Xi Jinping: We must consolidate our unity and safeguard the right to development

Between July 2-6, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid state visits to the neighbouring Central Asian states of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Whilst in Kazakhstan, he also took part in the 24th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which, along with the first Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Plus Meeting, was held in the capital Astana on July 4, as well as holding a number of bilateral meetings with other heads of state who participated in the meetings.

The SCO Summit admitted Belarus as the organisation’s tenth full member and at its conclusion China assumed the rotating chair for 2024-25.

In his speech to the Heads of State Meeting, Xi Jinping welcomed Belarus to attend the SCO Summit for the first time as a member state. He pointed out that the SCO was established at the turn of the century, when the antagonism and division left over from the Cold War had yet to be bridged. The founding members of the SCO have made a historical choice to pursue peaceful development, committed to good-neighbourliness and friendship, and built a new type of international relations, and the “Shanghai Spirit” has become a common value and action guide for the member states. Twenty-three years after its founding, the number of SCO member states has increased to 10, and the “SCO family” embraces 26 countries on three continents. The SCO stands on the right side of history, on the side of fairness and justice, and is of vital importance to the world.

Xi went on to make a number of calls to the gathering, including:

  • In the face of the real threat of the Cold War mentality, we must guard the bottom line of security.
  • In the face of the real risk of “small courtyards and high walls”, we must safeguard the right to development.
  • In the face of the real challenge of interference and division, we need to consolidate our unity.

He stressed that the reason why the SCO has been able to withstand the test of the changing international situation is that we have always adhered to the fine tradition of solidarity and cooperation, the way of cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, the pursuit of the values of fairness and justice, and the broad-mindedness of inclusiveness and mutual learning.

The leaders of the SCO member states signed and issued the Astana Declaration of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO Member States; approved the SCO initiative on solidarity and joint efforts to promote justice, harmony and development in the world; proposals on improving the operational mechanisms of the SCO; a statement on the principles of good-neighbourliness, mutual trust and partnership; and a series of resolutions on cooperation in the fields of energy, investment and information security.

The Astana Declaration begins by stating that:

“The political and economic situation in the world is undergoing major changes. The international system is developing in a more just and multipolar direction, providing more opportunities for countries to develop and carry out international cooperation on an equal and mutually beneficial basis. At the same time, the rise of power politics, the intensification of trampling on the norms of international law, and the intensification of geopolitical confrontation and conflicts pose more risks to global and regional stability.”

Among the many issues covered in the declaration, member states advocate respect for the right of the peoples of all countries to independently choose their path of political, economic and social development, and emphasise that the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, equality and mutual benefit, non-interference in internal affairs, and non-use or threat of use of force are the basis for the sustainable development of international relations.

They reaffirmed their commitment to building a more representative, democratic and just multipolar world system based on the universally recognised principles of international law, diversity of cultures and civilisations, equality and mutually beneficial cooperation, and the central coordinating role of the United Nations.

They expressed deep concern at the intensification of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and strongly condemned the acts that caused numerous civilian casualties and a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip; Emphasising the importance of ensuring a comprehensive and sustainable ceasefire as soon as possible and facilitating humanitarian access and intensifying efforts to bring peace, stability and security to the population of the region, it was noted that the only possible way to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East was a comprehensive and just settlement of the question of Palestine.

They also reaffirmed their commitment to helping Afghanistan become an independent, neutral and peaceful country, free from terrorism, war and drugs, and supported the efforts of the international community to achieve peace and development in Afghanistan and reaffirmed that the formation of a government that is truly inclusive of representatives of all ethnic and political sectors of Afghan society is the only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in the country.

Member States support the prevention of the weaponisation of outer space, believe that strict adherence to the existing legal system for the peaceful uses of outer space is of paramount importance, and stress the need to sign international instruments with mandatory legal force to enhance transparency and provide strong guarantees for the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

Continue reading Xi Jinping: We must consolidate our unity and safeguard the right to development

Xi Jinping: Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence a groundbreaking achievement in the history of international relations

A conference marking the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, a cornerstone of Chinese foreign policy, was held in Beijing on June 28. With guests from around the world, including former political leaders from some 20 countries, President Xi Jinping made an important speech, and the event was moderated by Premier Li Qiang.

In his speech, President Xi said that the five principles, “marked a groundbreaking and epoch-making achievement in the history of international relations.”

He noted:

“The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence answered the call of the times, and its initiation was an inevitable historic development. In the wake of the Second World War, national independence and liberation movements swept across the globe, and the colonial system around the world crumbled and collapsed. At the same time, the world was overshadowed by the dark clouds of the Cold War.”

Meanwhile, newly independent countries aspired to safeguard their sovereignty and grow their national economy. New China followed the principle of independence, actively sought peaceful coexistence with all countries, and endeavoured to improve its external environment, especially in its neighbourhood.

Having been endorsed in joint statements with India and Myanmar, in 1955, “more than 20 Asian and African countries attended the Bandung Conference. They proposed ten principles for handling state-to-state relations on the basis of the Five Principles, and advocated the Bandung spirit of solidarity, friendship and cooperation. The Non-Aligned Movement that rose in the 1960s adopted the Five Principles as its guiding principles. The Declaration on Principles of International Law adopted at the 25th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1970 and the Declaration on the Establishment of the New International Economic Order adopted at the Sixth Special UNGA Session in 1974 both endorsed the Five Principles.”

Xi Jinping went on to note that:

  • The principles fully conform with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, with the evolving trend of international relations of our times, and with the fundamental interests of all nations.
  • When following the Five Principles, even countries that differ from each other in social system, ideology, history, culture, faith, development stage, and size can build a relationship of mutual trust, friendship and cooperation.
  • Inspired and encouraged by the Five Principles, more and more countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have voiced and extended support to each other, stood up against foreign interference, and embarked on an independent path of development. The Five Principles have also boosted South-South cooperation and improved and further developed North-South relations.
  • The Five Principles were initiated with the purpose of protecting the interests and pursuits of small and weak countries from power politics. They categorically oppose imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism, and reject belligerent and bullying practices of the law of the jungle.

Seventy years ago, the Chinese leader continued, “our forefathers, who experienced the scourge of hot wars and the confrontation of the Cold War, concluded that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were the crucial way to safeguard peace and sovereignty. This answer has withstood the test of international vicissitudes and has become more appealing rather than obsolete. Seventy years later today, challenged by the historic question of ‘what kind of world to build and how to build it,’ China has answered the call of the times by proposing a community with a shared future for humanity.”

Xi went on to say that both the five principles and the concept of a community with a shared future for humanity “demonstrate the broad vision of the Communist Party of China to contribute more to humanity.”

“Looking at the past and future at this critical moment in history, we believe our exploration for the betterment of human civilisation will not end, and our efforts for a better world will not end. No matter how the world evolves, one basic fact will not change. There is only one Planet Earth in the universe, and the whole humanity have one common home.”

On this basis, Xi set out a number of imperatives:

  • We need to uphold the principle of sovereign equality.

The five principles reject the big subduing the small, the strong bullying the weak, and the rich exploiting the poor.

  • We need to cement the foundation of mutual respect.

We must jointly uphold the “golden rule” of non-interference, and jointly oppose acts of imposing one’s will on others, stoking bloc confrontation, creating small circles, and forcing others to pick sides.

  • We need to turn the vision for peace and security into reality.

All countries must work together to seek peace, safeguard peace, and enjoy peace. In today’s interdependent world, absolute security and exclusive security are just not viable.

  • We need to unite all forces to achieve prosperity.

Here Xi invokes a Latin American proverb: “The only way to be profitably national is to be generously universal.”

  • We need to commit to fairness and justice.

China believes in true multilateralism. Our goal is that international rules should be made and observed by all countries. World affairs should be handled through extensive consultation, not dictated by those with more muscles.

  • We need to embrace an open and inclusive mindset.

All countries are on board the same giant ship. It carries on it not only aspirations for peace, economic prosperity and technological advancement, but also the diversity of civilisations and the continuation of the human species.

Whilst the Five Principles are intended to address the full spectrum of international relations, Xi emphasised that:

“Of all the forces in the world, the Global South stands out with a strong momentum, playing a vital role in promoting human progress. Standing at a new historical starting point, the Global South should be more open and more inclusive and join hands together to take the lead in building a community with a shared future for humanity.”

Addressing the Global South, he made the following calls:

  • Together, we should be the staunch force for peace.
  • Together, we should be the core driving force for open development.
  • Together, we should be the construction team of global governance.
  • Together, we should be the advocates for exchange among civilisations.

He continued by outlining a series of concrete measures that China will take to better support Global South cooperation.

Noting that, “the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence has been written into China’s Constitution long before,” Xi said that:

“China’s resolve to stay on the path of peaceful development will not change. We will never take the trodden path of colonial plundering, or the wrong path of seeking hegemony when one becomes strong. We will stay on the right path of peaceful development. Among the world’s major countries, China has the best track record with respect to peace and security. It has been exploring for a distinctly Chinese approach to resolving hotspot issues. It has been playing a constructive role in the Ukraine crisis, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and issues relating to the Korean peninsula, Iran, Myanmar, and Afghanistan. Every increase of China’s strength is an increase of the prospects of world peace.”

The conference also adopted a Beijing Declaration, summarising key viewpoints of the participants.

We reprint below the full text of President Xi Jinping’s speech and of the Beijing Declaration. They were originally published on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Continue reading Xi Jinping: Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence a groundbreaking achievement in the history of international relations

Webinar: Changes unseen in a century – Gaza, the shifting balance of forces and the rise of multipolarity

Friends of Socialist China is pleased to be co-organising (with the International Manifesto Group) this webinar on Saturday 29 June 2024, which will bring together leading analysts of global politics to explore the unfolding geopolitical consequences of Zionism’s genocidal assault on the Palestinian people.

Date: Saturday 29 June 2024

Time: 11am US Eastern / 8am US Pacific / 4pm London / 11pm Beijing

Panelists

  • Seyed Mohammad Marandi (University of Tehran)
  • Lowkey (Political campaigner and hip-hop artist)
  • Ramzy Baroud (Editor, Palestine Chronicle)
  • Faoud Bakr (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine)
  • Sara Flounders (International Action Center)
  • Camila Escalante (Kawsachun News)
  • Bikrum Gill (International relations expert)
  • Keith Bennett (Friends of Socialist China, International Manifesto Group)
  • Moderator: Carlos Martinez (Friends of Socialist China, International Manifesto Group)

Details

This webinar will bring together leading analysts of global politics to explore the unfolding geopolitical consequences of Zionism’s genocidal assault on the Palestinian people. Following on from the Ukraine crisis of recent years, the hypocrisy and blatant double standards of the major western powers have united the countries and peoples of the Global South to an unprecedented degree, and on both the diplomatic and mass popular level, rendering US imperialism and its Zionist shock troops increasingly isolated, as significant European powers at last recognise a Palestinian state, people from all walks of life mobilise, and young people in the imperialist heartlands start to be drawn into struggle in a way not seen since the Vietnam War. Together, the global majority are starting to drive changes unseen in a century. The webinar will examine such key topics as the relationship between the Palestinian people’s struggle and the overall multipolar process; the importance of Israel to the perpetuation of the US-led world order; and the potential for China and Russia to play a leading role in bringing about a lasting and just resolution to the Palestinian question.

BRICS and the reconfiguration of the world order

The 37th annual dinner of Third World Solidarity, an organisation that enjoys a close working relationship with Friends of Socialist China, was held on June 4, at the Royal Nawab Restaurant in the west London suburb of Perivale.

Among the guests were Councillor Tariq Dar MBE, Mayor of the London Borough of Brent, Councillor Shakeel Akram, Deputy Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow, Nisar Malik, prospective parliamentary candidate for Brentford and Isleworth for the Workers’ Party of Britain (WPB), veteran journalist Shafi Naqi Jamie, and many others, from the embassy of Kazakhstan, local government, community activism, the arts, business and other walks of life, including members and friends of Friends of Socialist China from Britain, Luxembourg and Malaysia.

The 135 guests were greeted by Evie Hill of the Znaniye Foundation and its Russian School, who introduced the host, Honorary Alderman Mushtaq Lasharie CBE, the founder and Chairman of Third World Solidarity.

