Towards its conclusion, it invoked the words of the late John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) in the north of Ireland, and an architect of the Good Friday Agreement, which recently marked its 25th anniversary:

“Difference is the essence of humanity. Difference is an accident of birth, and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity.” 

We reprint below the full text of the statement. It originally appeared on the website of the Chinese Embassy in the Republic of Ireland.

Question: On 2nd May, Micheál Martin, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, delivered a speech mainly on China and China-Ireland relations. What is the Chinese Embassy’s comment?

Answer: We have taken note of the positive elements of the speech that Ireland values its bilateral relationship with China and wants to work constructively together with China; that Ireland reaffirms it adheres to one-China policy.

Continue reading Embassy spokesperson responds to Irish politician’s remarks on China

Carry forward the spirit of Dr Kotnis to strengthen China-India friendship

As part of a tour of South Asian countries in the first week of May, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang visited India to attend the Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which was held in Goa. Whilst there, on May 4, Qin Gang met with the family members of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis (known in China as Ke Dihua), along with representatives of friendship organizations with China and young people from both countries.

Dr. Kotnis was one of a team of five Indian doctors, one of whom had previously served with the International Brigades in Spain, who were sent to help the Chinese people in their war of resistance against Japan by India’s Congress party, then led by Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose, after China’s Red Army leader Zhu De had written a request to Nehru on the suggestion of Agnes Smedley, the American internationalist who maintained deep ties with the freedom movements in both countries.

In the spirit of the great Canadian communist, Dr. Norman Bethune, who the team had gone to replace following his death from sepsis incurred while operating behind enemy lines, Dr. Kotnis worked tirelessly, sometimes for 72 hours without sleep. He refused any special treatment, taught himself fluent Chinese, and passed on his knowledge by writing two textbooks on surgery (one uncompleted, he was actually struck by a fatal seizure as he was writing), and becoming a teacher and then the head of the Bethune Medical School.

It was while teaching at the school that he met, fell in love with and married Guo Qinglan, a nurse and nursing teacher. Their son, Yinhua, whose name means India-China, was born just four months before Dr. Kotnis’s death. In July 1942, Dr. Kotnis was admitted to membership of the Communist Party of China. 

After Dr. Kotnis passed away on December 9, 1942, from epileptic seizures exacerbated by prolonged overwork, Mao Zedong wrote the following calligraphy in his memory: 

“Dr. Kotnis, our Indian friend, came to China from afar to assist us in our war of resistance. He worked for five years in Yan’an and north China, giving medical treatment to our wounded soldiers and died of illness owing to constant overwork. The army has lost a helping hand, and the nation has lost a friend. Let’s always bear in mind his internationalist spirit.”

In meeting with Dr. Kotnis’s relatives, Qin Gang carried on a tradition of senior Chinese leaders visiting India, beginning with Premier Zhou Enlai in the 1950s through to President Xi Jinping in recent times. 

Qin Gang said that  Dr. Kotnis was a great friend of the Chinese people and an outstanding fighter in the anti-fascist war, who devoted his precious youth and life to the Chinese people’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression. His spirit, Qin continued, is a humanitarian one of saving lives, a heroic one of daring to struggle and not being afraid of sacrifice, and an internationalist one of advocating peace, friendship, and a shared future.

One distinct feature of Qin’s meeting, consistent with the change of generations, as well as the fact that May 4 is celebrated as Youth Day in China, in honour of the anti-imperialist May 4 Movement of youth and students in 1919 that contributed significantly to the founding of the Communist Party of China two years later, was the emphasis placed on the need for young people to inherit and carry forward the spirit of Dr. Kotnis so as to firmly safeguard peace and friendship between China and India.

Noting that the young people of both China and India are full of vitality and are the main force for development in their respective countries, Qin Gang called on them to  promote people-to-people exchanges and to explore a path for the two major neighbors to coexist in peace, get along in amity and seek rejuvenation together.

He also urged the youths to promote bilateral cooperation for mutual benefit and to boost mutual trust, so as to jointly safeguard the common interests of developing countries and uphold international fairness and justice.

The following articles were originally published by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Xinhua News Agency.

Qin Gang Meets with Relatives of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis and Representatives of Chinese and Indian Young People

On May 4, 2023 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with relatives of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis and representatives of China-India friendship organizations and Chinese and Indian young people in Goa, India.

Qin Gang and relatives of Dr. Kotnis visited the photo exhibition of Dr. Kotnis’ life. Qin Gang said that Dr. Kotnis, a great friend of the Chinese people and an outstanding fighter in the anti-fascist war, devoted his precious youth and life to the Chinese people’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression. The spirit of Dr. Kotnis is a humanitarian one of saving lives, a heroic one of daring to struggle and not being afraid of sacrifice, and an internationalist one of advocating peace, friendship and a shared future.

Continue reading Carry forward the spirit of Dr Kotnis to strengthen China-India friendship

Qin Gang trip consolidates China’s ties with South Asian countries

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang spent the first week of May on an important visit to South Asian countries.

On May 1, he met in Beijing with Noeleen Heyzer, the Special Envoy of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General on Myanmar. Qin Gang said that China and Myanmar are close neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, and China hopes more than any other country that Myanmar will realize stability and development. With internal and external factors intertwined, the Myanmar issue is complex and has no “quick fix”. The international community should respect Myanmar’s sovereignty, and support all parties and factions in Myanmar in bridging differences and resuming the political transition process through political dialogue within the constitutional and legal frameworks. He further noted that the international community should respect the mediation efforts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and promote the implementation of ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus on Myanmar.

The following day, Qin Gang arrived in China’s Yunnan province for an inspection tour, in which he stressed the need to maintain stability at the China-Myanmar border, advance the friendship and cooperation between China and Myanmar, and open up new prospects of border-related and Myanmar-related work. Visiting various places and projects, including ‘One Village, Two Countries’ border communities, he took opinions and suggestions from those working at primary-level units and on the front line. He stressed the importance of pushing forward the building of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor with a focus on industrial capacity cooperation and industrial park construction, to help boost the economic and social development of the two countries, as well as maintaining peace and tranquility in the border area and safeguarding the overall situation of China-Myanmar friendship.

This somewhat unusual public engagement by a Chinese foreign minister reflects the special position of the southwestern province regarding Myanmar, with, for example, the same and closely related ethnic groups and nationalities living on both sides of the border. It might also be considered as an extension of whole process people’s democracy on the diplomatic front.

The same day, Qin Gang began his visit to Myanmar, meeting with Than Shwe, the former Chairman of the Myanmar State Peace and Development Council, in the country’s new capital, Nay Pyi Taw.

Qin Gang said that China respects Myanmar’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, supports Myanmar in advancing its domestic peace process, and stands ready to continue actively providing assistance for Myanmar in safeguarding independence, maintaining political stability and realizing sustainable development. Than Shwe said that the “pauk-phaw” [brotherly] friendship between Myanmar and China was forged by the leaders of the elder generations of the two countries, has been promoted by every generation of their leaders, and is deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples.

Also on May 2, Qin Gang met with Myanmar leader Min Aung Hlaing. The Chinese Foreign Minister pointed out that China sincerely hopes for a stable situation and national development in Myanmar, supports Myanmar in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions and with Myanmar’s characteristics, supports Myanmar in continuously advancing its political transition process, and supports all parties in Myanmar to properly handle differences and achieve reconciliation under the constitutional and legal framework. China will continue to provide assistance within its capability for Myanmar’s development, accelerate key cooperation projects of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, and carry out projects on agriculture, education and health care, among others, for the benefit of Myanmar people.

Continue reading Qin Gang trip consolidates China’s ties with South Asian countries

China reiterates support for Syria’s unity, sovereignty and independence

Some 12 years after it was unjustly excluded, Syria was readmitted to the Arab League on May 7. An emergency meeting of the League’s Foreign Ministers, held in the Egyptian capital Cairo, resolved to restore Syria’s membership with immediate effect. This clears the way for Syria to attend the League’s Summit, which is due to convene in the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh on May 19. The Wall Street Journal described the move as, “complicating American efforts to isolate President Bashar al-Assad and signalling a waning of US influence in the Middle East.” The paper added: “The decision to readmit Syria to the Arab League represents a rejection of US interests in the region and shows that Middle Eastern countries are forging policies independent of Western concerns.”

Syria’s diplomatic victory is part of a broad and dramatic redrawing of the geopolitical map of West Asia particularly following the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, mediated by China, to restore bilateral relations.

Reporting on the summit meeting between China and the Arab League, held during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Saudi Arabia last December, and noting that the Chinese leader’s proposals to his Arab counterparts included a pledge to provide humanitarian support and reconstruction efforts for a number of countries, including Syria, this website commented, on December 12 2022, that: “This is particularly significant in that Syria is still unjustly excluded from the League of Arab States, although considerable progress is being made to rectify this.”

Consistent with these trends, on April 29, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received the visiting Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East, Zhai Jun in his capital, Damascus.

At their meeting, President Assad noted that the most significant positive change in the world has been the Chinese role, which is increasing in a calm and balanced manner, and that this role has become a new model in politics, economy, and culture. He went on to observe that the entire world today needs the Chinese presence politically and economically to rebalance the global situation and praised the Chinese mediation that culminated in the rapprochement and improvement of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which, he said, will have a positive impact on the stability of the entire Middle East region.

Underlining the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Syrian leader said that the confrontation with imperialism has become economic in the first place, which makes it increasingly necessary to reduce the use of the US dollar in transactions, and that BRICS countries can play a leading role in this area, along with the option of adopting the Chinese yuan for trade payments between countries.

Assad said that Syria does not forget that Beijing has been by its side during the war years to defend its sovereignty, adding that all the assistance provided by Beijing during the earthquake catastrophe was appreciated.

For his part, Zhai Jun expressed China’s satisfaction with the victory achieved by the Syrian people in their battle against terrorism, considering it a victory for all countries that defend their sovereignty and dignity. He added that Beijing will support Syria with words and deeds in international forums in defense of truth and justice, and support its battle against hegemony, terrorism and external interference. He also expressed his country’s support for the positive developments taking place in the rapprochement between Syria and the Arab countries.

Shortly before his meeting with the head of state, Zhai Jun met with Fayssal Mikdad, Syria’s Foreign and Expatriates Minister, who renewed his country’s support for the territorial integrity of China and the one-China principle, while, for his part, Zhai expressed his appreciation for the achievements made by Syria, a country friendly to China, and China’s rejection of all attempts to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs, reiterating his country’s support for Syria’s unity, sovereignty and independence.

The following reports were originally carried by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

President al-Assad receives Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East

President Bashar al-Assad received Saturday Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Zhai Jun.

The central topic between the President al-Assad and Zhai Jun was the common perceptions of the bilateral relationship between Syria and China within the larger landscape of China’s relationship with the countries of the Middle East and its vital role throughout this region.

President al-Assad pointed out that the most significant positive change in the world has been the Chinese role, which is increasing in a calm and balanced manner, and that this role has become a new model in politics, economy and culture, especially as it is based on the principle of achieving stability, peace and profit for all.

President al-Assad noted that the entire world today needs the Chinese presence politically and economically to rebalance the global situation, taking into account the Russian-Chinese relations and the BRICS alliance in terms of constituting a strong international space capable of creating a multipolar international order.

President al-Assad praised the Chinese mediation that culminated in the rapprochement and improvement of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which will have a positive impact on the stability of the entire Middle East region.

His excellency underlined the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative aimed at achieving development and economic cooperation.

President al-Assad stressed that the confrontation has been economic in the first place, which makes it increasingly necessary to release the US dollar in transactions, and that BRICS countries can play a leading role in this area, as well as the option of adopting the Chinese yuan for trade transactions between countries.

President al-Assad said that Syria does not forget that Beijing has been by its side during the war years to defend its sovereignty in accordance with international law and the United Nations Charter, and we appreciate all the assistance provided by Beijing during the earthquake catastrophe.

President al-Assad conveyed his greetings to the Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Chinese people.

For his part, the special envoy Zhai Jun conveyed to President al-Assad the greetings of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and his keenness to achieve greater results at the level of bilateral relations.

He stressed that China views relations with Syria from a strategic perspective and within the framework of a comprehensive vision for the region.

Zhai Jun expressed his country’s satisfaction with the victory achieved by the Syrian people in their battle against terrorism and considered that it is a victory for all countries that defend their sovereignty and dignity.

He said that Beijing will support Syria with words and deeds in international forums in defense of truth and justice, and support its battle against hegemony, terrorism and external interference

He expressed his country’s support for the positive developments taking place in the rapprochement between Syria and the Arab countries.

Mikdad: Syria supports the One-China principle

Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Fayssal Mikdad, met on Saturday the Special representative of the Chinese Government for the Middle East affairs Zhai Jun and the accompanying delegation.

During the meeting, Minister Mikdad renewed Syria’s support for the territorial integrity of China and the one-China principle , rejecting in this regard the attempts of some countries to interfere in China’s domestic affairs.

In turn, the Chinese envoy expressed his appreciation for the achievements made by Syria, a country friendly to China, and China’s rejection of all attempts to interfere in its internal affairs, reiterating his country’s support for Syria’s unity, sovereignty and independence.