With the ongoing genocidal war of aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza, and with June 14 marking the seventh anniversary of the Grenfell fire, which claimed the lives of 72 people, the first speakers were Palestinian activist for women’s rights, Ahlam Akram, the founder of Basira (British Arabs Supporting Universal Women’s Rights), and Emma O’Connor, a disabled resident on Grenfell’s 20th floor.

The main speaker was Keith Bennett, Co-editor of Friends of Socialist China, who spoke on the BRICS cooperation mechanism and its role in the evolution of a new global order.

A video message of greetings was received from Dave Anderson, former miner, care worker, Labour MP and shadow minister under Jeremy Corbyn, who is now the Chair of Marras – the Friends of the Durham Miners Gala, who was unable to be present.

Following the speeches, Hugh Goodacre sang a song marking the 40th anniversary of the miners’ great strike and this was followed by a virtuoso performance from singer and musician Mubarak Ali to round off the evening.

Keith began his speech by thanking all those who had made the evening possible, especially Mushtaq Lasharie, highlighting his decades of tireless activism and public service.

Referring to the two previous speakers, he expressed solidarity with the struggles of the Palestinian people and the Grenfell community. In the 1960s and 1970s, hundreds of thousands of people in India and Pakistan had taken to the streets raising the slogan, “My name, your name, Vietnam”. Today, for people around the world, their rallying cry has become, “In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians.”

Grenfell was one of those events where people will remember where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about it. It was an entirely avoidable tragedy, an act of social murder in the memorable words of Friedrich Engels. The council, the government and the companies concerned, knew that the building’s cladding, like that of other residential buildings still standing, was flammable and lethal. The building was known to be a death trap. The fire was one more manifestation, like the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, the Post Office Horizon scandal, the contaminated blood scandal, and the treatment of the Windrush generation, among others, of the ruling class’s contempt for working people. But the multinational working class community of Grenfell, like the others mentioned, is a community that has refused to be silenced and which has courageously persisted in the struggle for justice.

The following is the text of the main body of Keith’s speech.

I’ve been asked to speak this evening about the BRICS and their growing role in the reconfiguration of the world order.

But like a good novel, it takes a while, and there are a few plot twists before things start to fall into place. So please bear with me for a bit.

Let’s start with the origins of our host organization, Third World Solidarity. What world were we living in? What was happening?

The key event that led to the formation of Third World Solidarity was the US bombing, with the support of the Thatcher government here, of Libya on April 15, 1986 – an act of state terrorism in which the adopted baby daughter of head of state Colonel Gaddafi was among those killed.

This was the period when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were turning the cold war hot throughout the Global South. (Or Third World as it was then generally called and from which we derive our name.) This was the case from Afghanistan to Nicaragua to Angola. And from Ethiopia to Cambodia.

It was also, although we did not realise it at the time, the period when the Soviet Union, and its allied socialist countries in central and Eastern Europe, were entering their final days.

Their demise also triggered the collapse, or the retreat, of many socialist experiments throughout the Third World.

Although five socialist countries survived, most notably China, elsewhere, attempts to build socialism, or just to pursue independent development, were often replaced by IMF/World Bank Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), the downgrading of the role of the state, and the decimation of social programs and basic services, including in the vital areas of health and education. Neoliberalism acquired a practically religious aura. In the words of Margaret Thatcher, we were repeatedly told: “There is no alternative.” And for good measure, she added that there was, “no such thing as society, only individuals and their families.”

This neoliberal ideological hegemony was such that US political theorist Francis Fukuyama even proclaimed the end of history. And was catapulted from relative obscurity to intellectual rock star and guru status for his banal observation.

This apparently and now obviously ridiculous claim that history had come to an end meant that the evolution of human society was considered to have reached the destination of its journey with the hegemony of liberal democracy and the free market.

Although if democracy is to have any relationship to people having some measure of actual control over their own lives, and collectively over the evolution and running of their state and society, for hundreds of millions there was plenty of neoliberalism, plenty of economic impoverishment, but precious little democracy.

With the end of history there was also supposed to be a peace dividend. No more wars. And the Soviet Union was effectively persuaded to surrender with US promises that its NATO military alliance would not move one inch further east from a reunified Germany.

Of course, NATO marched inexorably eastwards. Slowly but surely laying the groundwork for today’s Ukraine tragedy.

As for no more wars, even to utter the phrase now can only draw a bitter laugh as we recall Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Palestine and so many other conflicts, together claiming the lives of millions of innocent children, women and men.

Continue reading BRICS and the reconfiguration of the world order

The perils and promise of the emerging multipolar world

In his recent article for Common Dreams, Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs describes the world’s trajectory towards multipolarity over the past three decades. He notes that, “in 1994, the G7 countries constituted 45.3% of world output, compared with 18.9% of world output in the BRICS countries (Brazil, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Russia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates). The tables have turned. The BRICS now produce 35.2% of world output, while the G7 countries produce 29.3%.”

The West’s political influence is also waning, as exemplified by the failure of the US-led sanctions against Russia from 2022: “When the US-led group introduced economic sanctions on Russia in 2022, very few countries outside the core alliance joined. As a result, Russia had little trouble shifting its trade to countries outside the US-led alliance.”

Sachs notes that emerging economies such as China, Russia are Iran are breaking the imperialist stranglehold on technological innovation. In China’s case, it “clearly has a large lead in the manufacturing of cutting-edge technologies needed for the global energy transition, including batteries, electric vehicles, 5G, photovoltaics, wind turbines, fourth generation nuclear power, and others. China’s rapid advances in space technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and other technologies is similarly impressive.” All of this is “underpinned by enormous R&D spending and its vast and growing labor force of scientists and engineers.”

And yet US strategists refuse to accept this new reality, and are instead doubling down on their efforts to maintain their hegemony, primarily through military means:

The US is still trying to maintain primacy in Europe by surrounding Russia in the Black Sea region with NATO forces, yet Russia has resisted this militarily in both Georgia and Ukraine. The US is still trying to maintain primacy in Asia by surrounding China in the South China Sea, a folly that can lead the US into a disastrous war over Taiwan. The US is also losing its standing in the Middle East by resisting the united call of the Arab world for recognition of Palestine as the 194th United Nations member state.

In a post-hegemonic, multipolar world, it is crucial that the US and its allies give up on this dangerous and futile quest for global dominance.

The World Bank’s release on May 30 of its latest estimates of national output (up to the year 2022) offers an occasion to reflect on the new geopolitics. The new data underscore the shift from a U.S.-led world economy to a multipolar world economy, a reality that U.S. strategists have so far failed to recognize, accept, or admit.

The World Bank figures make clear that the economic dominance of the West is over. In 1994, the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, U.K., U.S.) constituted 45.3% of world output, compared with 18.9% of world output in the BRICS countries (Brazil, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Russia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates). The tables have turned. The BRICS now produce 35.2% of world output, while the G7 countries produce 29.3%.

As of 2022, the largest five economies in descending order are China, the U.S., India, Russia, and Japan. China’s GDP is around 25% larger than the U.S.’ (roughly 30% of the U.S. GDP per person but with 4.2 times the population). Three of the top five countries are in the BRICS, while two are in the G7. In 1994, the largest five were the U.S., Japan, China, Germany, and India, with three in the G7 and two in the BRICS.

As the shares of world output change, so too does global power. The core U.S.-led alliance, which includes the U.S., Canada, U.K., European Union, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, was 56% of world output in 1994, but now is only 39.5%. As a result, the U.S. global influence is waning. As a recent vivid example, when the U.S.-led group introduced economic sanctions on Russia in 2022, very few countries outside the core alliance joined. As a result, Russia had little trouble shifting its trade to countries outside the U.S.-led alliance.

The world economy is experiencing a deep process of economic convergence, according to which regions that once lagged the West in industrialization in the 19th and 20th centuries are now making up for lost time. Economic convergence actually began in the 1950s as European imperial rule in Africa and Asia came to an end. It has proceeded in waves, starting first in East Asia, then roughly 20 years later India, and for the coming 20-40 years in Africa.

These and some other regions are growing much faster than the Western economies since they have more “headroom” to boost GDP by rapidly raising education levels, boosting workers’ skills, and installing modern infrastructure, including universal access to electrification and digital platforms. The emerging economies are often able to leapfrog the richer countries with state-of-the-art infrastructure (e.g., fast intercity rail, 5G, modern airports and seaports) while the richer countries remain stuck with aging infrastructure and expensive retrofits. The IMF’s World Economic Outlook projects that the emerging and developing economies will average growth of around 4% per year in the coming five years, while the high-income countries will average less than 2% per year.

It’s not only in skills and infrastructure that convergence is occurring. Many of the emerging economies, including China, Russia, Iran, and others, are advancing rapidly in technological innovations as well, in both civilian and military technologies.

China clearly has a large lead in the manufacturing of cutting-edge technologies needed for the global energy transition, including batteries, electric vehicles, 5G, photovoltaics, wind turbines, fourth generation nuclear power, and others. China’s rapid advances in space technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and other technologies is similarly impressive. In response, the U.S. has made the absurd claim that China has an “overcapacity” in these cutting-edge technologies, while the obvious truth is that the U.S. has a significant under-capacity in many sectors. China’s capacity for innovation and low-cost production is underpinned by enormous R&D spending and its vast and growing labor force of scientists and engineers.

Despite the new global economic realities, the U.S. security state still pursues a grand strategy of “primacy,” that is, the aspiration of the U.S. to be the dominant economic, financial, technological, and military power in every region of the world. The U.S. is still trying to maintain primacy in Europe by surrounding Russia in the Black Sea region with NATO forces, yet Russia has resisted this militarily in both Georgia and Ukraine. The U.S. is still trying to maintain primacy in Asia by surrounding China in the South China Sea, a folly that can lead the U.S. into a disastrous war over Taiwan. The U.S. is also losing its standing in the Middle East by resisting the united call of the Arab world for recognition of Palestine as the 194th United Nations member state.

Yet primacy is certainly not possible today, and was hubristic even 30 years ago when U.S. relative power was much greater. Today, the U.S. share of world output stands at 14.8%, compared with 18.5% for China, and the U.S. share of world population is a mere 4.1%, compared with 17.8% for China.

The trend toward broad global economic convergence means that U.S. hegemony will not be replaced by Chinese hegemony. Indeed, China’s share of world output is likely to peak at around 20% during the coming decade and thereafter to decline as China’s population declines. Other parts of the world, notably including India and Africa, are likely to show a large rise in their respective shares of global output, and with that, in their geopolitical weight as well.

We are therefore entering a post-hegemonic, multipolar world. It too is fraught with challenges. It could usher in a new “tragedy of great power politics,” in which several nuclear powers compete—in vain—for hegemony. It could lead to a breakdown of fragile global rules, such as open trade under the World Trade Organization. Or, it could lead to a world in which the great powers exercise mutual tolerance, restraint, and even cooperation, in accord with the U.N. Charter, because they recognize that only such statecraft will keep the world safe in the nuclear age.

Lavrov: China and Russia working to establish a fair multipolar world order

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently visited Beijing – a visit that is widely considered preparatory to a state visit by President Putin, which many reports suggest may be slated for May.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Lavrov on April 9. The Chinese leader asked Lavrov to convey sincere greetings to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Noting that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, Xi said China and Russia have embarked on a new path of harmonious coexistence and win-win cooperation between major countries and neighbours, which has benefited the two countries and their peoples and contributed wisdom and strength to international fairness and justice.

Xi stressed that China supports the Russian people in following a development path that suits their national conditions, and supports Russia in combating terrorism and maintaining social security and stability.

China always attaches great importance to the development of China-Russia relations and stands ready to strengthen bilateral communication with Russia and enhance multilateral strategic coordination in BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

He added that the two countries will show more responsibility, unite countries in the Global South in the spirit of equality, openness, transparency, and inclusiveness, promote the reform of the global governance system, and vigorously lead the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

Lavrov conveyed President Putin’s cordial greetings and good wishes to President Xi. He said that under the strong leadership of President Xi, China has made achievements that have attracted global attention and provided important opportunities for other countries to achieve common development, which Russia deeply admires.

He added that Russia is willing to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, strengthen bilateral and multilateral coordination, and work with other countries of the Global South to strengthen solidarity and cooperation in order to contribute to creating a more fair and just international order.

Lavrov also held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi the same day, with both sides expressing hope for strengthening practical cooperation in various fields.

They also had in-depth exchanges of view on the Ukraine issue, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and other international and regional issues of common concern.

At a joint press briefing after the talks, Wang said that in order to further consolidate and develop bilateral relations, China and Russia should follow five principles:

  • The two countries should always follow the strategic guidance of head-of-state diplomacy.
  • The two countries should always adhere to the principle of no-alliance, no-confrontation and no-targeting at any third party.
  • The two countries should always stay on the right course on major matters of principle. As permanent members of the UN Security Council and major emerging countries, China and Russia actively respond to the common aspirations and legitimate concerns of the people of all countries, advocate a new path of state-to-state relations featuring dialogue and partnership rather than confrontation and alliance, and actively promote the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.
  • The two countries should always pursue win-win results through cooperation. China and Russia will continue to advocate inclusive economic globalisation that benefits all, jointly oppose unilateralism and protectionism, and foster new drivers of global development and progress.
  • The two countries should always advocate an equal and orderly multipolar world. China and Russia support the central role of the United Nations in the global governance system and will further strengthen international coordination.

In his remarks, Minister Lavrov said: “The issues we are addressing in the economy, trade, investment, and innovative technology are directly related to the effort to establish a fair multipolar world order free from diktat, hegemony, and neo-colonial and colonial practices, which are being used to the utmost extent by the United States and the rest of the collective West that has bowed without question to Washington’s will.  

“China and Russia will continue  to defend the need to rectify this situation in international economic relations and to be committed to democratising these relations and returning to the principles that were proclaimed a while ago and consist in the requirement to respect the market processes, fair competition, inviolability of property, presumption of innocence, and much more, which the West is flouting in the grossest of manners by its practical steps expressed in imposing illegal sanctions on a number of states, including Russia.  But they are beginning to use the same policy with regard to the People’s Republic of China, including in a bid to restrict its economic and technological development capabilities, or, speaking plainly, to get rid of a rival.”

Noting the significance of the 75th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, he continued:

“Minister Wang Yi mentioned that we discussed the forthcoming 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. As a reminder, the Soviet Union was the first to recognise the People’s Republic of China the very next day it was established and helped it rebuild the nation. We agreed to prepare a series of commemorative events to mark this anniversary. We also explored potential initiatives for marking the upcoming 80th anniversary of victory over German Nazism and Japanese militarism next year. It’s important to recognise the pivotal role played by the peoples of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China in defeating Germany and militaristic Japan.”

Regarding the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Lavrov said that: “In June, the People’s Republic of China will replace Kazakhstan as the SCO chair. There are promising opportunities to align the SCO agendas for advancing this vast Eurasian region with the BRICS programmes, which advocate similar ideals and principles on a global scale. This alignment serves to advance the interests of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, especially amid the declining Western globalisation model which has lost almost all of its credibility.

The Russian Foreign Minister also addressed the conflict in Ukraine: “We are grateful to our Chinese friends for their unbiased, balanced position and their readiness to play a positive role in the political and diplomatic settlement. The well-known ‘12 points’ that China put forward in 2023 clearly articulate the need, first, to take into account the root causes of this conflict, and second, in efforts to resolve it, to seek to eliminate these causes, first and foremost, in the context of ensuring equal and indivisible security, including in Europe and in the entire world. Chinese friends make it clear that it is necessary to take into account the legitimate concerns of all parties involved, first and foremost their security. In this context, my Chinese colleagues and I have confirmed the conclusion about the futility of any international efforts that do not take into account Russia’s position but completely ignore it and promote an absolutely empty, ultimatum-like ‘Zelensky’s peace formula,’ and are therefore completely detached from reality.

“With regard to the situation around Taiwan, which is an integral part of China, we are unanimous with Beijing in rejecting any interference from outside, as it is an internal affair of the People’s Republic of China. We talked about the situation on the Korean peninsula. We are interested in peace and stability in this region, just like our Chinese friends.”

In response to a question regarding the specific economic problems created by the unlawful policy of unilateral sanctions, Lavrov noted:

“We will address them within the framework of BRICS and the SCO. At a time when the United States and its satellites are capable of disrupting steady financing, logistics, transport and investment chains at any moment, it is time to think about how these issues, such as transition to national currencies, creating alternative payment platforms, including the decisions in this regard adopted within BRICS, and the activities of regional organisations such as the above-mentioned SCO and CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), can be considered and addressed by different entities.”

The following articles were originally published by the Xinhua News Agency and on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Xi meets Russian foreign minister

BEIJING, April 9 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Beijing.

Continue reading Lavrov: China and Russia working to establish a fair multipolar world order

The global struggle against imperialism, for multipolarity, for peace and for socialism

The following text is based on a talk given by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez at the Young Communist League of Britain’s Harry Pollitt School, held on 6-7 April 2024 in Manchester.

Participating in a panel Towards A Multipolar World: The End of U.S. Hegemony – alongside YCL International Officer Berkan Çelebi, Fiona Edwards of No Cold War Britain, and comrades from the Communist Party of China, Leninist Komsomol of the Russian Federation and Student Federation of India, Carlos focuses on the meaning of the term multipolarity, and particularly on distinguishing it from inter-imperialist rivalry.

He notes that, while some people point to the period leading up to World War 1 as being ‘multipolar’, the modern idea of multipolarity “isn’t simply about readjustments in the relations between the major powers, but it also includes the rise of the Global South – the increasing influence of China, of India, of Brazil, of regional organisations such as the African Union, ASEAN and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, as well as international organisations such as the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement.”

Carlos continues:

Because this process of multipolarisation incorporates the rise of the Global South, and is being led to a significant degree by a socialist country, by which I mean China, it’s much more than just a change in cast; it’s a fundamental, a qualitative change.

He addresses the concern held by some on the left that, with the decline of the US, China will simply become the new imperialist power, noting that such an idea has no theoretical basis, and an observation of today’s reality and the state of international relations amply rebuts it.

Carlos concludes:

The most important dynamic of global politics today is this struggle between, on the one hand, an emerging multipolarity, and on the other, the attempts by the imperialists – led by the US – to preserve their hegemony. Clearly we can’t stand on the sidelines in this fight. Clearly we must do whatever we can in the struggle against imperialism, for multipolarity, for peace and for socialism. That global struggle is our struggle.

I’d like to use my few minutes today to go into a bit of depth on the subject of multipolarity.

This is a word that we hear increasingly often, but in my view it’s not something that’s particularly well understood.

In particular, in some parts of the left, multipolarity is thought to be a sort of synonym for inter-imperialist rivalry.

People understand that there’s a shift from a unipolar situation – the post-Soviet ‘end of history’ of the 1990s – and that increasingly there are multiple centres of power. Which of course is part of the definition of multipolarity.

But they point out: the world situation in 1914 was also ‘multipolar’. The US was a power, Britain was a power, France, Germany, Japan, Russia.

But there was nothing progressive or peaceful about that version of multipolarity; in fact it was precisely that intense, violent rivalry between competing imperialist powers that led to the terrible death and destruction of World War 1.

So what do we mean when we talk about multipolarity?

Jenny Clegg, who’s written an excellent book on the subject, called China’s Global Strategy: Towards a Multipolar World, defines it as a situation where there are “multiple centres of power, all with a certain capacity to influence world affairs, shaping a negotiated order.”

She adds a very important point that multipolarity isn’t simply about readjustments in the relations between the major powers, but it also includes the rise of the Global South – the increasing influence of China, of India, of Brazil, of regional organisations such as the African Union, ASEAN and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, as well as international organisations such as the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Jenny’s book was published in 2009. Since that time BRICS has become a very important body in the push towards multipolarisation, as has the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

With multiple centres of power, you shift away from a situation where one country can impose its will on the others. Which means specifically, in our current context, that you undermine the US-led imperialist world system. You deprive the imperialist bloc of its power to determine the fate of the rest of the world.

This is of course profoundly important and welcome.

The US-led imperialist world system is what’s driving the genocide taking place this very moment in Gaza.

The US’s insistence on upholding and expanding its hegemony in Europe is what’s driving the conflict in Ukraine.

The genocidal war on, and occupation of, Iraq – in which an estimated one million civilians lost their lives, and which set the country’s development back by decades – took place in that same context.

The 20-year war on Afghanistan, which has brought relentless misery to that country.

NATO’s war of regime change against Libya, which transformed a prosperous and thriving country – the country with the highest human development index in Africa – into a failed state.

NATO’s war to destroy Yugoslavia.

The Western-backed Saudi war against Yemen, creating what until six months ago was the worst humanitarian disaster the world had witnessed this century.

Suffocating sanctions against Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, the DPRK, Zimbabwe and other countries.

Structural adjustment programs, economic coercion, loans tied to privatisation and deregulation, taking advantage of the dollar’s role in the global economy in order to threaten, coerce and blackmail.

Such is the reality of the US-led imperialist world system. Such is the so-called “rules-based international order” that Biden and his ilk talk so often about.

Undermining and overcoming that situation clearly represents a historic victory for the peoples suffering under it.

And because this process of multipolarisation incorporates the rise of the Global South, and is being led to a significant degree by a socialist country, by which I mean China, it’s much more than just a change in cast; it’s a fundamental, a qualitative change.

It’s not Spanish and Portuguese domination making way for Dutch domination.

It’s not Dutch domination making way for British domination.

It’s not British domination making way for US domination.

It’s an end to the whole system of domination and hegemony. It’s an end to the dynamic whereby a small group of countries sets itself up as ‘rule makers’ and the remaining countries are ‘rule takers’.

It’s an end to the 500-year-old division of the world into oppressor and oppressed nations.

What about China?

Some people seem to worry that, with the decline of the US and the rise of China, China itself could emerge as a new imperialist power.

This is an idea that simply doesn’t hold up, at either a theoretical or practical level.

As of a century ago, the division of the world among the great powers is complete – as observed by Lenin in his famous pamphlet on imperialism. The only way for a new imperialist power to emerge is to displace existing ones, typically by means of war. But China’s record is remarkably peaceful.

Whereas the US maintains over 800 overseas military bases, spends over a trillion dollars annually on its military, and is in a state of more-or-less permanent war, China’s military hasn’t dropped a bomb in over four decades.

China’s per-capita military spending is around one-twentieth of that of the US, in spite of the fact that China is strategically far more vulnerable, and faces a long-running and escalating campaign of containment and encirclement.

China has peaceful development literally written into its constitution. China’s a nuclear power, but it maintains a strictly defensive nuclear posture: it has around 300 nuclear warheads, compared to the US’s 5,500, and it has had a policy of no-first use ever since its first successful nuclear test in 1964.

The Chinese leadership is clear and consistent. In the words of Xi Jinping, as it modernises and becomes more prosperous, “China will neither tread the old path of colonisation and plunder, nor the crooked path taken by some countries to seek hegemony once they grow strong.”

If you look at China’s role in the world – for example in relation to the crises in Gaza, Ukraine or Yemen – its approach is to settle difference through dialogue and to promote peace and cooperation.

China’s global strategy is profoundly different to that of the US or Britain. These countries are driven by a particular economic and political logic that China isn’t subject to.

The relentless drive for expansion, for domination of the world’s land, resources, labour and markets is a function of the expansionist logic of capitalism. A capitalist state represents a capitalist ruling class – the group of people that own and deploy capital, for whom “expand or die” is a basic law of economics.

As the New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman put it with such shocking honesty: “the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist – McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas”.

But China’s development is driven by a socialist dynamic. Unlike the imperialist powers, China is not a state run by and for the capitalist class, and China’s rise isn’t built on colonialism or imperialism. It’s built on the basis of a workers’ state, the leadership of the Communist Party, public ownership, an economic strategy directed towards meeting the needs of the people, and of course the incredibly hard work of the Chinese people.

In fact, the existence of a socialist camp is a crucial difference between today’s emerging multipolarity and the system of international relations at the time of World War 1. The world changed forever in October 1917 – that date marks the beginning of the end of era of imperialism. Today Socialist China is the single most important factor driving this historic shift in international relations.

Multipolarity and the path to socialism

So, multipolarity means a framework for ending US hegemony, and for establishing a more democratic, more equal, more peaceful system of international relations, in which all countries enjoy sovereignty.