China deepens its friendship with Central Asian countries

China and the five Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have agreed to hold the China-Central Asia Summit this month. It is expected to be one of the two key multilateral diplomatic events hosted by China this year, the other being a Belt and Road cooperation forum, and will be held in the city of Xi’an, appropriately the starting point of the ancient silk road.

To prepare well for this meeting, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang hosted his counterparts from the four countries in the same city, April 26-27.

The first day was given over to bilateral meetings. Qin Gang said that:

  • China and Kazakhstan have agreed to a shared future defined by lasting friendship, a high degree of mutual trust and sharing weal and woe.
  • China and Kyrgyzstan have achieved leapfrog development in their relationship and become comprehensive strategic partners true to the name. 
  • China and Tajikistan are ironclad friends.
  • China-Uzbekistan relations have reached an unprecedented height.
  • China and Turkmenistan have  jointly announced the decision to elevate their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership and to practice the vision of a community with a shared future at the bilateral level.

He stressed that China will, as always, firmly support the Central Asian countries in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence, security, and territorial integrity. China also firmly supports the development paths independently chosen by the Central Asian countries in line with their national conditions. China resolutely opposes any external forces interfering in the internal affairs of the Central Asian countries.

The following day, Qin Gang chaired the fourth China-Central Asia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. He said that China and Central Asian countries are good neighbors, good friends, good partners and good brothers sharing weal and woe and went on to note that the world finds itself in a new period of turbulence and transformation. Unity is strength. The more chaotic the world is and the more complex the situation is, the more we need to stay focused, strengthen unity and enhance cooperation.  The two sides should step up the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism, and jointly strengthen the regional security net. The two sides should firmly oppose interference in the internal affairs of countries in the region by any forces under any pretext, and make Central Asia a clean land for win-win cooperation rather than a battlefield for geopolitical games.

Following the meeting, Qin Gang briefed the press, explaining that the foreign ministers had reached consensus on five key points:

  • Adhering to good-neighborliness and friendship, and working together to ensure the success of the Xi’an Summit.
  • Adhering to solidarity and mutual assistance, and enhancing mutual support. 
  • Adhering to mutual benefit and win-win results, and advancing high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
  • Adhering to sharing weal and woe, and expanding security cooperation.
  • Adhering to fairness and justice, and resolutely safeguarding the international order.

The following articles were originally published on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Qin Gang Holds Talks Respectively with Foreign Ministers of Five Central Asian Countries

On April 26, 2023, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang held talks in Xi’an respectively with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Murat Nurtleu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan Kulubaev Zheenbek Moldokanovich, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Saidov Bakhtiyor Odilovich, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Vepa Hajiyev. The ministers were in China for the fourth China-Central Asia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

Qin Gang said that President Xi Jinping and President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev have agreed to build a China-Kazakhstan community with a shared future defined by lasting friendship, a high degree of mutual trust and sharing weal and woe. Both sides should take this as fundamental guidance to enable the China-Kazakhstan permanent comprehensive strategic partnership to deliver more benefits to the two peoples.

Qin Gang said that China and Kyrgyzstan have achieved leapfrog development in their relationship and become comprehensive strategic partners true to the name. The two sides should harness the role of the China- Kyrgyzstan Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation. China supports Kyrgyzstan in hosting a successful meeting of the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this year.

Continue reading China deepens its friendship with Central Asian countries

China commits to assisting Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development

On April 12-13, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang paid an official visit to Uzbekistan and then attended two important meetings, namely the fourth foreign ministers meeting among neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, followed by the second informal meeting of foreign ministers of China, Russia, Pakistan, and Iran on the Afghan issue.

Coinciding with these events, on April 12, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released an 11-point position paper on the Afghan issue. It noted that: “China respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, respects the independent choices made by the Afghan people, and respects the religious beliefs and national customs of Afghanistan. China never interferes in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, never seeks selfish interests in Afghanistan, and never pursues so-called sphere of influence.”

China, it said, sincerely hopes that Afghanistan could build an open and inclusive political structure, adopt moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, and engage in friendly exchanges with all countries especially neighbouring countries. “We hope the Afghan Interim Government will protect the basic rights and interests of all Afghan people, including women, children and all ethnic groups.”

China will continue to do its best to help Afghanistan with reconstruction and development, make plans with Afghanistan and fulfil its assistance pledges, promote steady progress in economic, trade and investment cooperation, and actively carry out cooperation in such fields as medical care, poverty alleviation, agriculture, and disaster prevention and mitigation, so as to help Afghanistan realise independent and sustainable development at an early date. China welcomes Afghanistan’s participation in Belt and Road cooperation.

Stressing the need to support Afghanistan in countering terrorism, China hopes that Afghanistan will fulfil its commitment in earnest and take more effective measures to crack down on all terrorist forces including the ETIM [East Turkestan Islamic Movement] with greater determination.

The paper added: “It is a widely held view in the international community that, by seizing Afghanistan’s overseas assets and imposing unilateral sanctions, the US, which created the Afghan issue in the first place, is the biggest external factor that hinders substantive improvement in the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The US should draw lessons from what happened in Afghanistan, face squarely the grave humanitarian, economic and security risks and challenges in Afghanistan, immediately lift its sanctions, return the Afghan overseas assets, and deliver its pledged humanitarian aid to meet the emergency needs of the Afghan people.”

It also stressed: “It is a shared view of regional countries that the military interference and ‘democratic transformation’ by external forces in Afghanistan over the past 20-odd years have inflicted enormous losses and pain on Afghanistan. It will be difficult to eliminate the negative impacts for many years to come. To help Afghanistan achieve sustained peace and stability, relevant countries should not attempt to re-deploy military facilities in Afghanistan and its neighbourhood, practice double standards on counter-terrorism, or advance their geopolitical agenda by supporting or conniving at terrorism.”

Continue reading China commits to assisting Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development

Lula’s successful visit serves to deepen Brazil-China partnership

The state visit to China, April 12-15, by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, his fifth such visit and his first visit outside the Americas since the start of his third presidential term, was a complete success, characterised by the great warmth shared by the two countries and peoples as well as by their respective leaders. 

The high point of the visit was the formal talks between the two heads of state, which followed a grand welcoming ceremony, where the playing of a popular Brazilian song from the period of struggle against the pro-American military dictatorship, but which also refers to a new era, a concept intrinsic to Xi Jinping Thought, visibly moved at least one Brazilian minister to tears.

Welcoming President Lula, Xi Jinping acclaimed him as an old friend of China, who he was really happy to meet again. He once again expressed his sympathy for Lula’s recent illness, which had caused him to postpone his visit, as well as his appreciation that he had rescheduled so soon after his recovery. 

President Xi pointed out that China and Brazil are the two biggest developing countries and emerging markets in the Eastern and Western hemispheres. As comprehensive strategic partners, China and Brazil share extensive common interests. The overarching, strategic and global influence of China-Brazil relations continues to grow.

The two sides, Xi continued, need to deepen cooperation, steadily advance their major cooperation projects, and further unleash cooperation potential in agriculture, energy, infrastructure, space, aviation, innovation, and so on.

On regional and international issues, President Xi pledged China’s firm support for Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries to cement the sound momentum of peace, stability, independence, solidarity and development, advance regional integration and play a greater role in international affairs. China will work with Brazil to ensure the continued success of the China-CELAC [Community of Latin American and Caribbean States] Forum, take cooperation between China and LAC countries to a new level, and achieve common development. China will also work with Brazil to strengthen cooperation with MERCOSUR [Southern Common Market] and UNASUR [Union of South American Nations]. Facing global changes of a magnitude unseen in a century, China and Brazil are resolved to stand on the right side of history, practice true multilateralism, advocate the common values of humanity, work for a more just and equitable international governance system, truly safeguard the common interests of developing countries and international justice and equity, and build a community with a shared future for humanity.

Responding, President Lula said that his choice for his first visit outside the Americas since his return to the presidency reflects Brazil’s affection for China and commitment to Brazil-China relations. Brazil is committed to building closer relations with China from the strategic perspective of shaping a just and equitable international order. Noting his excellent visit to the Huawei research institute in Shanghai, where he met Chinese business representatives, President Lula expressed deep admiration for China’s 5G progress and his hope to expand Brazil-China cooperation in relevant fields. He believed deeper and greater cooperation with China would contribute to Brazil’s reindustrialisation, help address poverty and other issues and deliver benefits to the people.

On the crisis in Ukraine, both sides agreed that dialogue and negotiation is the only feasible way for settling it and that all efforts that are conducive to its peaceful resolution should be encouraged and supported. They appealed to more countries to play a constructive role for a political settlement.

Following their talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of 15 bilateral agreements on trade and investment, digital economy, scientific and technological innovation, information and communications, poverty reduction, quarantine, space and other areas. They also issued a Joint Statement Between the People’s Republic of China and the Federative Republic of Brazil on Deepening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The joint statement consists of 49 clauses covering the whole spectrum of bilateral relations as well as a number of other issues. In it, the two leaders called for deepening cooperation in such areas as poverty reduction, social development, and scientific and technological innovation, as well as expanding into new areas of cooperation such as environmental protection, tackling climate change, the low-carbon economy and the digital economy.

They affirmed the central role of the United Nations in the international system and supported the promotion of active discussions amongst BRICS members on the group’s expansion process.  China expressed its support to the Brazilian G20 Presidency, to begin on December 1 2023, seen as an opportunity to strengthen the priorities of developing countries within the group. Attention was also paid to the need to  strengthen bilateral cooperation in the area of environmental protection, combating climate change and the loss of biodiversity, promoting sustainable development and ways to speed up the transition to a low-carbon economy. And they agreed to deepen dialogue in the economic-financial area and to strengthen trade in local currencies.

The agreement noted that: “Faced with the return of the upward trajectory of people in a state of food insecurity in the world, the two parties recalled the successful experience of both countries in the fight against hunger and extreme poverty, and in the adoption of measures to facilitate low-income populations’ access to healthy eating. Given the commitment of both countries in eradicating hunger and extreme poverty at a global level and in line with the United Nations Decade for Family Farming (2019-2028), they recognised the central role of social policies and family farming for the combating of poverty and malnutrition. In this regard, they agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation. This will establish a joint work plan to address issues related to the fight against hunger and poverty and for rural development, including cooperation in policies and exchange of experiences aimed at improving income transfers, socio-economic inclusion and the sustainability of food production, whether through technical cooperation, adequate machinery, or renewable energy solutions adapted to small rural properties.”

Reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic, the statement affirmed that Chinese vaccines were instrumental in combating the pandemic in Brazil and contributed to saving millions of Brazilian lives.

The final clause of the agreement states that: “The parties recognised the full success of President Lula’s visit and the outstanding significance of this visit in the history of Brazil-China relations. President Lula thanked President Xi Jinping and the Chinese government and people for the warm welcome and great hospitality received during his visit to China and invited President Xi Jinping to make a State Visit to Brazil on an opportune date in 2024 to celebrate the 50 years of diplomatic relations between Brazil and China. President Xi Jinping expressed, with satisfaction, his gratitude for the invitation, and the parties will follow-up on it through diplomatic channels.” 

We reprint below a report on the talks between the two presidents and the full text of the joint statement. They originally appeared on the websites of the Chinese and Brazilian foreign ministries respectively.

President Xi Jinping Holds Talks with Brazilian President Lula da Silva

On the afternoon of 14 April, President Xi Jinping held talks with Brazilian President Lula da Silva, who is on a state visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People.

President Xi extended a warm welcome to President Lula. He pointed out that China and Brazil are the two biggest developing countries and emerging markets in the Eastern and Western hemispheres. As comprehensive strategic partners, China and Brazil share extensive common interests. The overarching, strategic and global influence of the China-Brazil relations continues to grow. China always views and develops relations with Brazil from a strategic and long-term perspective, and sees the relationship as a high priority on its diplomatic agenda. China will work with Brazil to create a new future for their relations in the new era, deliver greater benefits to the two peoples, and play an important and positive role for peace, stability and prosperity in their regions and around the world.

Continue reading Lula’s successful visit serves to deepen Brazil-China partnership

Chinese Ambassador visits Northern Ireland

In late March, Zheng Zeguang, China’s Ambassador to the UK, paid his first official visit to Northern Ireland. Despite strained relations between London and Beijing, this visit was a great success, with the Ambassador meeting a wide range of people from political, academic, business and other social circles, in  his two-city tour of Belfast and Derry.

On March 27, Ambassador Zheng met Sinn Féin’s Christina Black, the current Lord Mayor of Belfast. Mayor Black warmly welcomed the Ambassador and his delegation. She said that, in 2016, Belfast became a sister city of Shenyang, and since then the two sides have made positive progress in mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, education, and culture. Belfast has world-renowned universities and unique advantages in high-end manufacturing, green development, and many other areas. It is a city full of vitality, hope, and warmth. She was eagerly looking forward to unleashing the cooperation potential between China and Belfast through Ambassador Zheng’s visit, and welcomes more Chinese investors, students and tourists to come to Belfast.

Ambassador Zheng thanked the Lord Mayor for her warm hospitality. He said that during his visit to Belfast, he had a taste of the city’s historical heritage and unique political, economic, and cultural characteristics. The Ambassador expressed his hope for joint efforts of the two sides to promote mutual understanding, deepen friendship, and advance exchanges and cooperation.