This is valuable on its own terms, but it also provides foundations for humanity’s global transition to socialism, because it means allowing the nations of the world to defend their sovereignty and choose their own development path.

As Samir Amin put it in his 2013 book Beyond US Hegemony – Assessing the Prospects for a Multipolar World, multipolarity “provides the framework for the possible and necessary overcoming of capitalism”.

New Cold War

Needless to say, what’s good for the socialist countries, for the global working class and oppressed nations, is not good for the imperialists.

So as multipolarity gains strength, so does the resistance to it from the Western ruling classes. Hence the New Cold War, hence the rejuvenation of NATO, hence the creation of AUKUS, hence the trade war and the semiconductor war. The US and its allies are doing everything they can to reverse the multipolar trajectory.

Indeed, the most important dynamic of global politics today is this struggle between, on the one hand, an emerging multipolarity, and on the other, the attempts by the imperialists – led by the US – to preserve their hegemony.

Clearly we can’t stand on the sidelines in this fight. Clearly we must do whatever we can in the struggle against imperialism, for multipolarity, for peace and for socialism. That global struggle is our struggle.

Booker Ngesa Omole: Amidst the rise of the Global South, we welcome China’s engagement with Africa

On Saturday 16 March, Friends of Socialist China hosted an event on Africa, China and the Rise of the Global South at the Marx Memorial Library in London (and online). The library was packed to capacity, and heard powerful contributions from Booker Ngesa Omole (National Vice-Chairperson and National Organising Secretary of the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK)), Roger McKenzie (Foreign Editor, Morning Star), Fiona Sim (The Black Liberation Alliance), Cecil Gutzmore (veteran Pan-African community activist and historian), Alex Gordon (RMT President), and Radhika Desai (Convenor, International Manifesto Group). Unfortunately Frank Murray of Caribbean Labour Solidarity was unable to attend due to personal reasons. Roger McKenzie’s event report can be read in the Morning Star.

Booker’s wide-ranging and passionate keynote speech focused on China-Africa relations and China’s role in the world. Booker noted that his two visits to China in 2023 “filled me with a renewed sense of hope and convinced me of the superiority of the Chinese socio-economic and political system over the liberal Western model often imposed on African nations wholesale.”

On the economic relationship between China and Kenya – and Africa more generally – Booker observed that the character of this partnership is profoundly different to the exploitative relationships that African nations have historically had with Western powers. “This relationship has highlighted an alternative approach to engaging with development partners and international capital. Unlike the United States and Western nations, which have historically imposed detrimental policies on African nations through institutions like the IMF and World Bank—such as the infamous Structural Adjustment Plan—China has adopted a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. This shift has spared African nations from the suffering and hardships inflicted by such destructive policies.”

Booker went on to state that “the United States and the rest of the West have used exploitation and force to impose their will for far too long.” However, in an era of emerging multipolarity and a rising Global South, “the geopolitical environment has fundamentally changed, with the Global South emerging as a major actor in world affairs. And it is amidst this shift that China has emerged as a beacon of hope for the oppressed and exploited.” In relation to imperialism, “China stands as a counterforce, presenting an alternative path founded on mutual respect and cooperation… China’s policy of non-interference starkly opposes Western interventionism, whose legacies of looting and colonialism still haunt and define regions like Africa.”

Turning his attention to the propaganda war on China, Booker asserted: “The racist and cynical attacks on China are intolerable”, and that “labelling China as an imperial power is both ridiculous and reactionary.” He reminded the audience that Africans know only too well what imperialism looks like: “Having experienced direct and indirect imperialist interventions in Africa, we have witnessed the devastating consequences of imperialist wars and interventions.” This contrasts starkly with China’s engagement with the continent, which is based on mutual benefit, respect for sovereignty, and assisting African countries to develop their own economies and infrastructure. “Leveraging China’s resources and expertise, Africa can accelerate its development and address important issues such as infrastructural deficiencies, industrialization, and poverty.”

Booker concluded:

The voices of the Global South demand respect and sovereignty, challenging the hegemony of the West. Amidst the rise of the Global South, we welcome China’s engagement with Africa in this new era of collaboration.

This speech was first published on the website of the Communist Party of Kenya.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Esteemed Comrades, it is an honour to stand before you today, representing the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) and the Pan African Socialist Alliance (PASA). I extend my deepest gratitude to the Friends of Socialist China (FSC), particularly Comrade Keith Bennett, for their steadfast support and for granting me this forum to address such a significant topic.

Gathered here in the Karl Marx Memorial Library, we are reminded of the enduring influence of Marx’s ideas, which continue to guide us in our struggle for a just and egalitarian society. It is the ideal place as we embark on a discussion that not only holds relevance but also holds the key to shaping the future of the Global South: “China and the Rise of the Global South.”

Comrades, today I represent the Communist Party of Kenya, a party that has undergone a split resulting in the formation of two factions: the majority faction, which I am part of, and a minority faction that has entered into a strategic alliance with the current kleptocratic regime and serves as a puppet of US interests in Nairobi. While this split can be seen as both fortunate and unfortunate, it underscores the complex dynamics within our party.

It is fortunate in the sense that a united Communist Party of Kenya based on opportunism would serve no purpose for the Kenyan working class. However, it is unfortunate because a united party would undoubtedly be stronger and more effective in advancing the interests of the working class. Yet, such is the nature of development—just as in the human body, where cells divide and multiply to maintain health, our party undergoes transformations to adapt to changing circumstances. I proudly represent the majority faction of the Communist Party of Kenya, which stands in staunch opposition to the comprador ruling class in Nairobi.

As for the Pan-African Socialist Alliance (PASA), it is a revolutionary movement that unites Pan-Africanist organizations in Kenya and beyond. Dedicated to achieving African liberation and unity on a global scale, PASA vehemently opposes imperialism in all its manifestations, including colonialism, settler-colonialism, Zionism, and neo-colonialism. Moreover, PASA advocates against social oppressions rooted in gender, class, or nationality.

Aligned with genuine Pan-African forces worldwide, PASA advocates for a unified socialist and non-capitalist path to development in Africa and the African diaspora. It stands in solidarity with oppressed peoples fighting against labour exploitation and land exploitation, striving for a future where all Africans can thrive free from oppression and exploitation.

In 2023, I had the privilege of visiting China twice, where I witnessed first-hand the remarkable achievements of Chinese Socialist Construction. These visits filled me with a renewed sense of hope and convinced me of the superiority of the Chinese socio-economic and political system over the liberal Western model often imposed on African nations wholesale. Contrary to Western rhetoric, I found a nation and its people in harmony with nature, dispelling the myth that Chinese socialist development wreaks ecological havoc.

Despite potential language barriers, I was pleasantly surprised to find that many young Chinese individuals in the streets of Beijing were proficient in English and engaged in lively debates. Unlike the institutionalized racism prevalent in the United States, China actively discourages and punishes racist behaviour—a stark contrast to the US, where racial privilege persists. It became evident to me that Western media propagates falsehoods far too often, obscuring the realities of Chinese society and governance.

Allow me to revisit my 2017 commentary on the Africa-China relationship. The partnership between China and Kenya, as well as Africa at large, has not only spurred remarkable infrastructural development but has also fostered a genuine cultural exchange between Chinese and African communities. It has provided Africans with first-hand insights into Chinese culture, dispelling the half-truths and misinformation perpetuated against China and its people, often propagated globally by western media outlets like CNN, BBC, Fox News et al.

Moreover, this relationship has highlighted an alternative approach to engaging with development partners and international capital. Unlike the United States and Western nations, which have historically imposed detrimental policies on African nations through institutions like the IMF and World Bank—such as the infamous Structural Adjustment Plan—China has adopted a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. This shift has spared African nations from the suffering and hardships inflicted by such destructive policies.

Another notable aspect is the efficiency with which projects are executed. Previously, bureaucratic red tape and exorbitant costs often prolonged project timelines, sometimes spanning several years before ground activities commenced. However, with the influx of Chinese investment, we have witnessed a swift turnaround. Projects are now executed promptly, delivering high-quality results. This stands in stark contrast to the portrayal by Western media, which often dismisses products and projects from China and Russia as inferior before their arrival. These words remain true today even though the attitude of the ruling class in the global north towards the Chinese socialist experiment remains unchanged, more than five years later.

The challenges facing the Global South are vast, encompassing a myriad of socio-economic and political issues rooted in colonial and neo-colonial histories. From underdevelopment to disease, violence, and exploitation, these afflictions persist. Yet, amidst these struggles, it is essential to recognize the shared responsibility between the global North and South.

While geopolitical unrest and interventions ravage countless lives worldwide, there is a glimmer of hope. The vulnerability of imperialism is laid bare in places like Gaza, where Western hegemony faces daily erosion, and in conflicts like the NATO-led proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, which exposes fractures in imperialist stability. Recent events in the Congo underscore the diminishing influence of Western imperialism.

In the Sahel region, including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, French imperialism falters on a daily basis. In the North, Libya stands in history and in the present as the perfect example of imperialist violence and failure. Southwards, Somalia’s position since the Black Hawk Down incident highlights the pitfalls of US interventions. The Sudanese people have remained strong in their continued resistance against imperialism since the war broke out in Sudan.

Eritrea, often likened to the “Cuba of Africa,” bears the brunt of punitive unilateral actions and economic sanctions imposed by the United States. Its perceived transgression? Embracing self-reliant economic strategies. This exemplifies the treatment meted out by the US towards African nations daring to diverge from the neoliberal norms dictated by the West. Such brazen arrogance of the US begs the question: How can such dominance prevail on a global scale? The inevitable outcome is not progress but rather a descent into chaos, perpetuating a cycle of disorder and instability similar to what has now become of Libya.

And every day, the escalating Cold War tensions with China further shake the foundations of the fragile imperialist economy. Overall, the emerging picture reveals that the decline of the US empire mirrors historical patterns, signalling the dawn of a new era where empires inevitably fall.

Continue reading Booker Ngesa Omole: Amidst the rise of the Global South, we welcome China’s engagement with Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zhang Jun: We must actively advocate the equitable and orderly multi-polarisation of the world

The following is the full text of the remarks by Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council briefing on Ukraine held on February 23, 2024. 

Noting that the Ukraine crisis is a “tragedy that could have been avoided”, Zhang sets out four points.

First, he says that efforts should remain focused on a political settlement. “The most pressing priority of the hour is to stop hostilities, launch peace talks, and restore peace. Peace is in the interest of all parties. The sooner peace talks begin, the less the damage that is done. Any action that is conducive to peace and greater trust, however small it may seem, is worth our genuine effort as long as there is a glimmer of hope. We call upon the parties concerned to show a sense of responsibility and make constructive diplomatic efforts to promote deescalation and detente. It is favourable conditions for the resumption of negotiations that they should be creating, not man-made obstacles to make peace harder to achieve, much less to supply weapons, stoke the fire and pour oil on it, and to profit from the prolonged crisis.”

Second is to stay the course towards common security. “We must respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries and never lose sight of the fact that security is indivisible, that one country’s security cannot be achieved at the expense of other countries’ security, and that regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding a military bloc. The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries should be taken seriously and addressed properly. It must be pointed out that the situation Europe is facing today is closely related to the repeated eastward expansion of NATO since the end of the Cold War. We encourage NATO to do some soul-searching, come out of the cage of Cold War mentality, and refrain from acting as an agent of trouble instigating bloc confrontation. We urge the head of NATO to look at the world through an objective lens, stop saber-rattling, and do things that are genuinely conducive to world peace.”

Third, “the spillover effects of the crisis must be proactively managed. The world is in enough turmoil. It cannot afford to be hit by more crises that are bigger than what we already have. Attempting to solve problems by creating more problems does not work. Certain countries, using the Ukraine crisis as a pretext, have indiscriminately imposed unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction and exerted unjustified pressure on the businesses of other countries, which has adversely impacted the global industrial and supply chains and disrupted the order of global trade… China firmly opposes the unlawful sanctions imposed on Chinese companies by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union using the Ukraine issue as an excuse.”

Fourth, “we must actively advocate the equitable and orderly multi-polarisation of the world. The Cold War ended over 30 years ago… Humanity is a community with a shared future. All countries, large and small, are equal members of the global community when it comes to international relations and are entitled to a place in the international arena… For the world to slide back to the colonial age is not an option.”

In conclusion, Zhang notes that: “China played no part in the creation of the Ukraine crisis, nor is China a party to the crisis itself. We have not been watching the fire from across the river, much less cashing in on the crisis. On the question of Ukraine, China has always maintained that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be observed, the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously, and all efforts conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis should be supported.”

Shortly after these remarks were delivered China announced that its Special Envoy Li Hui would begin another round of shuttle peace diplomacy, with scheduled stops including Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, France, and the headquarters of the European Union (EU) in Brussels.

The following article originally appeared on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Madam President, 

I thank Secretary-General Guterres for his earlier briefing. 

The ongoing Ukraine crisis is threatening to become a protracted, compounded, and wider one. This tragedy that could have been avoided has become what it is today. This is most distressing and worthy of deep reflection. The international community should pull together in search of a just and sensible solution to settle the crisis politically and let peace prevail as soon as possible.

First, efforts should remain focused on a political settlement. The Ukraine crisis has caused incalculable damage. The most pressing priority of the hour is to stop hostilities, launch peace talks, and restore peace. Peace is in the interest of all parties. The sooner peace talks begin, the less the damage that is done. Any action that is conducive to peace and greater trust, however small it may seem, is worth our genuine effort as long as there is a glimmer of hope. We call upon the parties concerned to show a sense of responsibility and make constructive diplomatic efforts to promote deescalation and detente. It is favorable conditions for the resumption of negotiations that they should be creating, not man-made obstacles to make peace harder to achieve, much less to supply weapons, stoke the fire and pour oil on it, and to profit from the prolonged crisis. We look forward to greater efforts by the UN to promote peace talks and alleviate the humanitarian situation.

Second, we must stay the course towards common security. In the face of complexities and challenges, we must be firmly committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security. We must respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries and never lose sight of the fact that security is indivisible, that one country’s security cannot be achieved at the expense of other countries’ security, and that regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding a military bloc. The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries should be taken seriously and addressed properly. It must be pointed out that the situation Europe is facing today is closely related to the repeated eastward expansion of NATO since the end of the Cold War. We encourage NATO to do some soul-searching, come out of the cage of Cold War mentality, and refrain from acting as an agent of trouble instigating bloc confrontation. We urge the head of NATO to look at the world through an objective lens, stop saber-rattling, and do things that are genuinely conducive to world peace.

Third, the spillover effects of the crisis must be proactively managed. The world is in enough turmoil. It cannot afford to be hit by more crises that are bigger than what we already have. Attempting to solve problems by creating more problems does not work. Certain countries, using the Ukraine crisis as a pretext, have indiscriminately imposed unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction and exerted unjustified pressure on the businesses of other countries, which has adversely impacted the global industrial and supply chains and disrupted the order of global trade. The world economy is interdependent, and it is wrong to instrumentalize or weaponize the world economy. China firmly opposes the unlawful sanctions imposed on Chinese companies by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union using the Ukraine issue as an excuse. China will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and citizens.

Fourth, we must actively advocate the equitable and orderly multi-polarization of the world. The Cold War ended over 30 years ago. Since then, the international landscape has undergone profound adjustments and the multi-polarization of the world has picked up pace. This is the trend of the times and the tide of history. Humanity is a community with a shared future. All countries, large and small, are equal members of the global community when it comes to international relations and are entitled to a place in the international arena. All countries should jointly abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, adhere to the universally accepted basic norms governing international relations, and practice true multilateralism together without selective application or double standards. For the world to slide back to the colonial age is not an option. International affairs should not be monopolized by a minority of countries. Trying to obstruct other countries’ progress through hegemony and bullying is not right, and it would not work. On the other hand, major countries have a special responsibility for world peace and security, and must conduct their relations responsibly and manage their differences properly in pursuit of win-win cooperation.

Madam President,

China played no part in the creation of the Ukraine crisis, nor is China a party to the crisis itself. We have not been watching the fire from across the river, much less cashing in on the crisis. On the question of Ukraine, China has always maintained that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be observed, the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously, and all efforts conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis should be supported. China will continue to play a constructive role and make unremitting efforts towards a political settlement of the Ukraine issue.

Thank you, Madam President.

President Xi’s three key global initiatives on development, security and civilisation

On the eve of China’s annual twin parliamentary sessions, China Dally published the below interview with our co-editor Keith Bennett, focusing on President Xi’s three key global initiatives on development, security and civilisation.

According to Keith, they constitute a “step-by-step process, [whereby] China is setting out its view of the world – not only the view of the world as it is, but a view of the world as it should be, and what kind of world humanity should be aspiring to.”

He notes that the Global Development Initiative, first proposed by President Xi at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021, has received a warm welcome from the majority of countries in the Global South, as its philosophies and policies are in the interests of the majority of the people in every country. 

“This reflects the fact that development is still the most pressing need for the majority of humanity… But what are the things that people need to realise development? Peace and security.”

The following article was first published by China Daily.

China’s three major global initiatives on development, security, and civilization have been welcomed by the majority of the world, and the West needs to gain a better understanding of them, said Keith Bennett, an analyst of international relations.

“In a step-by-step process, China is setting out its view of the world — not only the view of the world as it is, but a view of the world as it should be, and what kind of world humanity should be aspiring to,” said Bennett, co-editor of the online platform Friends of Socialist China, as he discussed the Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative and Global Civilization Initiative.

He added that the two sessions, the annual gatherings of the National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, provide an important window for the West to learn about China’s domestic policy and its global vision.

NPC deputies and CPPCC members come to the sessions representing all walks of life, and the government report is a result of many deliberations and wide-ranging consultations.

“A lot of people in the West say that China is unpredictable. But actually, China puts forward its policies and its philosophy and its proposals very clearly,” said Bennett, who studied Chinese history and politics at the University of London in the late 1970s and has visited China more than 200 times.

“I think whether people support China, or they don’t support China, they actually should understand China first,” said Bennett, who is also a long-time member of the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding, which was founded in 1965 to promote understanding and friendship between the British and Chinese people.

Bennett said the three initiatives outline China’s experience and wisdom that can be used to deal with current world problems, such as how to achieve growth for developing countries and how to resolve conflicts in the Middle East.

Since President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021, the initiative has received a warm welcome by the majority of countries in the Global South, as its philosophies and policies are “in the interests of the majority of the people in every country”, Bennett said.

According to China’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Vienna, more than 100 countries and international organizations have voiced support for the GDI, and over 70 countries had joined the Group of Friends of the GDI by the end of last year.

“This reflects the fact that development is still the most pressing need for the majority of humanity,” Bennett said.

“But what are the things that people need to realize development? Peace and security.”

In that regard, the Global Security Initiative was put forward by Xi at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference in April 2022, stressing the importance of upholding a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and adhering to non-interference in internal affairs.

Last year, the reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia under a China-brokered deal was a remarkable achievement of the initiative, Bennett said, adding that he has observed how China has been assisting in reconciliations in various regions.

“All three initiatives are linked as a whole. It’s like you put one on top of the other to make the house,” he said, adding that the Global Civilization Initiative, which was introduced by Xi during the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting in March last year has been indispensable in realizing those achievements.

“In the Western capitalist countries, Samuel Huntington’s ideas of a ‘clash of civilizations’ find a strong resonance… but at base, it is a racist conception which constructs a hierarchy of civilizations, elevating that of the West and placing them in an adversarial and antagonistic relationship to one another,” he wrote in another recent commentary.

“In stark contrast, the Global Civilization Initiative makes clear that the history of humanity, spanning thousands of years, has seen a variety of civilizations come into being, develop and thrive, and this has in return promoted the overall development of human society,” Bennett said.

China, a member of the Global South, cares about and takes root in the Global South

The United Russia party organised the International Forum of Supporters of the Struggle against Modern Practices of Colonialism, “For the Freedom of Nations!” in Moscow, from February 16-17. It was attended by more than 400 participants from over 60 political parties in more than 55 countries as well as prominent people from other social circles.

In his message of greetings, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that: “Neocolonialism is a shameful legacy of centuries of plunder and exploitation of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world. We see its aggressive manifestations today in the attempts of the collective West to preserve its domination by any means, to economically subjugate other countries, [and] to deprive them of sovereignty.”

Referring primarily to the historical legacy of the Soviet Union, he added: “I would like to note that our country has done a lot to destroy the foundations of the colonial system and support national liberation movements. It has provided serious assistance to the young independent states in ensuring security, developing the economy, and solving acute social and humanitarian problems. And today, we are ready to join forces in the struggle for genuine freedom and justice, for progress for all countries and peoples, for the formation of a democratic multipolar world order. It is based on the principles of international law, respect for each other’s legitimate interests, mutual trust and constructive cooperation.”

Chairman of United Russia Dmitry Medvedev proposed that the UN General Assembly consider the possibility of establishing a Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Colonialism on December 14, the date of the adoption of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in 1960, and also to systematise information regarding the crimes committed during the colonial period, so as to begin an objective assessment of the damage caused by them.

As the head of the United Russia Commission on International Cooperation, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, recalled that Russia has previously been a leader in promoting decolonisation processes. “We propose to develop common approaches of the world majority to the understanding of neocolonialism, to complete the work on decolonisation initiated by Soviet diplomacy at the UN. To this day, 17 territories remain in colonial dependence. The time has come to join forces and start systematic work to eradicate neocolonial practices.”

Entrusted by the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee, Minister Liu Jianchao of the party’s International Department (IDCPC) extended warm congratulations on the establishment of the forum and the convening of the conference. He said, in the current world intertwined with turbulence and changes, humanity faces many common challenges. The establishment of the forum conforms to the trend of the times for countries around the world to pursue peace, development and cooperation, and builds a good dialogue platform for political parties in various countries to jointly respond to challenges. Colonialism once brought grave disasters to the world and left a very disgraceful page in human history. Even today, it continues to appear in new ways, bringing pain and disaster to the world. China, like most of the countries represented by the participating political parties, emerged from the historical quagmire of colonialism. After going through untold hardships and making huge sacrifices, China achieved national independence and people’s liberation. China, a member of the Global South, cares about and takes root in the Global South. China breathes the same breath with other countries of the Global South and pursues a shared future with them. China is willing to work with all progressive forces to jointly safeguard international fairness and justice, resolutely oppose colonialism of all forms and manifestations, and work for a more just and equitable international order.

Kim Su Gil, alternate member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and chief secretary of its Pyongyang Municipal Committee, said in his speech that the desire of the peoples of all the countries to build up their own strength and develop in their own way is getting stronger day by day and, accordingly, the world’s multipolarisation has become an irresistible trend of the times. He continued:

The US and the West, very fearful of their waning dominant position, are clinging to the modern-day neocolonialist policy to maintain political and military subjugation and economic infiltration by inciting inter-state, inter-national and inter-religious confrontations and distrust and causing bloodshed in different parts of the world. Thus, the structure of a ‘new Cold War’ has been fixed on a global scale and proxy wars broke out in Ukraine and the Middle East, more badly plaguing the international security environment.

We will never tolerate the US arrogant infringement upon sovereignty, consistently holding fast to independence against imperialism as the first state policy in the future, too, and will strive to defend justice and peace and establish a new international order while strengthening unity and solidarity with all the countries and political parties aspiring after independence.

He extended the warmest militant respect and full support to the fraternal Russian people and service members who have turned out in the heroic struggle to firmly defend the sovereign rights, development and interests of the country against the hegemonic policy of the US and Western group.

He firmly reaffirmed that the WPK would always fight shoulder to shoulder with all the progressive political parties of the world in the struggle for opposing the tyranny and arbitrary practices of the imperialists and for building an independent new world.

Among other important political figures and forces participating in the forum were Faustin-Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic; Milorad Dodik, President of the Republika Srpska (in Bosnia and Herzegovina); Mbalula Fikile, Secretary-General of the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa; Oleg Romanov, Chairman  of the Belaya Rus Party of Belarus; as well as delegations from the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP), the Communist Party of Cuba, Workers’ Party of Brazil, Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova, and Union Solidarity and Development Party of Myanmar, among many others.

Dmitry Medvedev said that United Russia will hold a meeting of the standing committee of the forum in July in Vladivostok. It will be timed to coincide with the BRICS inter-party conference, which United Russia plans to organise as part of Russia’s chairmanship of the cooperation body.