Ambassador Zheng said that China is promoting high-quality development and will continue to pursue opening up at a higher level and accelerate green transformation. There is great potential for cooperation between China and Belfast on business, education, cultural exchanges, and tourism. It is hoped that Belfast and Shenyang will strengthen exchanges and cooperation as sister cities to bring more tangible benefits to the people of both sides.

Speaking on camera to China Daily after the meeting, Black said: “I have to say our relationship with China is fantastic.”

On being elected Lord Mayor in June last year, Councillor Black had said: “I love this city. I was born and raised here in a strong working-class community and I am immensely proud to be a Bealfeirstian…

“As a community activist, I am committed to empowering local people and communities, and making sure people have a strong voice on their side. It’s what inspired me to get involved in politics, and I am honoured to now be representing the city I love so much, as its First Citizen.”

Councillor Black said one of her priorities for her term in office was to showcase Belfast’s diversity, and support workers and families through the cost of living crisis. She said:

“I’m delighted to have this amazing opportunity. I’m passionate about this city and its people and I can’t wait to get out and meet new people and find out more about the amazing work that’s going on in communities right across our city. I will be Belfast’s biggest ambassador and will use my time in office to keep pushing forward priorities around the inclusive regeneration of our city.

“Belfast is a confident and thriving city with enormous untapped potential to prosper further. The opportunities for our city to grow are endless and working together we can seize them. During my term I want to be a positive voice for everyone in this wonderful city.”

The following day, Ambassador Zheng met with Alex Maskey, the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.  Maskey is a veteran leader of Sinn Féin who has devoted his whole life to the struggle for Irish freedom. He was interned without trial twice in the 1970s and survived two assassination attempts. 

The two had an in-depth exchange of views on enhancing cooperation between China and Northern Ireland in various fields.

Both sides believe that there is great potential for mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Northern Ireland and that fruitful results have been achieved at the China-UK/Northern Ireland Forum on New Energy Innovation. China and Northern Ireland should strengthen exchanges and dialogue, deepen mutual understanding, and actively expand cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, new energy, financial services, education, culture, and tourism, so as to better benefit their people.

On March 29, the Ambassador met with the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Sinn Féin’s Sandra Duffy. Mayor Duffy warmly welcomed Ambassador Zheng and his delegation and outlined the city’s development in recent years and its future plans. She said that Derry has a number of favourable conditions, such as its geographical advantage of connecting the European Union and the United Kingdom. It has identified new energy, digital economy, high-end manufacturing, financial services, and health as the key sectors for future development, and Chinese entrepreneurs are welcome to invest in the city. Derry and Dalian have carried out sister-city cooperation for five years, and the two sides have achieved positive results in mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, education, research and development, tourism, and culture. The city views China as an opportunity for development and looks forward to expanding exchanges and cooperation through the Ambassador’s visit.

Ambassador Zheng thanked Mayor Duffy for her warm hospitality, and expressed his hope that through his visit, mutual understanding between China and Northern Ireland will be enhanced and friendship and cooperation deepened. Although China-UK relations are currently facing some challenges, local practical cooperation has been growing steadily, which reflects the huge potential of cooperation between the two sides and the shared aspirations of the two peoples. China will continue to actively support Dalian and other Chinese cities to expand friendly exchanges and cooperation with Derry, especially to further tap into the potential for cooperation in areas such as economy and trade, education, culture, tourism, sports, new energy, and high-end manufacturing, so as to better benefit the people of both sides.

In her meeting with the Ambassador, the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Jayne Brady said that Northern Ireland has long-standing friendly exchanges with China and attaches great importance to developing relations with the country. Northern Ireland enjoys strong technological advantages in fields such as green economy, financial services, and food safety, and has the geographical advantage of being a bridge connecting the two major markets of the European Union and the United Kingdom. She welcomes Chinese companies to invest in Northern Ireland and hopes that hydrogen-powered buses, whiskey and other products from Northern Ireland can enter the Chinese market. Northern Ireland would also like to further expand exchanges and cooperation with China in education, culture, and tourism, among other areas.

Ambassador Zheng said that in recent years, China and Northern Ireland have carried out fruitful cooperation in economy and trade, education, culture, and other fields, bringing tangible benefits to both sides and that there are great potential and broad prospects for cooperation between the two sides in new energy innovation. China welcomes more high-quality products from Northern Ireland to enter the Chinese market and more friends to go to China, supports the cities and institutions of the two sides to strengthen partnerships, and encourages more two-way personnel exchanges, so as to transform the potential of cooperation into practical cooperation results and bring more benefits to the people of both sides.

Ambassador Zheng also visited Ulster University and Queens University Belfast. He commended Ulster University on its outstanding strength in teaching and research and the positive progress it had made in cooperation with Chinese universities. He also applauded Ulster University Confucius Institute for its important contributions to helping the people of Northern Ireland learn Chinese and understand Chinese history and culture, and to promoting educational cooperation between China and Northern Ireland.

Ambassador Zheng expressed hope for Ulster University to continue to take the lead in cooperation with China, strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Chinese universities, and leverage its complementary advantages to achieve mutual benefit. He also expressed best wishes for greater success of the Confucius Institute, and his hope that it will continue to provide world-class Chinese language teaching to students in Northern Ireland and make positive contributions to enhancing the friendship between the people of China and Northern Ireland.

Vice-Chancellor Paul Bartholomew said that Ulster University cherishes its cooperation with China and has established partnerships with many Chinese universities such as Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine and Shaanxi University of Science and Technology. The relevant cooperation continued uninterrupted even during COVID, which speaks fully to its resilience and strong will to cooperate with Chinese universities. Ulster University looks forward to further strengthening the cooperation, and welcomes more Chinese students to study at the university. Ulster University will continue to run the Confucius Institute well and play an active role in promoting educational cooperation and cultural exchanges between China and Northern Ireland.

Visiting Queen’s University Belfast, Vice-Chancellor Ian Greer said that his university attaches great importance to exchanges and cooperation with Chinese universities and welcomes more Chinese students to study at Queen’s. The university values China’s strength in research and huge potential of development and would like to further deepen cooperation with Chinese scientific research institutions. It was a great honour for him to co-host the China-UK/Northern Ireland Forum on New Energy Innovation with the Chinese Consulate General in Belfast. The forum was a meaningful trial to tap into complementary advantages for win-win results. It is hoped that the two sides will continue to explore and carry out mutually beneficial cooperation and contribute to green and low-carbon development in Northern Ireland and China.

Ambassador Zheng noted that Queen’s is a world-renowned university and stands out for its top-class teaching and research capacity. It is great to see that Queen’s has established cooperative relations with many Chinese universities. China is striving for high-quality development and supports technological innovation. It has a super-size market and unique advantages in ultra-large-scale application of emerging technologies. China is ready to encourage more universities to expand teaching and research cooperation with Queen’s and will encourage more Chinese students to choose it as their destination for studying overseas.

Addressing a welcome reception at the Chinese Consulate General in Belfast, Zheng said that his country will encourage more Chinese groups, enterprises, students and tourists to come to Northern Ireland, and believes that in Northern Ireland they will find a safe and friendly cultural environment and a fair and open business environment. We welcome people from all walks of life in Northern Ireland to visit China more often, and hope that the business community in Northern Ireland will expand into the Chinese market and share development opportunities through platforms such as the China International Fair for Trade in Services, the China International Import Expo, the Canton Fair, and the World Intelligence Congress.

At a press conference the Chinese Ambassador said:

“This is my first visit to Northern Ireland and Belfast. I enjoyed the visit so much. Regional cooperation is a very important component of state-to-state relations. The purpose of my visit is to enhance mutual understanding and promote friendship and cooperation. In the past two days, I had extensive exchanges with people from various sectors in Northern Ireland and discussed with them how best to expand cooperation in various fields between China and Northern Ireland. We all see a huge potential and are keen to broaden cooperation between the two sides. I feel very encouraged by it.

“This morning, I attended the China-UK/Northern Ireland Forum on New Energy Innovation, the first of this kind between China and the UK. The discussions were very productive, and in particular, there was a keen interest on both sides to work together to research and develop hydrogen energy and to put it into application. It is a very good example that China and Northern Ireland can conduct more dialogues and discussions in the traditional areas of investment, trade, education, cultural exchange, tourism, and sports, as well as new areas such as new energy, financial services, financial technology, biomedicine and creative industries. I am optimistic about the opportunities of cooperation between the two sides.”

Responding to a question from CGTN, he said:

“I do see the benefits of cooperation and exchanges between China and Northern Ireland already. In recent years, two-way trade and investment have kept growing, and there are about 2,000 Chinese students studying in Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University and other institutions. The Vice Chancellors of the two universities told me that they want to see more Chinese students coming to Northern Ireland and would like to have stronger cooperation in teaching and research with Chinese universities. The CEO of the corporation which invested and built the Titanic Museum told me that before the pandemic, there were so many Chinese tourists, and that she would love to see more Chinese tourists return to Northern Ireland and Belfast.

“It was an honour for me to have a meeting with Speaker Alex Maskey and talk to the representatives of political parties. I had a very good meeting with the head of the civil service Dr Brady as well. I feel encouraged by their positive attitude towards cooperation with China. I said to my friends here that Northern Ireland is a best kept secret. It is so beautiful, pure, and full of potential. I think in the months to come, you will see more delegations and tourists coming this way. We encourage people from all walks of life here to visit China as well. This cooperation certainly serves the interest of both sides.”

A reporter from Raidió Fáilte asked:Ambassador, on behalf of the Irish speaking community in Belfast, I want to welcome you, on your first visit to our city. Raidió Fáilte are currently working on a series of multi-cultural, multi-lingual projects, with your colleagues in the Confucius institute. In your opinion, how important are these collaborations, and would you like to see similar co-initiatives in the future?”

The Ambassador replied: The cooperation on Confucius Institutes is hugely important as it not only provides opportunities for students here to learn the Chinese language and to better appreciate the Chinese culture, but also helps facilitate cultural exchanges between the two sides.

“The Confucius Institute that I have visited is located at Ulster University. It is a big success, a model institute. It has the support of the British Council, the support of the University and the support of the Chinese Consulate General as well. It is so popular among the young students. I was able to meet with a group of ‘young ambassadors’. The students are speaking perfect Mandarin and they will obviously become citizens of the world. When they travel to China, do business with China, and make friends in China, it will be so easy to do so without language barrier. We will continue to support the teaching of the Chinese language and the Confucius Institutes here.”

Among the diplomatic and business representatives who accompanied Ambassador Zheng on his visit were those from the London offices of the China National Petroleum Corporation, China Construction Bank and the Agricultural Bank of China. Research agreements were signed between Queen’s University Belfast and various academic institutions in China covering hydrogen energy.

Earlier in March, the Republic of Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, who is also the leader of Ireland’s Green Party, visited China. Ryan, who previously visited China in 1987 and 2010, told the Irish Times prior to his visit:

“One of the main things I’m looking forward to in the visit is to be able to discuss some key issues around climate change and energy, and that’s part of a wider European-Chinese dialogue that is continuing. So, we have to, to a certain extent, put aside if there are other issues of real concern and make sure we do get cooperation, because the world would not be a safe place for anyone if we don’t make that progress on climate.”

Although the main focus of his trip was climate change, renewable energy and transport policy, with visits including those to a high-speed rail terminal and to solar technology companies, Minister Ryan also attended celebrations for Saint Patrick’s Day in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. In his Irish Times interview, he noted:

“In many ways, they [the Chinese] have a lead now when it comes to the new industrial revolution that’s taking place in clean energy technologies. The Chinese export 85 per cent of the batteries that are going to be used in electric vehicles. They export 80 per cent of the solar panels. So, they have an interest in terms of their own economic development. They have a real opportunity in this clean energy area. So, both for their need to protect their own people, but also to continue to maintain their advantage in clean energy, it makes sense for China to be progressive…

“Historically, China has looked to Ireland with interest in a disproportionate scale to our size for a variety of historical reasons, going right back to their inclusion in the United Nations and so on.”

Embedded below is a short video produced by China Daily on Ambassador Zheng Zeguang’s Northern Ireland visit.

China’s diplomacy furthers Yemen peace talks

Since the dramatic announcement from Beijing on March 10 that the hitherto bitterly estranged Middle Eastern neighbors, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, had agreed to reconcile as a result of Chinese mediation, the political map of the region has continued to evolve dramatically in a direction favorable to its countries and peoples and unfavorable to imperialism. 

On April 6, in a further development not flagged in advance, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang met in Beijing, both separately and in a trilateral meeting, with Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. Witnessed by their Chinese counterpart, the two ministers signed an agreement re-establishing their diplomatic relations with immediate effect, following up the agreement reached in principle the previous month. 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has accepted an invitation to visit Saudi Arabia and there is talk of future Saudi investment in Iran, which would constitute a significant blow to the US sanctions regime. 

In a related development, on April 2, Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia plans to invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to attend the Arab League Summit scheduled for May 19 in Riyadh. This follows a state visit by President Assad and his wife to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a visit by the Syrian Foreign Minister to Egypt.