In addition, the Forum itself will be held every two years, and its organising committee has been transformed into a standing committee with executive powers until 2026.

The following articles were originally published on the website of the IDCPC.

Liu Jianchao Attends the Forum of Supporters of the Struggle Against Modern Practices of Neocolonialism “For the Freedom of Nations”

Moscow, February 16th—Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, attended and addressed here today the opening ceremony of the Forum of Supporters of the Struggle Against Modern Practices of Neocolonialism “For the Freedom of Nations”.

Entrusted by the CPC Central Committee, Liu extended warm congratulations on the establishment of the forum and the convening of the conference. He said, in the current world intertwined with turbulence and changes, mankind faces many common challenges. The establishment of the forum conforms to the trend of the times for countries around the world to pursue peace, development and cooperation, and builds a good dialogue platform for political parties in various countries to jointly respond to challenges. Colonialism once brought grave disasters to the world and left a very disgraceful page in human history. Even today, it continues to appear in new ways, bringing pain and disaster to the world. China, like most of the countries represented by the participating political parties, emerged from the historical quagmire of colonialism. After going through untold hardships and making huge sacrifices, China achieved national independence and people’s liberation. China, a member of the Global South, cares about and takes root in the Global South. China breathes the same breath with other countries of the Global South and pursues a shared future with them. China is willing to work with all progressive forces to jointly safeguard international fairness and justice, resolutely oppose colonialism of all forms and manifestations, and work for a more just and equitable international order.

Liu said, China is currently advancing the noble cause of building a great country and national rejuvenation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization. China adheres to the path of peaceful and high-quality development, and high-level opening up to the outside world. 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. Instead, China will provide new opportunities brought by Chinese modernization for all countries in the world to realize modernization. The CPC calls on all sides to jointly defend all countries’ rights to develop and prosper, maintain world peace, promote exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, promote the reform of the global governance system, and help build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Continue reading China, a member of the Global South, cares about and takes root in the Global South

Hugo Chávez, Xi Jinping, and a global community of shared future

The following is the text of the presentation delivered by Carlos Martinez, co-editor of Friends of Socialist China, at a round-table discussion on Venezuela’s foreign policy in a changing world, held on 20 February 2024 at Bolivar Hall in London. The event was organised by the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the UK in coordination with the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

The speech discusses Hugo Chávez’s vision of a multipolar world, and explores how that vision overlaps with China’s strategy of pursuing a global community of shared future.

Other speakers at the event included Her Excellency Rocío Maneiro, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the UK; Francisco Domínguez, Secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign; Calvin Tucker, Campaigns Manager of the Morning Star; and Radhika Desai, Convenor of the International Manifesto Group.

Dear friends and comrades, thanks so much for inviting me to today’s important event.

And thank you in particular to Her Excellency compañera-embajadora Rocío Maneiro, who continues to do such a wonderful job representing her country and standing in solidarity with the progressive movement here in Britain and with the working class and oppressed peoples of the world.

Thanks also to the indefatigable comrade Francisco Domínguez for his hard work putting this event together.

I’m going to focus these brief remarks on the connection between Venezuela’s foreign policy and that of China.

As you’re all no doubt aware, Hugo Chávez had an extremely far-sighted worldview. While the Bolivarian Revolution has always aimed to have good relations with the US, its foreign policy has nonetheless been informed by the identification of that country as the principal enemy to sovereignty and to socialism, not just in Venezuela but throughout the world.

And of course the US’s consistently aggressive stance in relation to Venezuela – its campaign of sanctions, of coercion, of destabilisation – has only confirmed what Chávez and his comrades already knew.

Chávez saw Venezuela as part of a global movement challenging half a millennium of colonialism, imperialism and racism; a global movement that included the growing leftist and pro-sovereignty trend in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also China, Cuba, Russia, Libya (until NATO’s war of regime change in 2011), Syria, South Africa, Vietnam, Iran, the DPRK, Belarus and others.

This global movement seeks to put an end to the unipolar era of US hegemony, and to create a multipolar – or as Chávez called it, pluripolar – world, with multiple centres of power, in which countries and regions all have their role in global politics and in which no one power can impose its will on others.

Under the guidance of Hugo Chávez and then Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela has become one of the most prominent voices in support of this multipolar project.

Indeed, one of the slogans of Chávez’s 2012 presidential election campaign was: “to develop a new international geopolitics forming a multicentric and pluripolar world to achieve equilibrium in the universe and guarantee planetary peace.”

Continue reading Hugo Chávez, Xi Jinping, and a global community of shared future

BRICS+ and the future of the international order

This thought-provoking article by Elias Jabbour – associate professor of theory and policy of economic planning at Rio de Janeiro State University, and member of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group – explores the shifting dynamics of global power and the emergence of BRICS+ as a significant factor in the evolving international order. The article underlines the significance of China’s socialist development in particular – which has positioned it at the centre of a rising multipolar world – and an emerging “globalisation with Chinese characteristics” which promotes development, peace and common prosperity, in contrast to the enforced inequality and violence that characterise imperialist globalisation.

Elias notes the resurgence of the Global South as a key factor in the transformation of the international order, and the role of BRICS+ in this process. While the Global South is made up of “a heterogeneous set of countries, with differentiated levels of development”, these countries collectively “have the ability to converge on some fundamental issues for their own future, and for that of humanity itself.” Put in other words, the countries of the Global South have a shared interest in opposing imperialism, defending sovereignty and pursuing peaceful development. China stands at the centre of the process of uniting the countries of the Global South in promoting a multipolar, democratic and fair system of international relations.

The article also highlights the significance of the Belt and Road Initiative as a key component of China’s global strategy, and the potential for BRI to transform the global economic landscape by promoting infrastructure development, economic integration, and a shift away from the financialised neoliberal model associated with the US.

Elias discusses the disastrous consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the concurrent global imposition of neoliberalism. On the other hand, the US’s moment of triumph did not last long, and the last decade and a half have witnessed “the erosion of the ability to reinvent capitalism due to financialisation and the emergence of a socialist country (China) as an economic power whose path reflects nothing of the neoliberal recipes sold by the IMF and the World Bank have contributed to the acceleration of a systemic transition, in which a new globalisation centered on China is only its greatest expression.”

In conclusion, the article argues that the political future of BRICS+ and the broader Global South is intricately linked to China’s trajectory and its ability to offer a developmental model that counters neoliberalism. It suggests that the global struggle against underdevelopment and for independence is gaining momentum, with BRICS+ playing a pivotal role in shaping a more equitable global order.

This article first appeared in Geopolitical Economy Report.

The emergence and rise of new poles of power to the detriment of existing ones is nothing new in history. Since the 18th century, there have been countless examples of transitions in international hegemony. This accelerated with the emergence of industrial capitalism in England, which was more advanced than the Portuguese and Spanish commercial capitalism that for centuries had dominated much of the world, especially Latin America.

Even the capitalist dynamic inaugurated by England has characteristics that are not unfamiliar to economic historians with great theoretical and conceptual rigor.

Well known is Vladimir Lenin’s discovery of the uneven nature of the development of nations and the tendency of the most developed countries to lose dynamism while others begin to enjoy what economist Alexander Gerschenkron called the “advantages of backwardness”.

So the international order cannot be observed, from a historical point of view, as a march where countries change positions like in a military parade.

The emergence of monopolistic capitalism brought with it the tendency toward war, for example. We have witnessed two great world wars where the center of the dispute was world power, with results that consolidated new political actors on the international stage, mainly the United States.

A new systemic transition

I start from the historical principle that reality has shown Lenin to be correct, regarding the uneven development of the system and the tendency toward stagnation in the developed centers. These processes open spaces of power in the world.

I also say that we will have little to offer in terms of explanation for the future if we do not relate the transformation of the United States into a unified continental economy at the end of the 19th century, and its impacts on the development of the international capitalist system, with what we have witnessed in China over the past decades: the emergence of a unified continental economy in the third-largest country in the world, which is generating huge impacts on the international political economy – and is still little investigated by so-called experts.

This is a fundamental point when we want to develop a sophisticated thinking about the BRICS+ and the future of the international order. I will return to this point.

On the other hand, we are witnessing a new wave of systemic transition today. This time, there is the emergence of new poles of global power on one side, while on the other there is an accelerated stage of political, social, moral, and economic decomposition of a hegemonic power: the United States of America.

It is interesting to note that the new order that is emerging is itself the product of the order created by the United States after World War II, which accelerated in the late 1970s with the rise of neoliberalism, and especially after the end of the Soviet Union.

Globalization led by the powerful finance of the United States was a reality that transformed the economic geography of the world, but which is eroding within its own limits. Since the moment when financialization became the dominant dynamic of accumulation in capitalism, and neoliberalism won hearts and minds around the globe, the world has entered a spiral of greater instability and unpredictability.

Continue reading BRICS+ and the future of the international order

Can the rise of China reset a broken world order?

The following is the text of the speech given by Ben Chacko, Editor of the Morning Star and a member of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group, at the international symposium on China and Marxism, held in Istanbul on November 18.

Ben starts by recalling how US diplomats had briefed that they would be “encouraging China to take a more responsible approach to international affairs”, when the country’s foreign minister Wang Yi visited Washington in October. He states that he was “a bit taken aback” by this:

“As Israel rains death on Gaza, China has backed resolutions at the UN security council for a ceasefire. It also stressed the need to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. By contrast, the United States vetoed the ceasefire resolutions and has armed and facilitated Israel’s colonisation of Palestinian land. When it comes to Ukraine, China again has repeatedly called for a ceasefire and peace talks, even putting out a 12-point plan that could form the basis of such talks.”

“China being ‘responsible’ over Ukraine,” Ben contends, “does not mean trying to find a peaceful solution. No, it means China obeying US policy by joining its efforts to isolate and economically punish Russia. “And China using its influence to avoid escalating the crisis in Gaza doesn’t mean trying to find a peaceful solution there either. It means helping to restrain regional countries with which China has good relations, such as Iran, to allow Israel to do whatever it likes to the Palestinians without provoking a wider war.”

Ben stresses the need to “to demolish the lies about China posing a military or security threat to the West. China, with one single military base overseas (at Djibouti to protect its Red Sea shipping from pirates), is hardly attempting to project military power worldwide like the United States (with over 800 military bases) or even the UK (with 145). When the US raises the alarm about ‘close encounters’ between its forces and those of China, these always occur just off the Chinese coast.”

However, “our second challenge must rest on the sense in which China does pose a threat – that China’s rise will end the worldwide hegemony of an imperialist bloc led by the United States. Here, we need to assess the ‘universal values’ [US Secretary of State Antony] Blinken talks about and to what extent the US rhetoric about a ‘rules-based international order’ matches reality: secondly, we need to examine whether China’s rise is simply that of a new aspiring hegemon which wants to replace the US, or whether China’s values are in fact different and its rise could mean a genuine shift to a more democratic, just and peaceful model for international relations.”

Ben develops his arguments by reference to the imperialist wars of aggression against the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, along with former President Obama’s drone warfare against Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, and highlights China’s fundamentally different approach to questions of war and peace and national sovereignty.

He also looks at questions of world trade and the global economy, contrasting the inequitable and predatory behaviour of the IMF and World Bank, and the US’s illegal deployment of unilateral sanctions, to the development of the BRICS cooperation mechanism among major emerging and developing economies, and the great success of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also refuting the ‘debt trap diplomacy’ calumny often levelled against China.

Ben further explains that, just as it is the superiority of China’s planned socialist economy that underwrites the success of the BRI, so is it the ‘secret’ behind China’s global leadership in the fight against climate change along with its development and deployment of green technology. This, he explains, is related to Xi Jinping’s shift “away from using economic growth as the main yardstick of progress, instead seeking to build an ‘ecological civilisation’ in which quality of life, something connected to clean air, clean water and green spaces, is measured by more than the accumulation of goods… China’s environmentalist lead is noteworthy not just because it shows a political will to act lacking in the West: it is at least arguable that its achievements would not be possible in capitalist countries.”

Last month when China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Washington, US diplomats briefed that they would be encouraging China to take a more responsible approach to international affairs.

China should use its influence to urge calm and de-escalation over the erupting Israeli assault on Gaza, the White House told the press. It should also do more to avoid escalating the war in Ukraine.