Most dramatically, there seems to be a real prospect of an end to the terrible war, described by the United Nations as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, that has torn Yemen apart for the last nine years and of a lasting political solution in that country. With the assistance of Omani intermediaries, a Saudi delegation visited the Yemeni capital Sana’a in the first week of April for discussions with the Houthi resistance movement who control the capital and much of the country. On April 8, the outline of a peace process, starting with an 8-month ceasefire was announced. The Wall Street Journal commented: “The prospect of ending Yemen’s seemingly intractable conflict has advanced quickly since last month, when China brokered a détente between Saudi Arabia and Iran.” The paper further quoted Houthi spokesperson Mohammed al-Bukhaiti as saying:

“It is too early to say for sure that the negotiations in Sana’a will be successful, but it is clear that an atmosphere of peace hangs over the region, which gives cause for optimism and hope.”

Analyzing the Yemeni developments, Ryan Grim, writing in The Intercept, states: “What’s startling here is the apparent role of China — and complete absence of the US and President Joe Biden — in the deal-making.” 

He quotes Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft: “Biden promised to end the war in Yemen. Two years into his presidency, China may have delivered on that promise.”

Grim adds: “The US always backed Saudi Arabia  to the hilt and vociferously opposed the Houthis, who are backed by Iran. Now China has extracted concessions from the Saudis that made the cease-fire talks possible.”

Grim further cites the Wall Street Journal as reporting on April 6: “In an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this week, CIA Director William Burns expressed frustration with the Saudis, according to people familiar with the matter. He told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the US has felt blindsided by Riyadh’s rapprochement with Iran and Syria – countries that remain heavily sanctioned by the West – under the auspices of Washington’s global rivals.”

The editors of this website do not agree with all the premises of Grim’s article. Specifically, we believe that it over-emphasizes the degree to which it presents developments as representing some kind of defeat or setback for Saudi Arabia. Rather, we consider the main aspect of developments, far from constituting a zero sum game, as being in the interests and mutual benefit of all parties concerned. Most especially, we do not agree with the reference in the article’s conclusion to a “constellation of satellites”. No country is a satellite of China and China has no interest or desire to develop such relations. We nevertheless are pleased to reproduce the article below for its interesting information and mainly positive analysis.

THE WAR IN Yemen looks like it’s coming to an end. U.S. media reported on Thursday that a cease-fire extending through 2023 had been agreed to, but those reports also included Houthi denials. On Friday, Al Mayadeen, a generally pro-Houthi Lebanese news outlet, reported optimism from the Houthi side that the deal is real and the war is winding down. Reuters later on Friday matched Al Mayadeen’s reporting, confirming that Saudi envoys will be traveling to Sana’a to discuss the terms of a “permanent ceasefire.”

What’s startling here is the apparent role of China — and complete absence of the U.S. and President Joe Biden — in the deal-making.

“Biden promised to end the war in Yemen. Two years into his presidency, China may have delivered on that promise,” said Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. “Decades of militarized American foreign policy in the Middle East have enabled China to play the role of peacemaker while Washington is stuck and unable to offer much more than arms deals and increasingly unconvincing security assurances.”

The U.S. always backed Saudi Arabia to the hilt and vociferously opposed the Houthis, who are backed by Iran. Now China has extracted concessions from the Saudis that made the cease-fire talks possible. The Saudis seem like they are fully capitulating to the Houthi demands, which include opening the major port to allow critical supplies into the country, allowing flights into Sana’a, and allowing the government to have access to its currency to pay its workers and stabilize the economy. Reasonable stuff.

“The Saudi concessions — including a potential lifting of the blockade and exit from the war — demonstrate that their priority is to protect Saudi territory from attack and focus on economic development at home,” said Erik Sperling, executive director of Just Foreign Policy, which has been working for an end to the war in Yemen for years. “This diverges from the approach preferred by many Washington foreign policy elites who continued to hope that the Saudi war and blockade could force the Houthis to make concessions and cede more power to the U.S.-backed Yemeni ‘government.’”

Continue reading China’s diplomacy furthers Yemen peace talks

Palestinian delegation visits China

The long-term friendship and solidarity between China and Palestine has again been reaffirmed by the recent visit of a delegation of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF) headed by its General Secretary Ahmed Majdalani. Founded in 1967, the PPSF is a major organisation  of the Palestinian resistance.

Meeting the delegation on March 30, Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC), stated that the friendship between China and Palestine is determined by the shared history of both sides and is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. Over the past half century and more, the two sides have always firmly supported each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests. Regardless of the changes in international and regional situations, the Chinese side firmly supports the Palestinian people’s just cause of restoring their legitimate national rights and always stands with the Palestinian people.

Majdalani said there is deep friendship between the political parties, governments, and peoples of Palestine and China, and the Popular Struggle Front has maintained regular contact with the CPC for many years. The Palestinian side adheres to the One China principle, firmly supports China’s position on issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea, and supports China in addressing various challenges in the changing world. The Palestinian side congratulates on the successful China-Arab States Summit and China’s successful promotion of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and supports and welcomes China’s greater role in the security and stability of the Middle East. The Popular Struggle Front attaches great importance to its comradely relations with the CPC and actively responds to the series of initiatives proposed by General Secretary Xi Jinping.

The same day, Majdalani, who is also Palestine’s Minister of Social Development, met with Vice Foreign Minister Deng Li, who welcomed his visit to China and said that China and Palestine are good brothers and good partners, adding that China firmly supports the Palestinian people’s just cause to restore legitimate national rights, and always stands together with the Palestinian people. China will, as always, provide Palestine with humanitarian and development assistance.

Majdalani highly appreciated China for upholding a just position and playing an important role on the Palestinian question, and thanked China for firmly supporting the Palestinian people’s just cause and providing Palestine with long-term and precious support and help.

The next day, the IDCPC hosted a forum on the ‘Common Progress of Civilisations of China and Palestine’ in the southern city of Nanjing. Speaking at the forum, Majdalani thanked the Chinese side for always firmly supporting the just cause of the Palestinian people. He added that the Palestinian side highly appreciates the Global Civilization Initiative proposed by General Secretary Xi Jinping, and is willing to join hands with the Chinese side to promote their respective modernization through exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations.

The following articles were originally carried on the websites of the IDCPC and the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Additionally, articles on their China visit can be read on the PPSF website.

Liu Jianchao Meets a Delegation of the Popular Struggle Front of Palestine

Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, met here today with a delegation of the Popular Struggle Front of Palestine headed by Ahmed Majdalani, Secretary General of the Popular Struggle Front of Palestine.

Liu stated that the friendship between China and Palestine is determined by the shared history of both sides and deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. Over the past half century and more, the two sides have always firmly supported each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests. In December of last year, President Xi Jinping and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas successfully held a meeting, which charted the course for the development of bilateral relations. The CPC attaches great importance to developing friendly relations with the Popular Struggle Front and is willing to take the opportunity of the joint celebration of the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative to implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, strengthen experience exchanges on state governance and administration and strategic communication, enhance cooperation and inject new momentum into the development of China-Palestine relations through inter-party channels.

Continue reading Palestinian delegation visits China

Xi’s visit to Russia: a journey of friendship, cooperation and peace

Following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Russia, March 20-22, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who accompanied the President, briefed the press crew on its results.

This detailed briefing is significant not only for its summation of the visit but more especially for its careful and profound exposition of the thinking behind it within the overall context of Chinese foreign policy and assessment of the international situation.

The visit, Qin Gang explained, was an important decision made by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core from the perspectives of the overall situation. The changes unseen in a century have been accelerated and the international structures of power have undergone profound adjustments. The historical trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation is unstoppable, while hegemonism, unilateralism and protectionism rampage, the Cold War mentality and bloc politics resurface, and the competition between the two trends and two paths has become more fierce. The world is entering a new period of turbulence and changes. As two major countries in the world and permanent member states of the United Nations Security Council, how the China-Russia relationship goes bears on global strategic stability and security, as well as the future evolution of the world landscape. The more complex the international situation is, the more necessary it is for China and Russia to strengthen communication and coordination.

Qin Gang said that 10 years ago, President Xi Jinping, when delivering a speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, proposed for the first time the vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity. Over the past 10 years, the vision has gained support from a growing number of countries. The evolution of the international situation has proven once again that only in sharing weal and woe and helping each other in solidarity and coordination will every country be able to help resolve global challenges facing humanity.

Clearly taking aim at imperialist propaganda against China, Russia and other anti-imperialist, independent countries, and particularly at US President Biden’s farcical “summit for democracy” held last week, Qin Gang noted that the principal contradiction in today’s world is not at all a so-called “democracy versus autocracy” contest hyped up by certain countries, but a struggle between development and containment of development, and between justice and power politics. In the face of rampant unilateralism and hegemonism, it is all the more valuable for China and Russia to consolidate and strengthen strategic coordination. China and Russia are committed to promoting a multipolar world and greater democracy in international relations, which meets the demand for upholding international fairness and justice.

It was Moscow, he said, that was President Xi Jinping’s first overseas visit destination after he took office as Chinese President in 2013. Ten years on, President Xi Jinping once again chose Russia as his first overseas destination in a new term of office. It was by no means a coincidence, but a political choice made after careful consideration.  China and Russia are each other’s biggest neighbor, and are committed to no-alliance, no-confrontation and not targeting any third party in developing the bilateral relationship.

Qin Gang said, this visit comes as the Ukraine crisis is prolonged and escalated with its spillover effect continually surfacing. Most countries are deeply concerned and call for easing tensions, and there are more and more voices for ceasefire, peace and rationality. Recently, with the promotion and support of China, Saudi Arabia and Iran had successful talks in Beijing and decided to beat swords into plowshares, restoring their diplomatic relations. The international community highly values the Saudi Arabia-Iran talks as fully demonstrating that China is a fair, impartial, trustworthy and responsible major country, and expects China to play a greater role in solving regional hotspot issues. Since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, China has taken an objective and impartial position and actively promoted peace talks. 

During this visit, President Xi Jinping and President Putin had an in-depth and candid exchange on the Ukraine crisis. President Xi Jinping pointed out, a review of history shows that basically conflicts have to be settled through dialogue and negotiation. The more difficulties there are, the greater the need to keep space for peace. The more acute the problem is, the more important it is not to give up efforts for dialogue. As long as all parties embrace the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and pursue equal-footed, rational and results-oriented dialogue and consultation, they will find a reasonable way to resolve the Ukraine crisis. The Russian side highly praised China’s objective, impartial and balanced position, and said that Russia has carefully studied China’s position paper, and is open to talks for peace. Russia welcomes China to play a constructive role in this regard.

Foreign Minister Qin noted that  China was not the one creating the Ukraine crisis, nor a party to the crisis. Instead, China is an advocate of the political settlement of the crisis and a promoter of peace talks. Certain countries, out of selfish geopolitical interests, have done everything possible to obstruct peace talks, and even fabricated all kinds of rumors and fallacies to attack and smear China. But justice lies in the heart of people. Who is fanning the flames and fueling the fight? Who is promoting peace talks? These are all facts witnessed by the whole world. China’s position is clear-cut and consistent. Between peace and war, we choose peace. Between dialogue and sanctions, we choose dialogue. Between lowering the temperature and fanning the flames, we choose the former. China does not have selfish political interests or engage in geopolitical manipulation. Instead, China is sincerely committed to promoting peace talks and a ceasefire. 

We reprint below the full text of the briefing. It was originally published on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

From March 20 to 22, 2023, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Russia at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Upon wrapping up the trip, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang briefed the accompanying press crew on the visit.

Qin Gang said that as China’s “two sessions” have just successfully concluded, President Xi Jinping paid the state visit to Russia, raising the new curtain on China’s head-of-state diplomacy for this year. At this special time of complex situations, the visit was substantive with rich connotations  and fruitful outcomes. The visit was an important decision made by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core from the perspectives of the overall situation of national development and the general picture of diplomatic strategies, and it showcased China’s resolute commitment to an independent foreign policy of peace and an open mind to promote world peace. The visit has been closely followed internationally and it is commonly  believed that President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia is an event of far-reaching significance for global geopolitics, shows China’s international image as a peace builder, demonstrates China’s role and responsibility as a responsible major country, and will inject more stability into complicated international situations and conduce to promoting a multi-polar world and greater democracy in international relations.

I. Stay committed to independence and defend international fairness and justice

Qin Gang said that the changes unseen in a century have been accelerated and the international structures of power have undergone profound adjustments. The historical trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation is unstoppable, while hegemonism, unilateralism and protectionism rampage, the Cold War mentality and bloc politics resurface, and the competition between the two trends and two paths has been more fierce. The world is entering a new period of turbulence and changes. As the two major countries in the world and permanent member states of the United Nations Security Council, how the China-Russia relationship goes  bears on global strategic stability and security, as well as the future evolution of the world landscape. The more complex the international situation is, the more necessary it is for China and Russia to strengthen communication and coordination.

Continue reading Xi’s visit to Russia: a journey of friendship, cooperation and peace

China, Vietnam to uphold and develop socialist democracy

Relations between the socialist neighbors of China and Vietnam have continued to move forward on a warm and comradely basis since Comrade Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, became the first foreign leader to visit Beijing following the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last October.

On March 28, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang held a telephone conversation with his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son, marking the 15th anniversary of the conclusion of a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement between the two countries.

Calling China and Vietnam comrades and brothers, Qin said the Chinese side appreciates Vietnam for giving top priority to its relations with China in its foreign policy. China also views and develops its relations with Vietnam from a strategic and long-term perspective, he noted.

The Vietnamese Foreign Minister said that his country has always supported China’s development and growth, appreciated China’s positive contributions to regional and global peace, stability and prosperity, and firmly believed that China will realize the Second Centenary Goal as scheduled and build a great modern socialist country with Chinese characteristics, adding that Vietnam is willing to work with China to promote the “comradely and brotherly” traditional friendship between the two countries.

The previous day, Zhao Leji, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, who was recently elected Chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee at its annual meeting, had a video call with the Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue.

Zhao said that China and Vietnam are friendly socialist neighbors, adding that China is ready to work with Vietnam to consolidate the traditional friendship, adhere to high-level strategic guidance, strengthen strategic communication, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, cement public support for the friendship between the two countries, commit to the path of socialism suited to their respective national conditions, and build a China-Vietnam community with a shared future that bears strategic significance.

China’s whole-process people’s democracy is a new form of political civilization created by the people under the leadership of the CPC, Zhao said, adding that China is willing to work with Vietnam to uphold and develop socialist democracy, and to showcase the advantages and bright prospects of the socialist system.

Vuong Dinh Hue, who is also a Political Bureau member of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Committee, said that Vietnam regards developing relations with China as a strategic choice and the top priority of its foreign policy and firmly adheres to the One-China policy.

The following articles were originally carried by the Xinhua News Agency.

Chinese, Vietnamese FMs vow to promote bilateral ties to new level

Xinhua, 28 March 2023

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son on Tuesday vowed to take the 15th anniversary of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between their countries as an opportunity to lift bilateral ties to a new level.

In their phone talk, they also pledged to strengthen strategic communication, consolidate mutual political trust, and enhance exchanges at all levels and in various fields.

Calling China and Vietnam comrades and brothers, Qin said the Chinese side appreciates Vietnam for giving top priority to its relations with China in its foreign policy, and for being among the first to send a warm and friendly congratulatory message to the new Chinese leaders.

China also views and develops its relations with Vietnam from a strategic and long-term perspective, Qin noted, adding that the Chinese side stands ready to work with Vietnam to well implement the strategic consensus reached by top leaders of the two parties, strengthen the top-level design of practical cooperation, and deepen the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and Vietnam’s “Two Corridors and One Economic Circle” plan.

Continue reading China, Vietnam to uphold and develop socialist democracy

Rapid progress of China-Honduras relations

Friendly relations between China and Honduras are already making rapid progress since the two countries established diplomatic relations on March 26, with President Xiomara Castro expected to visit Beijing soon.

Meeting Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina on March 27, Chinese Vice President Han Zheng conveyed President Xi Jinping’s cordial greetings and best wishes to his Honduran counterpart.  President Xi attaches great importance to China-Honduras relations and welcomes President Castro to visit China as soon as possible to jointly draw up a blueprint for bilateral relations, Han said. He also stressed that China welcomes Honduras to join the Belt and Road and is willing to enhance coordination and cooperation in international affairs, and jointly safeguard the interests of developing countries.

For his part, Minister Reina conveyed President Castro’s sincere greetings to Xi Jinping and said she is willing to visit China as soon as possible. Honduras, he said, intended to learn from China’s successful development experience and deepen practical cooperation with China to benefit the two peoples.

The previous day, Reina and his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang jointly met the press after signing the agreement to establish diplomatic relations. Qin Gang said that, with the establishment of diplomatic relations, China stands ready to work with Honduras on the basis of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development so as to lose no time in actively carrying out friendly exchanges at all levels and practical cooperation in various fields, so as to benefit the two countries and two peoples. China welcomes President Xiomara Castro’s visit to China at an early date and invites Honduras to organize a delegation of entrepreneurs to China to discuss cooperation in trade, tourism, investment and more. China-Honduras relations have set sail, Qin noted.

Reina said that the establishment of diplomatic relations between Honduras and China is a historic step that has ushered in a new era for the benefit of the people of the two countries. Honduras is ready to strengthen cooperation with China in such areas as finance, trade, infrastructure, science and technology, culture, and tourism, and to increase communication and coordination within multilateral frameworks. Honduras stays committed to safeguarding national sovereignty and dignity, the principle of non-interference in internal affairs and the people’s right to self-determination, and the establishment of diplomatic relations with China is in line with these principles. He thanked the Chinese side for inviting President Castro to visit China and expressed confidence that this visit will benefit the two peoples as well as all humanity.

The following articles were originally published on the websites of the Xinhua News Agency and the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Chinese vice president meets Honduran foreign minister

Chinese Vice President Han Zheng met with Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina on Monday in Beijing.

Han conveyed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s cordial greetings and best wishes to Honduran President Xiomara Castro.

President Xi Jinping attaches great importance to China-Honduras relations and welcomes President Castro to visit China as soon as possible to jointly draw a blueprint for bilateral relations, Han said.

The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Honduras meets the trend of the times, and is in line with the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples, Han said.

China stands ready to work with Honduras to carry out exchanges concerning state governance, and welcomes Honduras to join the Belt and Road cooperation to turn complementary strengths into the energy of comprehensive cooperation, he added.

China is willing to work with Honduras to enhance coordination and cooperation in international affairs, jointly safeguard the interests of developing countries and build a community with a shared future for humanity, said Han.

Continue reading Rapid progress of China-Honduras relations

China and Honduras formally establish diplomatic relations

On Sunday March 26, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Honduras formally established diplomatic relations. Meeting in Beijing, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang and his Honduran counterpart Eduardo Enrique Reina signed a joint communiqué, in which the two countries announced that they had decided to recognize each other and establish relations at the ambassadorial level. 

Agreeing to exchange Ambassadors as soon as possible, the Chinese Foreign Ministry reported:

“The two Governments agree to develop friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.

“The Government of the Republic of Honduras recognizes that there is but one China in the world, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal Government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory.”

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson added: “Honduras is an important country in Central America. The Government of Honduras chooses to stand with 181 countries in the world, recognize and undertake to adhere to the one-China principle, sever the so-called ‘diplomatic relations’ with Taiwan, establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, and undertake that Honduras shall no longer develop any official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan. This is the right choice that is in line with the prevailing trend and supported by the people. China highly appreciates that.”

Honduran President Xiomara Castro indicated in a tweet on March 1 that she had instructed her foreign minister to negotiate the establishment of relations with the People’s Republic of China. This fulfils a promise she made during her election campaign in 2021. However, the United States exerted tremendous pressure on Honduras not to establish ties with Beijing, overtly threatening the impoverished nation with a loss of aid and the imposition of sanctions. Following President Castro’s March 1 announcement, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken dispatched a delegation to the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, seeking to strongarm the government into reversing its decision. On March 17, speaking in the Nigerien capital Niamey, part of an African tour designed to counter the continent’s growing friendship with both China and Russia, Blinken himself referred to the planned Honduran move, insisting that “Taiwan has a lot to offer.”

Following the announcement from Beijing, the US State Department sourly responded: “Regardless of Honduras’ decision, the US will continue to deepen and expand our engagement with Taiwan.” The (governmental) American Institute in Taiwan added that it “strongly encouraged” all countries to do the same. And US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez issued this sinister warning: “Honduras’ decision to align with Beijing will have implications lasting long beyond the current leadership.”

Honduras’ brave decision, in the face of such pressure and bullying, leaves just 12 members of the United Nations (along with the Holy See/Vatican City State) maintaining so-called diplomatic relations with the province of Taiwan. Going beyond the scope of bilateral relations, this move will also considerably strengthen the already thriving relations between socialist China and progressive Latin America as a whole. Honduras is also set to reap considerable economic benefits. China’s investment in the development of Honduras’ hydroelectric power, ports and a possible interoceanic railway have already been under active consideration and discussion for some time.

The following articles were originally published on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Honduras Establish Diplomatic Relations

26 March 2023

On 26 March 2023, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang held talks with Foreign Minister of Honduras Eduardo Reina in Beijing, and they signed the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations Between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Honduras. The main points of the communiqué are as follows:

The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Honduras, in keeping with the interests and desire of the two peoples, have decided to recognize each other and establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level, effective from the date of signature of this communiqué.

The two Governments agree to develop friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.

The Government of the Republic of Honduras recognizes that there is but one China in the world, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal Government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Government of the Republic of Honduras shall sever “diplomatic relations” with Taiwan as of this day and undertakes that it shall no longer develop any official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan. The Government of the People’s Republic of China appreciates this position of the Government of the Republic of Honduras.

Continue reading China and Honduras formally establish diplomatic relations

Joint statements of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation

Following extensive talks on March 21 between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Chinese leader’s Moscow visit, the two heads of state signed two important joint statements that will guide their bilateral relations for the coming period.

According to the Joint Statement of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era:

“The two sides pointed out that China-Russia relations are not a military-political alliance similar to the Cold War era, but go beyond this model of state-to-state relations and have the nature of non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-targeting of third countries. The relationship between China and Russia is mature, stable, independent, and tenacious…The friendship between the two peoples from generation to generation has a solid foundation, and all-round cooperation between the two countries has broad prospects. Russia needs a prosperous and stable China, and China needs a strong and successful Russia. China and Russia regard each other as priority partners, always respect each other and treat each other as equals, becoming a model for today’s relations between major countries.”

It went on to note that, “the two sides pointed out that each country has the right to independently choose its development path due to its own history, culture, and national conditions. There is no superior ‘democracy’, and the two sides oppose the imposition of their own values, the demarcation of ideology, the hypocritical narrative of so-called ‘democracy against authoritarianism’, and the use of democracy and freedom as an excuse and political tool to put pressure on other countries. Russia attaches great importance to China’s Global Civilization Initiative.”

The joint statement then addressed the whole gamut of bilateral relations in detail, in the course of which it noted that:

“The two sides will forge a closer energy partnership, support companies to advance energy cooperation projects in oil and gas, coal, electricity, nuclear energy, etc., and promote initiatives that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the use of low-emission energy and renewable energy. The two sides will jointly safeguard international energy security, including critical cross-border infrastructure, maintain the stability of the energy product industry chain and supply chain, promote a fair energy transition and low-carbon development based on the principle of technology neutrality, and jointly contribute to the long-term healthy and stable development of the global energy market.

The statement also dealt with principles of international relations and a range of global issues, with the two countries reaffirming, “their commitment to firmly uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order based on international law and the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,” and opposing,  “all forms of hegemonism, unilateralism and power politics, the Cold War mentality, camp confrontation and small circles targeting specific countries.”

They “stressed the importance of the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States on the Prevention of Nuclear War and the Avoidance of an Arms Race and reaffirmed that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must not be fought’. The two sides call on all signatories to the Joint Statement to follow the concept of the Statement in order to effectively reduce the risk of nuclear war and avoid any armed conflict between nuclear-weapon States. In the context of the deterioration of relations between nuclear-weapon States, measures to reduce strategic risks should be organically integrated into the overall effort to reduce tensions, build more constructive relations and resolve contradictions in the field of security to the greatest extent.” In a reference clearly directed at the United States, the Chinese and Russian Presidents noted that: “All nuclear-weapon States should refrain from deploying nuclear weapons outside their territories and should withdraw their nuclear weapons deployed outside their territories.”

They further “expressed serious concern about the consequences and risks to regional strategic stability of the Trilateral Security Partnership (AUKUS) established by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia and related nuclear-powered submarine cooperation plans. The two sides strongly urge AUKUS member states to strictly comply with their obligations on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery and to maintain regional peace, stability, and development.

And: “The two sides reaffirmed that the Biological Weapons Convention should be fully adhered to and continuously strengthened, institutionalized and concluded with a legally binding protocol with an effective verification mechanism. The two sides expressed grave concern over the bio-military activities of the United States that seriously threaten other countries and undermine the security of the relevant regions within or outside its territory and requested the United States to clarify in this regard, refrain from carrying out all biological activities that violate the Biological Weapons Convention, and no longer obstruct the establishment of a compliance verification mechanism within the framework of the Convention.”

They also affirmed their commitment, “to the goal of a world free of chemical weapons and express deep concern over the politicization of the OPCW. [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] The two sides urged the United States, as the only State party that has not completed the destruction of chemical weapons, to accelerate the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles, and urged Japan to complete the destruction of abandoned chemical weapons in China as soon as possible.”

On the conflict in Ukraine: “The Russian side spoke positively of China’s objective and fair position on the Ukraine issue. The two sides oppose any country or group of countries seeking military, political, or other superiority that harms the legitimate security interests of other countries. The Russian side reiterated its commitment to resuming peace talks as soon as possible, and China appreciates this. The Russian side welcomes China’s willingness to play an active role in resolving the Ukrainian crisis through political and diplomatic means, and welcomes the constructive propositions set out in the document ‘China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukrainian Crisis’. The two sides pointed out that the solution to the Ukraine crisis must respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries and prevent the formation of camp confrontation and add fuel to the fire. The two sides stressed that responsible dialogue is the best way to resolve the issue steadily. To that end, the international community should support relevant constructive efforts. The two sides call on all parties to stop all actions that contribute to the tense situation and the prolongation of the fighting to prevent the crisis from worsening or even getting out of control. The two sides oppose any unilateral sanctions not authorized by the UN Security Council.”