I was a bit taken aback by the US’s criticisms of China in this case.

As Israel rains death on Gaza, China has backed resolutions at the UN security council for a ceasefire. It also stressed the need to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. By contrast, the United States vetoed the ceasefire resolutions and has armed and facilitated Israel’s colonisation of Palestinian land.

When it comes to Ukraine, China again has repeatedly called for a ceasefire and peace talks, even putting out a 12-point plan that could form the basis of such talks. It has declined to arm either side in the war, and has brought in new export restrictions to prevent its commercial exports, such as drones, being used in war zones.

The United States’ role in Ukraine has been different. Its expansion of its military alliance Nato to Russia’s borders, despite promises not to, since the late 1990s crossed multiple Russian red lines; its support for a violent coup against Ukraine’s government in 2014 helped spark the civil war in the Donbass; it dismissed out of hand Russian proposals to defuse the situation in 2021, including a suggested mutual agreement not to station nuclear missiles on third countries’ territory. Since Russia invaded in February 2022, the US has deployed special forces to Ukraine, helped sabotage peace talks according to both Turkish and Israeli politicians, and sent tens of billions’ worth of military equipment to prolong the war.

So how can the US urge China to de-escalate either conflict? The demands only make sense in the eyes of a country that judges other countries solely on how far they submit to itself. 

China being “responsible” over Ukraine does not mean trying to find a peaceful solution. No, it means China obeying US policy by joining its efforts to isolate and economically punish Russia. 

And China using its influence to avoid escalating the crisis in Gaza doesn’t mean trying to find a peaceful solution there either. It means helping to restrain regional countries with which China has good relations, such as Iran, to allow Israel to do whatever it likes to the Palestinians without provoking a wider war.

The United States does not view any country as equivalent to itself: how else could it issue stern warnings about rises in Chinese military spending, when the US spends more on its armed forces than the next 10 countries put together, and 15 times more per head than China?

Identifying hypocrisy from the US is essential when we consider China’s rise. In 2021 US national security adviser Antony Blinken told China’s then foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi that their differences rested on Washington’s determination to strengthen the “rules-based international order.” 

The next year he went further, naming China as “the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to do it,” adding that “Beijing’s vision would move us away from the universal values that have sustained so much of the world’s progress over the past 75 years.”

Blinken speaks for the entire Western bloc. The line — that China poses a threat to the global order — is one we are familiar with in Britain. 

We need to challenge this narrative in two ways. The first, of course, is to demolish the lies about China posing a military or security threat to the West. 

China, with one single military base overseas (at Djibouti to protect its Red Sea shipping from pirates), is hardly attempting to project military power worldwide like the United States (with over 800 military bases) or even the UK (with 145). 

Continue reading Can the rise of China reset a broken world order?

Building an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and shared prosperity

China held an important Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs in Beijing on December 27-28, 2023. 

The conference, which featured an important speech by President Xi Jinping, highlighted ten key achievements in the country’s external affairs work in the 11 years of the new era beginning with the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012. 

On the basis of this valuable experience, the meeting affirmed that it is imperative to uphold principles. On major issues concerning the future of humanity and the direction of the world, China must take a clear and firm position, hold the international moral high ground, and unite and rally the overwhelming majority in our world. It is imperative to shoulder China’s responsibility as a major country. China needs to advocate the spirit of independence, champion peaceful development, and promote global stability and prosperity. “With a correct understanding of history and of the big picture, we must navigate the prevailing trends, adopt a coordinated approach, and seize the initiative. It is imperative to uphold fundamental principles and break new ground. We need to follow the fine tradition and fundamental direction of China’s diplomacy, and at the same time work progressively for innovation in both theory and practice. It is imperative to carry forward our fighting spirit. We must reject all acts of power politics and bullying, and vigorously defend our national interests and dignity.”

It was noted at the conference that great transformation is accelerating across the world. Changes of the world, of our times, and of historical significance are unfolding like never before, and the world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation. Yet the overall direction of human development and progress will not change, the overall dynamics of world history moving forward amid twists and turns will not change, and the overall trend toward a shared future for the international community will not change.

The conference highlighted that, looking ahead, China faces new strategic opportunities in its development.  “We will explore new frontiers in China’s diplomatic theory and practice, foster new dynamics in the relations between China and the world, and raise China’s international influence, appeal and power to shape events to a new level.”

It was pointed out that building a community with a shared future for humanity is the core tenet of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. It is how China proposes to solve the questions of what kind of world to build and how to build it, based on a deepening understanding of the laws governing the development of human society. It reflects the Chinese communists’ worldview, perception of order, and values, accords with the common aspiration of people in all countries, and points the direction for the progress of world civilisations. 

Since the dawn of this new era, building a community with a shared future for humanity has developed from a Chinese initiative to an international consensus, from a promising vision to substantive actions, and from a conceptual proposition to a scientific system. It has served as a glorious banner leading the progress of the times. In summary, in building a community with a shared future for humanity, the goal is to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and shared prosperity, the pathway is promoting global governance that features extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefit, the guiding principle is to apply the common values of humanity, the basic underpinning lies in building a new type of international relations, the strategic guidance comes from the implementation of the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilisation Initiative, and the platform for action is high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

It was pointed out that given the series of major issues and challenges facing the world today, China calls for an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalisation. An equal and orderly multipolar world is one in which all countries, regardless of size, are treated as equals, hegemonism and power politics are rejected, and democracy is truly promoted in international relations.

The following article was originally published by the Xinhua News Agency.

BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) — The Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs was held in Beijing from Wednesday to Thursday. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, attended the conference and delivered an important address.

Members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi, and Vice President Han Zheng attended the conference.

In his important address, Xi presented a systematic review of the historic achievements and valuable experience of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era, gave a profound exposition on the international environment and historical mission of China’s external work on the new journey, and made comprehensive plans for China’s external work for the present and coming periods. Presiding over the conference, Li Qiang emphasized the importance of ensuring sound external work on the new journey under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and set out requirements for studying and implementing the guiding principles of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important address.

It was made clear at the conference that since the 18th CPC National Congress, historic achievements have been secured and historic changes have taken place in China’s external work on the great journey of advancing the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. First, we have established and developed Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, opening up new vistas in the theory and practice of China’s diplomacy and providing the fundamental guideline for advancing major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. Second, we have showcased distinct Chinese characteristics, style and ethos in our diplomacy, and established the image of a confident, self-reliant, open and inclusive major country with a global vision. Third, we have advocated the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, pointing the right direction for human society leading to common development, lasting peace and security, and mutual learning between civilizations. Fourth, we have followed the strategic guidance of head-of-state diplomacy, and played an increasingly important and constructive role in international affairs. Fifth, we have taken a holistic approach to our relations with all parties, with a view to fostering major-country dynamics featuring peaceful coexistence, overall stability and balanced development. Sixth, we have expanded a comprehensive strategic layout, and formed a wide-ranging, high-quality global network of partnerships. Seventh, we have advanced high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and established the world’s most broad-based and largest platform for international cooperation. Eighth, we have worked to both pursue development and safeguard security, and effectively upheld China’s sovereignty, security and development interests with a firm will and an indomitable fighting spirit. Ninth, we have taken an active part in global governance, and shown the way in reforming the international system and order. Tenth, we have strengthened the centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee, and brought about greater coordination in China’s external work.

Continue reading Building an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and shared prosperity

The BRICS and China: towards an International New Democracy

We are very pleased to publish this important discussion article by Dr Jenny Clegg on the interrelationship between the development of the BRICS cooperation mechanism and multipolarity, anti-imperialism and socialism. 

Jenny looks carefully at the contrasting positions of those she dubs BRICS optimists and BRICS pessimists, as well as those occupying a political and analytical space between these two poles. Whilst there is a certain consensus that multipolarity is on the rise, there is a wide divergence of views as to how this relates to anti-imperialism let alone socialism. However, for Jenny, “the challenge for the left is to understand the interconnections: to fail to grasp the threats and opportunities at this momentous international juncture would be to fail spectacularly.”

Having discussed the political standpoint of the BRICS, assessed the prospects for their replacing dollar hegemony, and outlined the anti-imperialist framework of President Xi Jinping’s various global initiatives, Jenny draws attention to Mao Zedong’s and the Communist Party of China’s development of the concept of new democracy during the war of resistance to Japanese aggression, arguing forcefully for its applicability to the international terrain in the current period:

“As China now directs its efforts towards encouraging an international anti-imperialist movement among states of the Global South, with the BRICS as a significant group, the concept of New Democracy can shed light on the thinking behind this. There are three key points to highlight: an understanding that world revolution develops through stages; an analysis of the national bourgeoisie which recognises their potential to resist imperialist subordination and take part in independent development; and the assessment of the overall international situation given the existence of a major socialist state.”

In her conclusion, Jenny writes that: 

“Anti-imperialism and socialism are… not the same but they are inter-related: in the ebb and flow of the international situation the BRICS may swing this way and that, but what does make a difference to the anti-imperialist struggle in its international dimension is the solidity of China’s socialism.

“As a socialist country China is the most firm in its anti-imperialist stance: it has the strength, unity and manoeuvrability to stand up to and resist US pressure; it has its past experience to draw lessons from, failures as well as successes; it can stabilise the vacillations of the BRICS members to foster the group’s collective focus; it has the commitment and the sense of direction for the future to open the way ahead for the wider Global South in its struggle against imperialism.

“Through its own development, China is able to offer an enabling environment for other developing countries to remove those obstacles still constraining their national development.” 

Jenny’s article, which is based on her presentation to a conference hosted by the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics in September, represents a profound and original contribution to a vital debate and deserves the widest possible readership and discussion.

A member of our advisory group, Jenny is a retired academic and an activist in the anti-nuclear, peace and friendship movements. She is the author of China’s Global Strategy Towards a Multipolar World, published by Pluto Press.

Introduction

Over the last year or so the world has undergone a transition: from the all out drive by the US to assert its dominance through the New Cold War on China and Russia, it is now agreed across the international political spectrum – and widely acknowledged in the mainstream press – that a multipolar era has arrived.

When Biden, visiting Latin America, the Middle East, and then Southeast Asia through the summer months of 2022, failed to rally support for Ukraine and for isolating Russia economically, it became clear that the multipolar surge was cresting.  2023 then brought numbers of proposals for peace and offers of mediation from across the Global South – China, Brazil, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the African peace delegation.  Meanwhile, squeezed ever further as Western banks jacked up interest rates, developing countries began to come forward with their own proposals to change the system of debt financing.[1]

The BRICS summit in August was seen to mark the watershed moment with its expanded membership now looking to eclipse the G7 as leaders agreed to explore ways to sidestep the dollar.

With US hegemony fraying and numbers of countries starting to break free from its dominance, what is the left to make of this? What kind of a group is the BRICS with its mix of capitalist countries together with socialist China? 

Reactions to the summit exposed divisions amongst the left.  On the one hand, there are those who welcome unequivocally the rise of BRICS in the multipolar terrain as an advance for anti-imperialism.  Hailing the summit as a ‘giant step for multipolarity’, Pepe Escobar, well-known leftist geopolitical analyst and contributor to the Asia Times, reported its calling to ‘abandon the US dollar,’ whilst Fiona Edwards of No Cold War offered unalloyed support with the summit presenting a new high in the rise of the Global South and the priorities of economic co-operation and peace.[2]  Meanwhile, Ben Norton of the Geopolitical Economy Report website is constantly positive about the BRICS as, with the financial architecture of the world fracturing, the group works ‘to develop a fairer system of monetary exchange’.[3]

At the other end of the spectrum, political economist Patrick Bond has emphasised the ‘sub-imperialist and neo-imperialist tendencies of powerful BRICS members’, claiming this renders them ‘helpless to enact any substantive changes’.[4]  In similar vein, in a recent piece entitled Multipolarity: false hope for the Left, Zoltan Zigedy, a US-based communist, launches an uncompromising critique of left-wing intellectuals and academics who ‘cheer any force that attempts to diminish US power’: warning against the confusion of multipolarisation with anti-imperialism, he claims these analysts have just ‘become observers of a chess game between capitalist governments’.  What he asks, has this got to do with socialism?[5]

Between these BRICS pessimists and BRICS optimists are numbers who bridge both sides of the argument, including Vijay Prashad of the Tricontinental Institute who, seeing the development of the BRICS as part of a long history of struggle against colonialism and imperialism, hails the summit ‘for peace and development’ whilst pointing to a certain neo-liberal influence, as well as Andrew Murray and the editors of the Morning Star for whom BRICS is necessary but ultimately, lacking political cohesion, not enough.[6]

Continue reading The BRICS and China: towards an International New Democracy

On the strategic relationship between Venezuela and China

During a state visit to the People’s Republic of China in September 2023, Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro met president Xi Jinping and both agreed to strengthen the relationship of their countries by establishing seven sub commissions to elevate it to the level of ‘all-weather strategic partnership’. This is the culmination of a relationship that began with president Hugo Chavez’s first visit to Beijing in 1999, the very first year of his presidency.