Turning to the tense situation in Northeast Asia, China and Russia, “oppose the undermining of regional peace and stability by extraterritorial military forces and call on relevant countries to abandon the Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice, exercise restraint and refrain from taking actions that endanger regional security…The US side should respond to the legitimate and reasonable concerns of the DPRK with concrete actions to create conditions for the resumption of dialogue.”

On the Middle East, they, “welcomed the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran through dialogue and supported a comprehensive and just settlement of the Palestinian issue on the basis of the two-state solution. We support Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and promote a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political settlement package.”

In the much shorter Joint Statement by the President of the People’s Republic and the President of the Russian Federation on the development plan for key directions of Sino-Russian economic cooperation until 2030, Xi and Putin laid out eight points, the fourth of which concerned energy and stated that their countries should:

“Consolidate the all-round energy partnership. Strengthen long-term cooperation in key energy areas, promote the implementation of strategic cooperation projects, expand cooperation forms, strengthen cooperation in energy technology, equipment, and other fields, jointly safeguard the energy security of the two countries and the world, and promote global energy transformation.”

The document also specified a number of other areas in which cooperation should be developed.

We reprint below the full texts of both documents, based on machine translation from the Chinese language original as published on the website of China’s Foreign Ministry. This translation has been lightly edited by us.

Joint statement of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era

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At the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China paid a state visit to the Russian Federation from March 20-22, 2023. The two heads of state held talks in Moscow. President Xi Jinping also met with Prime Minister Mishustin of the Government of the Russian Federation.

The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation (hereinafter referred to as “the Parties”), declare the following:

One

With the unremitting efforts of both sides, the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the new era has reached the highest level in history and has continued to develop. The two sides reaffirmed the development of bilateral relations in accordance with the principles and spirit set forth in the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation signed on July 7, 2001, the Joint Statement of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on the 16th Anniversary of the Signing of the Sino-Russian Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation issued on June 6, 2021,  and the Joint Statement of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on International Relations and Global Sustainable Development in the New Era issued on February 4, 2022.

Continue reading Joint statements of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation

What does the Beijing-brokered Saudi-Iran deal mean for the Middle East and the world?

In this useful article for the Morning Star, Steve Bell provides a detailed analysis of the China-brokered agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic relations.

Steve observes that “the Chinese mediation demonstrates the relative decline of US influence and the features of multipolar politics in the region.” China’s foreign policy – based on non-interference, respect for sovereignty, and mutual benefit – has resulted in positive economic and diplomatic relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia. Since China consistently pursues peace and cooperation, and grounds itself firmly in the principles of the UN Charter, it is increasingly recognised as a trustworthy and valuable partner in addressing complex geopolitical problems. Steve writes that “China’s diplomacy has secured an agreement which foreshadows a new period of world history. One where the multipolar world is an undeniable fact, to the great benefit of the planet’s population.”

The article also discusses the impact of the agreement on the wider West Asian region. Improved relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia can be expected to improve prospects for the rebuilding of Iraq and Syria, and for ending the horrific suffering being faced by the people of Yemen. The agreement could also positively impact the pursuit of Palestinian national rights.

THE agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic relations is to be greatly welcomed.

Diplomatic relations broke down in January 2016, when Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran. This followed the Saudi regime’s execution of prominent Shi’ite cleric, Sheikh Nimr Bagir al-Nimr.

There have been serious attempts to resolve the breakdown. The Iraqi government has facilitated five rounds of talks since April 2021, and the Omani regime has also been helping.

The breakthrough came in Beijing, where five days of negotiation, hosted and assisted by the Chinese government, resulted in success.

The agreement resumes diplomatic relations, with embassies and missions to reopen within two months. It respects the sovereignty of states and pledges non-interference in national affairs of state.

The ministers of foreign affairs will meet to arrange the return of ambassadors and discuss means of enhancing bilateral ties.

Both sides agreed to implement a previously signed co-operation agreement of 1998 and a security co-operation agreement signed in 2001. These had been signed during the tenure of president Mohammad Khatami, but not effectively acted upon.

Continue reading What does the Beijing-brokered Saudi-Iran deal mean for the Middle East and the world?

Securing US global primacy: how the US prepares for war on China

In this detailed essay, British author and peace campaigner Jenny Clegg provides a comprehensive overview of the US drive to war against China.

Jenny describes the attempts being made to construct a Global NATO, leveraging AUKUS, the remilitarisation of Japan, the undermining of the One China Principle and the prolonging of the Ukraine crisis in order to link the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific theatres of war. Britain and Japan are emerging as the most important partners in this phenomenally dangerous strategy which, taken as a whole, constitutes “a historic restructuring of the international security order: strengthening of the NATO transatlantic military axis against Russia whilst elevating the US-Japan trans-pacific military axis at the core of newly created regional NATO-like multilateral security frame.”

The aim of this strategy is, of course, “to contain the growing multipolar trend”.

We must build a formidable global opposition to this warmongering. Thanks to an already-developing multipolarity, countries of the Global South are “starting to wake up to the real nature of US intentions”, and as such “a non-aligned resistance is taking shape”, with these countries asserting their sovereignty and interests. For anti-war activists in the West meanwhile, as we recall the historic protests against the Iraq War 20 years ago, Jenny writes that the task of playing our part in a worldwide mass movement for peace will require us to “resist the insidious influence of imperialism permeating through social democracy”.

The trajectory of war: Iraq then, China now?

Back in September 2002, Dan Plesch wrote an article in the Guardian entitled ‘Iraq first, Iran and China next’.  Less than a year earlier, George W. Bush had put China on a nuclear ‘hit list’ along with Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and North Korea. Twenty years on, it seems China’s turn has arrived, now identified as ‘America’s most consequential geopolitical challenge’.

Iraq was a turning point for the world as Bush ‘seized the unipolar moment’: ‘shock and awe’ and ‘full spectrum dominance’ in air, land, sea and space presaged a new militarism to secure US global primacy; and, blatantly displacing the UN on the pretext of ‘humanitarian intervention’, the US found a new means of rallying allies in a ‘coalition of the willing’, embedding key NATO partners into ‘out of area’ operations.

All this was in line with the neocons’ Project for a New American Century which had advocated for the US pursuit of hegemony through the preeminence of its military forces.

As Plesch foresaw, the 2003 war set precedents to be used against other states that stood up against US global control.  US militarism has advanced into ‘air sea battle’ plans to wipe out multiple cities across China at a single strike, with trillions of dollars sunk into upgrading ‘full spectrum dominance’ capabilities; ‘humanitarian intervention’ has evolved into a New Cold War of ‘democracies against autocracies’ edging the UN further aside.  And now, using the Ukraine war to subjugate Europe and weaken Russia, the US is starting to assemble a new ‘coalition of the willing’ in the ‘defence of Taiwan’, ordering the global security architecture anew as it sets the stage for a new war on China.

But much has also changed over twenty years with the rise of China and the emergence of a multipolar world: as the economic balance shifts from West to East, countries in the Global South are not so easily influenced to follow US leadership.

What does China want?

US political elites have convinced themselves that China is bent on global hegemony.  Despite Xi Jinping’s assurances to Biden that China ‘has no intention to challenge or displace the United States’, they revert to racialised stereotypes of the Chinese as inveterate liars – recall the words of the popular 1880s music hall song: ‘for ways that are dark and tricks that are vain, the Heathen China is peculiar’ – rather than face history.[1]

That China was its ally in WW2 is something the West conveniently forgets. KMT Nationalist and Communist armies successfully blocked the bulk of the Japanese forces from advancing west, a vital contribution recognised by Churchill and Roosevelt when they signed, with Chiang Kaishek, the 1943 Cairo Agreement.  This stipulated that the territories seized by Japan from China, including Taiwan, be restored, and that Japan be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific seized or occupied since 1914.

As one of the allies, China took part in the establishment of the United Nations, assuming a permanent seat on the Security Council.  But the UN order as based on the Cairo Agreement, confirmed in the 1945 Potsdam Declaration, was not to be.  Instead, the Japan peace settlement was determined at the behest of the US by the 1951 San Francisco Conference from which both the PRC and RoC (Republic of China) and the two sides of the Korean war were excluded, with the USSR refusing to attend.  US power came to prevail over the Pacific through a series of bilateral alliances and an extensive array of US military bases.[2] 

Despite political improvements over time – the PRC regained the UN seat,the US and China established official ‘One China’ ties, the USSR and China reached their own peace deals with Japan – the US-dominated military pattern remained and a number of territorial issues covered by the WW2 agreements affecting the USSR/Russia as well as China were left to fester.

What China wants is to see the promise of the Yalta of the East system realised through reunification with Taiwan and from this the construction of a cooperative security arrangement for the Pacific together with the US.

Militarising the Indo-Pacific

US control over the Pacific was never complete in the face of the armed resistance of the peoples of China, Korean and Indo-China and the non-aligned leanings of South East Asia states.  The US was never satisfied.

Today, claiming the Russian invasion of Ukraine ‘raises the spectre of a Chinese takeover of Taiwan’, the US is creating a new militarised order for the Indo-Pacific.  Increasing its own military capabilities to hem in China’s coastline and reinforce control across the wider oceans, the US is at the same time upgrading the key regional axis of power, its alliance with Japan, now elevated into a major military player.  Taking the Japan alliance and AUKUS as the core, the US is attempting to pull together a group of militarily committed powers covering the whole Pacific to oppose China.

Where previously the US pursuit of a ‘free and open’ Indo-Pacific has focused on the South China Sea, the prospect of a war over Taiwan has become the new focus.

The US is now reinforcing its force structure across the region, increasing manoeuvrability along the first island chain and plugging the gaps in this arc of alliances and bases from Japan in the North stretching down to the Philippines in the South.  The US has now secured agreement with the Philippines for four new bases, three in the Northern island of Luzon, within striking distance of Taiwan. Meanwhile under the terms of the new Japan alliance, the US Okinawa base north of Taiwan is being strengthened whilst the Japanese island of Mage is being rebuilt to serve US forces.  A new base is opening in Guam, the first in decades and a US nuclear submarine base is under construction in Australia.[3]

However it is the rehabilitation of Japan as a military power that is the biggest change in the region’s security pattern just as the US shifts its primary focus to the China challenge.

Japan also now identifies China as the main strategic challenge under a new National Security Strategy, the only US ally to do so. With the endorsement of its new US alliance, the country is undergoing the most radical overhaul in its regional positioning since WW2, vastly increasing its war-fighting capacity as it embarks on its largest military buildup in decades. Military spending is set to double from 1% to 2% of GDP over 5 years – from some $50 bn a year to an accumulated $318 bn – to see Japan leap to the third or fourth largest military power in the world.

Matching Japan in the North, Australia too is reconfiguring itself as a military power in the South Pacific, its military spend set to rise from around $49 bn to $57 bn per year by 2025-6.  Meanwhile Taiwan’s increased budget of $19bn is being backed by the US-pledged $10bn in military aid. 

For the US neocon Right, their long-held aspirations for a remilitarised Japan and an armed Taiwan serving as an ‘unsinkable aircraft carrier’ – passed from MacArthur and the McCarthyites to John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz and now to Kagan and Blinken – are materialising.

As the US advances plans to catch Taiwan between the pincer of its forces in Okinawa and the Philippines, Biden’s constant vacillations between the One China policy and the defence of Taiwan are highly destabilising.  China is committed to a peaceful reunification, yet states it will never renounce the use of force directed against interference by outside forces.  The military display by the PLA following Pelosi’s August 2022 visit to the island demonstrates it is serious about this.  It has the capacity: in its vast naval fleet capable of imposing a blockade on the island, and with missiles capable of sinking US aircraft carriers and destroying US warships on the far side of the island, as its recent missile overflights demonstrated.

Lying 100 miles to the north of Taiwan and less than 300 miles from the massive US airbase in Okinawa, are the disputed islands known as the Diaoyutai in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese which may become the locus of battle given their critical importance in the event of a Chinese blockade of Taiwan.

These uninhabited islands are claimed not only by China and Japan but also by Taiwan (the Republic of China); they were taken under control by the Japanese government in 2012 and now are increasingly patrolled not only by Japanese and Chinese but also by US forces.

To defeat any move by China, the US would need a coalition of forces – and this is what the Pentagon is seeking to construct.

Towards a Global NATO

With the transatlantic NATO alliance strengthened against Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, and a new Indo-Pacific regional security architecture  emerging, the US is also working to construct a third axis under its control between the European and Asian theatres to serve as a counter to China’s Eurasian Belt and Road initiative.

AUKUS and the US-Japan alliance both offer access points for linking the security of the Euro-Atlantic to the security of the Indo-Pacific in accordance with NATO’s New Security Concept adopted at its 2022 summit.

NATO allies are getting drawn into the Indo-Pacific security pattern step by step.  Military exercises have multiplied in the last year or two as a way of involving outside powers, not only the UK, but also France, which is boosting its military presence in the region. Germany has also sent in warships.  NATO forces made up at least half of last year’s US-led RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) exercises.[4]  Australia, South Korea and Japan are again to attend the 2023 NATO summit, and Japan has become a regular participant in NATO Chief of Staff meetings.[5]

So far, NATO is committed to addressing the ‘systemic competition’ from China, but Stoltenburg’s recent visits to South Korea and Japan were looking for a more strategic undertaking.  Japanese PM Kishida, mirrored by Zelensky’s visits around Europe, had embarked earlier in January on a diplomatic tour to rally support, visiting the UK, France, Italy and Canada as well as the US to gain approval for Japan’s new militarist orientation.

Eliciting statements of stronger support from Macron and Trudeau, Kishida was to agree a form of strategic partnership with Meloni of Italy.

But it was Sunak that took things furthest, signing a Reciprocal Access Agreement to allow the two nations to deploy military forces on each other’s soil. This represents Japan’s first military agreement with a European power.

The UK leads the way

The UK and Japan began to deepen military cooperation with the visit of the Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group in 2021.

This was followed in November 2022 with an agreement on new UK-Japan-Italy partnership – the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) – a hi-tech programme for unmanned aircraft and cutting-edge weapons heralded as an ‘unprecedented international aerospace coalition’.  BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and MBDA are to work together with Leopard in Italy and Mitsubishi in Japan to deliver next generation combat fighter jets.  The Tempest is to replace the Typhoon aircraft by the mid 2030s; its capacity to carry hypersonic missiles will significantly increase Japan’s capabilities in joining a US war with China.[6]

Also in November 2022, a ‘Vigilant Isles 22’ joint exercise simulated the retaking of an island under enemy control.  The new RAA aims to regularise such exercises in ‘island defence’.[7]  This should set alarm bells ringing.

Similar to ones agreed by the US and Australia with Japan, these arrangements gain significance together as providing the US with the means to break a blockade of Taiwan: the RAA could bring British forces into direct conflict with China given the deepening Sino-Japanese island dispute.[8]

The RAA and GCAP are designed to sit alongside AUKUS and with the US and Australia also having access agreements, few barriers remain for Japan to join the ‘Asian NATO’.

For the UK, the deals cement Global Britain’s Indo-Pacific tilt, breaking new ground in military relations with Japan as an example for other NATO members to follow.  As it opens the door for a wider international recognition of Japan’s rehabilitation as a military power countering any residual reluctance to do so given its past history, the UK is playing a significant role in the shift to a new Indo-Pacific security architecture.

At the same time, as the US’s key ally in the West, its links with Japan the US’ key ally in the East create a new global axis linking the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific theatres of war.

As it looks to build a future beyond Brexit, Global Britain follows the US in tying future prosperity to military development – arms manufacture and arms exports.  Here it aims to serve as a new model of Western 21st century power ‘creating jobs, saving lives’ as through GCAP it boosts its ‘world beating defence industry’ to promote high-high-skilled employment, drive innovation, and open up markets in both Europe and Asia.

Aiding and abetting the US, the UK similarly indulges the military aspirations of Japan’s right wingers, long held in restraint by its constitutional pacifism.  Now GCAP subverts Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, the ‘peace clause’, by developing Japan’s counterstrike – that is – offensive capabilities.

Shockingly, the UK Prime Minister’s office was to draw parallels between the RAA and the Anglo-Japanese alliance of 1902.[9]  Forged to counter Russia’s expansion to the East at the time, the alliance oversaw a twenty year period of Japan’s rapid military industrialisation which then drove its bloody expansion across Asia.

US progress after WW2 on democratising and demilitarising Japan ground to a halt after the CPC victory in China in 1949. Suspected Class A war criminals, such as the grandfather of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, were released from jail to help form the Liberal Democratic Party which has now held power almost continuously over the last 70 years.  Senior political figures in Kishida’s government continue to visit the Yasukuni shrine to the war dead which still memorialises those convicted of war crimes. 

It did not seem to bother either Biden or Sunak in promoting collaboration between Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems respectively with Mitsubishi to restore its role in arms manufacturer, that the company’s owners are yet to meet South Korean demands for compensation for the use of forced labour in WW2.  South Korea and Japan have recently announced some measures to ease these particular tensions.[10]

Constructing a new coalition

The US perceives the ‘security threats of the future’ – China – to be of such an order as to demand an entirely new response.  Learning the lesson from the Iraq war not to alienate allies, the US seeks to secure military pacts and alliances through a fusing of economic and technological resources into their structure.

US Secretary of State Blinken states: ‘whether techno-democracies or techno-autocracies are the ones who get to define how technology is used … will go a long way toward shaping the next decades.’

AUKUS and the UK-Italy-Japan GCAP have both been designed to set the pace in the military use of new technologies, integrating security- and defence-related science and technology as well as arms production bases and supply chains centred on US core technologies.  France, Italy, Germany as well as the UK are mentioned in Japan’s National Defense Strategy as partners with whom the government will work for training and exercises, defence equipment and technology cooperation.[11]

Meanwhile the Quad, falling short of a fully-fledged military alliance, uses Australia and Japan as a means to draw India closer to the US.

Rather, then, than relying simply on formal alliance structures, the US is making good use of unconventional arrangements and linkages to draw others along in the slipstream of its agenda, knitting an array of supporters together around the militarised core – all singing from the same hymn sheet of ‘freedom and democracy’.

Revolutions in technology and communications are opening new opportunities to broaden the more flexible ‘coalition of the willing’ format to a wider range of partners involved in a hybridised warfare.

Short of actual military engagement, support can come in various ways – through the provision of material, arms, logistics, economic and technological assistance, and through participation in economic warfare with sanctions along the lines of the informal groups now aiding Ukraine.  Arrangements involving data- and technology-sharing, and exclusive supply chains can serve as a dragnet to draw ‘democratic’ states away from economic and diplomatic links with ‘authoritarian regimes’.

In this way the emerging pattern of US military hegemony is being underpinned by the globalisation of what former CIA analyst Ray McGovern has called a new Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank (MICIMATT).[12]

Towards a new World War

With the Iraq war underway by March 2003, the US effectively stepped back from a fight on two fronts, agreeing within months to join the six-party talks on Korean denuclearisation. Today, in contrast, it is shifting from the strategy of containment, prolonging the conflict with Russia in Ukraine in order to gear up for war with China.

What is taking place is a historic restructuring of the international security order: strengthening of the NATO transatlantic military axis against Russia whilst elevating the US-Japan trans-pacific military axis at the core of newly created regional NATO-like multilateral security frame.  Meanwhile the UK-Japan military pact together with the increasing presence of NATO in Asia are laying the preliminary groundwork to complete the third axis of its triangle of global power, between the Euro-Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific.

Not since WW2 with the Axis powers of Japan, Italy and Nazi Germany coordinating the worldwide fascist offensive, have these two theatres of war been bridged in this way, and not for want of the US trying.

Through these three axes of a Global NATO, the US aims to contain the growing multipolar trend.  A key here is to block the Eurasian link: the prolongation of the Ukraine war is helping to drive China and Europe apart, as China maintains neutrality whilst Europe demands it take a position on what it sees as its existential priority.

The US is applying immense pressure to achieve this, endeavouring to break the remaining post WW2 pacifist restraints in the Indo-Pacific as it has been doing in Europe so as to achieve these goals. 

Actually it is NATO that is being positioned to cover and play the coordinating role between the two theatres, with the US pushing plans at the next summit to prepare for fighting on the home front and beyond NATO borders simultaneously.  Europe will be under great pressure to increase spending on weapons procurement to free the US to move more of its assets closer to China.[13]

The major world powers are close to a stand-off – the last time this happened it ended indeed in world war.  The UN has become a battleground for the New Cold War as US-influenced motions are designed to divide the ‘democracies’ from the ‘autocracies’. The UN Charter represents the deep learning from the horrors of the two world wars, lessons which are embodied in its institutional design built to maintain world peace.  The UN is now under existential threat. Should war break out directly between the permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US and UK versus Russia and China – this would finally finish off the organisation. What then is left to prevent another word war?

One cannot help but wonder at the key players following the US into this deadly situation: the Anglosphere AUKUS pact intervening in an Asia becoming accustomed to managing its own affairs and a remilitarised Japan with its dark past to lead the region, partnering up in Europe with Italy, its former fascist ally and a Britain deluded by fantasies of past imperial glory.

But countries in the Global South are starting to wake up to the real nature of US intentions – to perpetuate its own and the West’s supremacy – and a non-aligned resistance is taking shape as they refuse to take sides over Ukraine. 

More and more developing countries will be looking to China and others in the BRICS for economic stabilisation with the prolongation of the war further damaging further the prospects of world economic recovery after COVID.

The Iraq war unleashed over a decade of disruption for the Middle East, leaving the region even further divided: the countries of East Asia hardly want to see this happen to them.  US plans to remilitarise and divide East Asia threaten to derail their promising prospects of further economic development, destabilising a region vital to the world’s future prosperity and the battle against climate catastrophe and not least at risk of nuclear proliferation.

Nor is Japan’s rearmament welcome in the region: not only China and the Koreas remain sceptical as to the sincerity of Japan’s apologies for its past, but other Asian nations, whose memories of Japan’s WW2 brutality and military-colonial occupations live on, may also be wary.  Indications are that the Japanese public themselves will not support increased taxes to cover the proposed rise in military spending.

Meanwhile, new US proposals that allies host more intermediate range missiles in the region are being met with reluctance not only Thailand and the Philippines but also Australia, South Korea and Japan.[14]

Ahead of the G7 summit, planned to take place in Hiroshima and built up by Kishida’s January tour of the Western powers, is intended to send a strong signal of their unity both to Russia and China.  A visit by Kishida to Kiev is also on the cards.

With the Ukraine crisis threatening to escalate into a direct clash between major powers, China has stepped forward with guidelines for a political settlement backed by a concept paper for a new global security. It may be that the Global South, still rather disorganised, will find direction under China’s proposals and start to set a limit to the US-led wider war preparations.[15]

The world is changing very fast indeed.

Peace and anti-war activists in the West seek to draw inspiration from the massive protests against the Iraq war, but to resist the insidious influence of imperialism permeating through social democracy requires a deeper historical and international understanding to unite a new worldwide mass movement for peace and common security.


[1]  E.Ayketin “China has no intention of challenging the US: Xi Jinping” Nov 15, 2022 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/china-has-no-intention-of-challenging-us-xi-jinping/2738050

[2] John W. Dower, The San Francisco System: past, Present and Future in US-Japan-China Relations, Asia Pacific Journal February 23, 2014, Vol. 12, Issue 8, No. 2 https://apjjf.org/2014/12/8/John-W-Dower/4079/artcile.html

[3] For details on the US military build up in the Pacific see Michael Klare, The Pentagon prepares for island combat in the Pacific as US-China tensions rise https://truthout.org/articles/pentagon-prepares-for-island-combat-in-the-pacific-as-us-china-tensions-rise/

[4] A. Wright “Largest ever US-Nato naval war drills in Pacific a Threat to Peace and Marine Life”, June 22, 2002 https://www.codepink.org/us-nato-naval-war-drills

[5] R. Nemoto, “Japan’s top uniformed officer to attend 1st NATO military chiefs meeting” May 17, 2022 https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Japan-s-top-uniformed-officer-to-attend-1st-NATO-military-chiefs-meeting

[6] K. Inagaki, L. Lewis and S. Pfeifer, “The fighter jet that could create a new alliance between the UK and Japan” Financial Times Nov. 27, 2022 https://www.ft.com/content/a013530d-82f9-4a89-b5cf-5d76032d8c47

[7] A. Chuter, UK, Japan ink agreement to enable bilateral troop deployments, Defence News, Jan 11, 2023 https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2023/01/11/uk-japan-ink-agreement-to-enable-bilateral-troop-deployments/

[8] The US is also now pushing the Philippines into a similar arrangement so that not only could Philippines’ forces be deployed in Japan but Japanese forces be deployed say in Luzon.

[9] Downing Street Press release, Jan 11 2023 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-hosts-japanese-pm-and-agrees-historic-defence-agreement

[10] A. Jung-a and K. Inagaki “US hails thaw between Seoul and Tokyo” Financial Times March 7 2023

[11] National Defense Strategy Dec 16, 2022 https://www.mod.go.jp/j/approach/agenda/guideline/strategy/pdf/strategy_en.pdf

[12] R. McGovern US-Russia Talk About Where Not To Place Missiles, Jan 11, 2022
https://original.antiwar.com/mcgovern/2022/01/10/us-russia-talk-about-where-not-to-place-missiles/

[13] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2023-02-14/nato-looks-at-raising-defense-spending-target

[14] Rand Corporation, Ground-Based Intermediate-Range Missiles in the IndoPacific: assessing the positions of US Allies  https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA393-3.html

[15] China’s Foreign Ministry Proposals for a Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis  https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/wjdt_665385/2649_665393/202302/t20230224_11030713.html

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin articles in leading Russian and Chinese media

Chinese President Xi Jinping began a state visit to Russia on March 20. This is his first overseas trip of 2023 and comes just after his re-election to serve as head of state for a third term. Xi also made his first international visit as China’s president to Russia back in 2013.

Just prior to the visit, Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin published special articles in the leading media of their friendly neighbor. Writing for Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russian Gazette) and the RIA Novosti News Agency, President Xi noted that over the last decade, he has made eight visits to Russia and that he and President Putin have met 40 times:

“Our two sides have cemented political mutual trust and fostered a new model of major-country relations. Guided by a vision of lasting friendship and win-win cooperation, China and Russia are committed to no-alliance, no-confrontation and not targeting any third party in developing our ties.”