Chavez’s first visit went well beyond friendly diplomacy since Venezuela’s president and the then president of China, Jiang Zemin, signed fifteen cooperation and commercial agreements. This was followed by President Jiang’s visit to Venezuela in 2001. Trade between the two countries in 1998 amounted to a paltry US$182.8 million, which would grow hundred-fold by the 21st century’s second decade.

In his 1999 visit Chavez described the People’s Republic as “a true model and example of mutual respect”, adding “we [in Venezuela] have developed an autonomous foreign policy, independent from any world power and on that, we resemble China.” After that, high officials from both governments would visit each other’s country to develop a commercial and political relationship, which has grown stronger ever since.

Whilst Hugo Chavez was president of Venezuela, he visited China in 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. President Maduro did so in 2013, 2015, 2018, 2021 and 2023. For their part, Chinese leaders also visited Venezuela: after Jiang Zemin’s 2001 visit, Xi Jinping (then vice-president) visited in 2009 and in 2013, president Hu Jintao planned a visit in 2010 (interrupted due an earthquake in China), and Xi Jinping, as president, visited in 2014.

This detailed article by Francisco Dominguez – an expert on Latin American politics, National Secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, and Friends of Socialist China advisory group member – endeavours to chart the evolution of the relationship between Bolivarian Venezuela and the People’s Republic of China and its significance for Latin America as a whole.

Introduction

Being a consummate strategist, Hugo Chavez understood earlier than other Latin American left-wing leaders, the significance and weight of China in world politics and economics, especially, the rising Asian power’s commitment to build a multipolar world. Chavez, an avid reader, endowed with a formidable intellect, was also aware not only of the significance of the 1949 Chinese revolution and the leading role played by Mao Zedong, but also of Deng Xiaoping’s economic reform in bringing about China’s extraordinary economic development. He knew that given the affinities between the Bolivarian and Chinese revolutions, the People’s Republic was a friendly ally.

Chavez communicated as much to his host, China’s president Jiang Zemin, and to the people of China in his first visit to the People’s Republic in October 1999. During the visit he went to Mao’s Mausoleum and declared, “I have been a Maoist all my life”. The 1999 visit to China was part of a tour for markets for Venezuelan and potential commercial partners to help break the overwhelming economic dominance of the United States over Venezuela. The tour included visits to Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

Though the tour produced positive results in all the other Asian countries, the outcome of his visit to China went well beyond all expectations: to the already existing eight cooperation agreements between Venezuela and China signed since Chavez coming to office in February 1999, his visit in October produced seven more covering the fields of energy, oil, credits to purchase agricultural machinery, investment, diplomacy and academia.

Chavez combined his strategic political audacity in promulgating an anti-neoliberal constitution in 1999, with a vigorously independent foreign policy seeking to establish strong links of every kind with the People’s Republic of China, as an alternative to Venezuela’s heavy dependence on the US. The Comandante knew Washington had activated all its resources aimed at ousting him and eliminating his government – perceived by the US as an abhorrent anomaly. Chavez’s political courage is even more impressive considering that in 1999, Latin America, with the exception of Cuba, was a sea of neoliberalism.

Washington’s relations with the People’s Republic had begun to sour because in 1996 Clinton had authorised a visit by Taiwan president, Lee Teng-hui, reversing a fifteen-year-old policy against granting visas to Taiwan’s leaders. Worse, in May 1999, NATO, during its war against Yugoslavia, had “accidentally” bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade killing three Chinese journalists. Though for Venezuela and China, the United States was an important trading partner, they both agreed to comprehensive levels of cooperation knowing that over time it would be viewed with hostility in Washington.

Hugo Chavez opened the gates and was a pioneer in the relations with the Peoples’ Republic of China for the rest of Latin America. Chavez was elected in 1999; the second left wing government in this ‘Pink Tide’ to be elected was Lula in 2002 in Brazil, who would be inaugurated in 2003. That is, four years later. Between 1999 and 2003, Chavez’s government faced intense US-led destabilization, which included right wing street violence, a worldwide media demonization campaign, national protests, economic sabotage, a short-lived coup d’état and a 64-day oil lockout that nearly brought about the country’s economic collapse. Though fully aware of this context, president Jiang Zemin paid a formal visit to Venezuela in 2001, occasion in which both countries decided to establish a “Strategic Association for Shared Development” and set up a High Level Chinese-Venezuelan Commission.

Continue reading On the strategic relationship between Venezuela and China

Xi Jinping: The principles we follow in handling China-US relations are mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation

During his recent visit to San Francisco, and following his meeting with US President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a gala business dinner on the evening of November 15. Organised by the National Committee on US-China Relations (NCUSCR), the US-China Business Council (USCBC), the Asia Society, the Council on Foreign Relations, the US Chamber of Commerce, and other organisatons with a stake in positive US-China relations, the several hundred participants included many of the most powerful figures in US business, including Tim Cook of Apple, Albert Bourla of Pfizer, Steve Schwarzman of Blackstone, Larry Fink of Blackrock, Stan Deal of Boeing, Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates, and (at the pre-dinner reception only) Elon Musk of Tesla. They were also joined, at the invitation of the Chinese side, by some US citizens who have made outstanding contributions to friendship between the two peoples and who have enjoyed a personal relationship with President Xi over many decades.

Attending the dinner was not without controversy and risks. Mike Gallagher, the hard right Chairman of the absurdly named congressional Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, wrote to the organisers that: “It is unconscionable that American companies might pay thousands of dollars to join a ‘welcome dinner’ hosted by the very same CCP officials who have facilitated a genocide against millions of innocent men, women, and children in Xinjiang.”  

He then insolently and threateningly demanded, with full McCarthyite intimidation tactics, that the organisers should, by no later than November 21:

  • “Please provide a complete list of individuals, companies, financial institutions, and other entities that have purchased tickets to the CCP dinner;
  • Please provide a separate list of individuals and companies that have paid the $40,000 fee to sit at the table with Xi;
  • Please provide a breakdown of how profits from the CCP dinner will be distributed between USCBC, NCUSCR, and other entities, as applicable; and
  • What steps, if any, has USCBC and NCUSCR taken to defend human rights in China and to prevent the genocide of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang?”

There can surely be few words adequate to describe the murderous, evil and cynical irony of venal US politicians working themselves up into a state of self-righteous and hypocritical hysteria over a completely non-existent ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang at the very time that they are facilitating and cheering on an all too real genocide in Gaza, having long supported and abetted genocidal US-led wars of aggression in numerous Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Somalia.

The success of the dinner was, therefore, a significant rebuttal of the most aggressive, warlike and fascistic circles of US imperialism.

President Xi delivered a warm speech at the dinner, in which he also addressed a number of important issues. He began by recalling that, “my first visit to the United States in 1985 started from San Francisco, which formed my first impression of this country,” and continued:

“San Francisco has borne witness to exchanges between the Chinese and American peoples for over a century. A hundred and fifty-eight years ago, a large number of Chinese workers came all the way to the United States to build the first transcontinental railroad and established in San Francisco the oldest Chinatown in the Western hemisphere.”

Another significant historical tie between San Francisco and China is that: “Seventy-eight years ago, after jointly defeating fascism and militarism, our two countries initiated together with others the San Francisco Conference, which helped found the United Nations, and China was the first country to sign the UN Charter.”

Since that time: “Over 100 countries have gained independence one after another. Several billion people have eventually shaken off poverty. The forces for world peace, development and progress have grown stronger.”

President Xi stressed the people’s role in laying the foundations of China-US relations:

“During World War II, our two countries fought side by side for peace and justice. Headed by General Claire Lee Chennault, a group of American volunteers, known as the Flying Tigers, went to the battlefield in China. They not only engaged in direct combats fighting Japanese aggressors, but also created ‘The Hump’ airlift [from Myanmar] to transport much-needed supplies to China. More than 1,000 Chinese and American airmen lost their lives on this air route. After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States sent 16 B-25 bombers on an air raid to Japan in 1942. Running low on fuel after completing their mission, Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle and his fellow pilots parachuted in China. They were rescued by Chinese troops and local civilians. But some 250,000 civilian Chinese were killed by Japanese aggressors in retaliation… I have kept in touch with some of them [the Flying Tigers] through letters. Most recently, 103-year-old Harry Moyer and 98-year-old Mel McMullen, both Flying Tigers veterans, went back to China. They visited the Great Wall and were warmly received by the Chinese people.”

Following this period: “For 22 years, there were estrangement and antagonism between our two countries. But the trend of the times brought us together, converging interests enabled us to rise above differences, and the people’s longing broke the ice between the two countries. In 1971, the US table tennis team visited Beijing – a small ball moved the globe. Not long after that, Mr. Mike Mansfield led the first US Congressional delegation to China.”

Continue reading Xi Jinping: The principles we follow in handling China-US relations are mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation

Putin: the Belt and Road Initiative is a truly important idea, facilitating a fairer, multipolar world

At the opening ceremony of the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on October 18, the speech of Chinese President Xi Jinping was immediately followed by that of his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

Noting that the forum was being held on the tenth anniversary of President Xi proposing the Belt and Road Initiative, President Putin described the BRI, as “a truly important and global idea that is spearheaded into the future, towards creating a fairer multipolar world and system of relations,” adding:

“We pointed out on numerous occasions that Russia and China, just as the majority of other countries, share the striving for equal and mutually beneficial cooperation towards universal, sustainable and lasting economic progress and social welfare based on respect for civilisational diversity and the right of every state to its own development model.”

Putin asserted that BRI is based on these fundamental principles and therefore fits very well with the integration processes underway in many regions:

“It also rhymes with our idea of creating a greater Eurasian partnership as an area of cooperation and interaction among like-minded nations and the alignment of various integration processes, such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which Russia is successfully developing with its post-Soviet partners. It is notable that Russia and China have reached a practical agreement on a concurrent and coordinated development of the EAEU and the Belt and Road Initiative.”

President Putin took the opportunity to outline the various projects and plans of the Russian Federation in this regard, such as work to connect Russian ports on the Baltic and Arctic seas to ports in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, including seamless rail connectivity from Murmansk in the far northwest of Russia to the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf.

Concluding, President Putin noted that, “when a major project is launched, everybody hopes that it will succeed. However, to be honest, it is difficult to expect that all its elements will be successful, considering the global scale of the initiative advanced by the President of the People’s Republic of China 10 years ago. Our Chinese friends are working successfully. We are happy for them, because this also concerns many of us.”

His speech was followed by those of the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Indonesia and Argentina, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The following is the full text of President Putin’s speech. It was originally published on the official website of the President of Russia.

President Xi, my dear friend,

Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to express gratitude to President of China Xi Jinping for inviting me to the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

The forum is being held on the 10th anniversary of the initiative Mr Xi advanced, a truly important and global idea that is spearheaded into the future, towards creating a fairer multipolar world and system of relations. It is a global plan, without a doubt.

I agree with the President of China that the Belt and Road idea ties in logically with multilateral efforts to promote creative and constructive interaction throughout the international community.

We pointed out on numerous occasions that Russia and China, just as the majority of other countries, share the striving for equal and mutually beneficial cooperation towards universal, sustainable and lasting economic progress and social welfare based on respect for the civilisational diversity and the right of every state to its own development model.

The Belt and Road initiative is based on these fundamental principles and fits in very well with the integration processes that are ongoing in many regions. It also corresponds to the Russian ideas of creating an integration contour that will ensure the freedom of trade, investment and employment and will be complemented with interconnected infrastructure.

Continue reading Putin: the Belt and Road Initiative is a truly important idea, facilitating a fairer, multipolar world