Xi Jinping further noted that: “China and Russia are firmly committed to safeguarding the UN-centered international system, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.”

Alluding to the complex history of relations between China and Russia and the former Soviet Union, the Chinese leader wrote: “Looking back on the extraordinary journey of China-Russia relations over the past 70 years and more, we feel strongly that our relationship has not reached easily where it is today, and that our friendship is growing steadily and must be cherished by us all.” His visit to Russia, Xi stressed, would be a, “journey of friendship, cooperation and peace,” adding:

“The historical trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation is unstoppable. The prevailing trends of world multipolarity, economic globalization and greater democracy in international relations are irreversible. On the other hand, our world is confronted with complex and intertwined traditional and non-traditional security challenges, damaging acts of hegemony, domination and bullying, and long and tortuous global economic recovery.”

“The international community,” Xi emphasized, “has recognized that no country is superior to others, no model of governance is universal, and no single country should dictate the international order.”

Regarding the Ukraine crisis, he stressed that, “China has all along upheld an objective and impartial position based on the merits of the issue, and actively promoted peace talks. I have put forth several proposals, i.e., observing the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect of the legitimate security concerns of all countries, supporting all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis, and ensuring the stability of global industrial and supply chains. They have become China’s fundamental principles for addressing the Ukraine crisis… There is no simple solution to a complex issue. We believe that as long as all parties embrace the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and pursue equal-footed, rational and results-oriented dialogue and consultation, they will find a reasonable way to resolve the crisis.”

Simultaneously, President Putin wrote in China’s People’s Daily that, over the last ten years, “the world has seen many changes, often not for the better. Yet the main thing has remained unchanged: I am talking of the firm friendship between Russia and China, which is consistently growing stronger for the benefit and in the interest of our countries and peoples.”

The Russian leader also alluded to complex histories, writing: “The Russia-China relations have reached the highest level in their history and are gaining even more strength; they surpass Cold War-time military-political alliances in their quality, with no one to constantly order and no one to constantly obey.” Surveying the development of mutually beneficial economic relations, he laid stress on the fact that “the share of settlements in national currencies in our mutual trade is growing, further strengthening the sovereignty of our relations.”

Drawing a demarcation with “some countries claiming hegemony and bringing discord to the global harmony,” Putin observed that: “Amidst the ‘waves and winds’ that sweep the planet, we closely cooperate in international affairs and effectively coordinate our foreign policy positions, counter common threats, and respond to current challenges, standing shoulder to shoulder as a ‘rock amid a fast flowing stream’. We actively promote democratic multilateral structures such as the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization] and BRICS, which become more and more authoritative and influential and attract new partners and friends.”

“Our two countries,” the Russian leader wrote, “together with like-minded actors, have consistently advocated the shaping of a more just multipolar world order based on international law rather than certain ‘rules’ serving the needs of the ‘golden billion’ [the small minority of imperialist powers]…The US’s policy of simultaneously deterring Russia and China, as well as all those who do not bend to the American dictation, is getting ever more fierce and aggressive. The international security and cooperation architecture is being dismantled. Russia has been labelled an ‘immediate threat’ and China a ‘strategic competitor’.”

Turning directly to the Ukraine crisis, President Putin wrote: “We appreciate the well-balanced stance on the events in Ukraine adopted by the PRC, as well as its understanding of their historical background and root causes. We welcome China’s readiness to make a meaningful contribution to the settlement of the crisis. Like our friends in China, we advocate for the strict compliance with the UN Charter, respect for the norms of international law, including humanitarian law. We are committed to the principle of the indivisibility of security, which is being grossly violated by the NATO bloc. We are deeply concerned over the irresponsible and outright dangerous actions that jeopardize nuclear security. We reject illegitimate unilateral sanctions, which must be lifted. Russia is open to the political and diplomatic resolution of the Ukraine crisis. It was not Russia who broke off the peace talks back in April 2022.”

We republish below the full texts of the articles by the two heads of state. They were originally published in English on the websites of the Xinhua News Agency and the Russian Presidency.

Forging Ahead to Open a New Chapter of China-Russia Friendship, Cooperation and Common Development

Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China

At the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, I will soon pay a state visit to the Russian Federation. Russia was the first country I visited after I was elected President 10 years ago. Over the past decade, I have made eight visits to Russia. I came each time with high expectations and returned with fruitful results, opening a new chapter for China-Russia relations together with President Putin.

Continue reading Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin articles in leading Russian and Chinese media

Xi Jinping’s keynote address at the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting

On March 15, the International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC) held a High-Level Meeting under the title The CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties and with the theme Path towards modernization: The Responsibility of Political Parties, via video link. It was attended by leaders and representatives from hundreds of political parties and organizations from around the world, including a delegation of Friends of Socialist China.

The meeting was opened with a keynote address from Comrade Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and President of the People’s Republic of China.

Noting that the history of human development is full of twists and turns and that the path to modernization is also arduous, Xi said that “in today’s world, multiple challenges and crises are intertwined. The global economic recovery remains sluggish, the development gap is widening, ecological environment is deteriorating, and the Cold War mentality is lingering,” meaning that we are once again at a crossroads of history.

Sharing some of his observations, Xi noted:

  • We must put the people first and ensure modernization is people-centered. The ultimate goal of modernization is people’s free and well-rounded development. “Modernization is not only about indicators and statistics on the paper but more about the delivery of a happy and stable life for the people.”
  • We must uphold the principle of independence and explore diversified paths towards modernization. Each country must consider its own national conditions and unique features. “It is the people of a country that are in the best position to tell what kind of modernization best suits them. Developing countries have the right and ability to independently explore the modernization path with their distinctive features based on their national realities.”
  • We must uphold fundamental principles and break new ground. “We should work together to reform and develop the global governance system and make the international order more just and equitable as we advance humanity’s modernization in an environment of equal rights, equal opportunities and fair rules for all.” Xi added that we must help others to succeed while seeking our own success. “We stand firmly opposed to the practice of preserving one’s own development privilege by suppressing and containing other countries’ endeavor to achieve modernization.”

Turning to China’s experience, Xi noted that, “The journey of over 100 years that the Party has traversed to unite and lead the Chinese people in pursuing national rejuvenation is also an exploration of a path towards modernization.” And he reiterated that, “Chinese modernization is one of a huge population, of common prosperity for all, of material and cultural-ethical advancement, of harmony between humanity and nature, and of peaceful development,” adding: “We will stay committed to the right direction, right theories and the right path. We will not veer off course by changing our nature or abandoning our system.”

Addressing the international context for his country’s modernization, the Chinese leader reaffirmed that: “In advancing modernization, China will neither tread the old path of colonization and plunder, nor the crooked path taken by some countries to seek hegemony once they grow strong… We firmly oppose hegemony and power politics in all their forms… The world does not need a new Cold War. The practice of stoking division and confrontation in the name of democracy is in itself a violation of the spirit of democracy… No matter what level of development China achieves, it will never seek hegemony or expansion.”

Moving towards the close of his speech, Xi Jinping proposed for the first time his concept of a Global Civilization Initiative. According to this proposal:

  • We advocate the respect for the diversity of civilizations.
  • We advocate the common values of humanity. Peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom are the common aspirations of all peoples.
  • We advocate the importance of inheritance and innovation of civilizations.
  • We advocate robust international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.

Finally, Xi observed that: “There are bound to be setbacks on humanity’s journey to modernization, but the future is bright.”

Following Xi Jinping’s address, speeches were made by:

  • Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa and President of the Republic of South Africa.
  • Nicolás Maduro, President of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
  • Aleksandar Vučić, President of the Serbian Progressive Party and President of the Republic of Serbia.
  • Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene, Chairman of the Mongolian People’s Party and Prime Minister of Mongolia.
  • Xie Chuntao, Executive Vice President of the CPC Central Party School.
  • James Marape, Leader of the Pangu Party and Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.
  • Salva Kiir Mayardit, Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and President of South Sudan.
  • Daniel Ortega, President of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) of Nicaragua and President of Nicaragua.
  • Boris Gryzlov, Chairman of the Supreme Council of United Russia.
  • Han Wenxiu from the Financial and Economic Office of the CPC Central Committee.
  • Dickon Mitchell, Leader of the National Democratic Congress and Prime Minister of Grenada.
  • Yawa Djigbodi Tsegan, Treasurer of the National Office of Union for the Republic (UNIR) and President of the National Assembly of Togo.
  • Erlan Qoşanov, Chairman of the Amanat Party and of the Mazhilis (lower house of parliament) of Kazakhstan.
  • Taur Matan Ruak, President of the People’s Liberation Party and Prime Minister of Timor Leste.
  • Cai Qi, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

We reprint below General Secretary Xi Jinping’s speech to the meeting. It was originally carried by the Xinhua News Agency.

Join Hands on the Path Towards Modernization

Keynote Address by H.E. Xi Jinping
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
And President of the People’s Republic of China
At the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties
High-level Meeting
Beijing, 15 March 2023

Leaders of political parties from around the world,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to join all of you for the discussion on “Path Towards Modernization: The Responsibility of Political Parties”.

The history of human development is full of twists and turns. Similarly, the journey of each country to explore the path to modernization is also arduous. In today’s world, multiple challenges and crises are intertwined. The global economic recovery remains sluggish, the development gap is widening, ecological environment is deteriorating, and the Cold War mentality is lingering. Humanity’s modernization process has once again reached a crossroads of history.

Polarization or common prosperity? Pure materialistic pursuit or coordinated material and cultural-ethical advancement? Draining the pond to catch the fish or creating harmony between man and nature? Zero-sum game or win-win cooperation? Copying other countries’ development model or achieving independent development in light of national conditions? What kind of modernization do we need and how can we achieve it? Confronted with these questions, political parties as an important force steering and driving the modernization process are duty bound to provide answers. Here, I wish to share some of my observations.

Continue reading Xi Jinping’s keynote address at the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting

China’s example of leadership injects hope into a world of uncertainty

Co-editor of Friends of Socialist China Danny Haiphong remarks on the significance of China’s successful brokering of renewed ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia. China “walking the walk” on diplomacy and peace, he says, has injected stability into a period of crisis and paves the way to a more democratic and multipolar world order.

This article first appeared in CGTN.

On the one-year anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, China released a position paper on the path forward to peace. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that the peace proposal lacked credibility and questioned China’s commitment to the sovereignty and international law. Just weeks after China released its position on peace in Ukraine, Blinken was proven wrong. Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to reestablish relations on March 10 after a round of successful talks that took place in Beijing.

Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, called the agreement a victory for peace. He was right. That two nations with complex differences and disputes were willing to sit down with their Chinese counterparts to work toward peace in a region that’s been devastated by war and external interference is indeed a major victory.

The reestablishment of ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia opens several possible doors to resolve pressing issues such as the status of Palestine, the war in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia and Iran’s future participation in multilateral institutions such as the BRICS Plus and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Both Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to respect the sovereignty and internal affairs of other nations, a key pillar of peaceful development.

Contrary to the U.S. narrative, China’s leadership has injected confidence into a world of uncertainty and strife. In the field of global politics, China has demonstrated through concerted action just how serious it is about the cause of peace. The landmark diplomatic achievement between Saudi Arabia and Iran does not exist in a vacuum. It is part of China’s overall leadership role in the larger global movement to democratize international relations and move away from destructive hegemonism.

In this regard, China has both talked the talk and walked the walk. China has remained neutral and handled the world-altering Ukraine crisis in a manner consistent with international law. Rather than following the U.S. and the West in throwing fuel onto a fire with weapons sales and sanctions, China maintained relations with all sides and made itself available as a possible mediator for peace. This is consistent with China’s longstanding policy of non-interference in the affairs of other countries. The world has been watching carefully as China has stood tall in opposing illegal and counterproductive Western-led sanctions, color revolutions, and aggressive militarism.

Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that China helped mediate the successful talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia during the nation’s annual Two Sessions. Thousands of deputies and representatives have been deliberating around the clock to review achievements and set the policy agenda for the coming year. Despite a global economic slowdown, China’s GDP grew by 3 percent in 2022 and an around 5 percent GDP growth rate target has been set for 2023. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Chinese goods and services fell to just 1 percent in February, a signal that China has successfully defeated inflationary pressures currently wracking the West.

China’s rise has accelerated by leaps and bounds, paving the way to a more prosperous and stable livelihood for the Chinese people and an example of global leadership that both Chinese people and the people of the world can be proud of.

The success of the Iran-Saudi talks in Beijing alone should put naysayers of China’s global “credibility” to rest. However, China’s leadership has long been embraced the majority of the world’s nations. This is most clearly reflected in the massive interest in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which currently is comprised of over 140 countries and several thousand infrastructure projects either completed or under development.

China’s staunch opposition to economic sanctions and zero-sum relations has given nations in all corners of the world confidence in its global leadership. The U.S. and West make up a minority of global public opinion despite their leaders’ insistence that they alone speak for the “international community.”

Lies can poison the psyche, but they can’t change reality. Facts are stubborn things. The fact is that China’s leadership has injected hope into a world in dire need of it. China’s facilitation of successful talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia is concrete proof.