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

Our next webinar takes place on Saturday 24 September 2022, 11am (US Eastern) / 8am (US Pacific) / 4pm (Britain) / 11pm (China).

This event will address the rising aggression of the US and its allies in the Pacific region. We will discuss the Biden administration’s increased support for Taiwanese separatism; Western power projection in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits; the hysteria surrounding China’s security agreement with the Solomon Islands; the AUKUS nuclear pact; developments in Korea and Japan; and more.

Confirmed speakers

  • Liu Xin (Host of the opinion show The Point with Liu Xin, CGTN)
  • Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States)
  • Judge Lillian Sing (the first Asian American female Judge in Northern California, retired to start the “Comfort women” Justice Coalition)
  • Ken Hammond (Organizer with Pivot to Peace; author of From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History)
  • Li Peng (Dean of the Graduate Institute for Taiwan Studies, Xiamen University)
  • Qiao Collective (Grassroots media collective of diaspora Chinese writers, artists, and researchers)
  • Ju-Hyun Park (Organizer and writer with the Nodutdol collective)
  • KJ Noh (Peace activist and expert on the geopolitics of Asia)
  • Zhong Xiangyu (Political commentator and Chinese hip-hop artist)
  • Keith Bennett (Co-editor of Friends of Socialist China)
  • Moderator: Radhika Desai (University of Manitoba / International Manifesto Group)

Topics include

  • AUKUS and the attempts to construct an Asian NATO
  • The rightward shift in Japan and South Korea
  • The West’s incitement of Taiwanese secessionism
  • The role of modern colonialism in the project of containing China (Okinawa, Hawai’i, Guam)
  • Attempts at a new Monroe Doctrine in the Pacific
  • Western power projection in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits
  • China encirclement – from 1949 to the present day
  • Building unity between the peoples of the Pacific and the oppressed peoples of the United States

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The feminist response to RIMPAC and the US war against China

The annual Rim of the Pacific, popularly known as RIMPAC, military exercise is this year being held from June 29-August 4. Led by the United States, this year’s is the largest ever, with a total of 26 nations and 25,000 military personnel taking part.

In this article, first published on Foreign Policy in Focus (FPIF), Christine Ahn notes that this is “all for the purpose of containing China”, but adds that, “often overlooked are the very real consequences of increased militarization in the Asia-Pacific, especially for frontline communities and marine ecosystems.”

Regarding the supposed ‘China threat’, she notes that, “the real threat China poses is to the bottom line of US multinationals like the Carlyle Group”, and goes on to quote historian Laurence Shoup: “Financial capitalist corporations like Carlyle want to be able to buy and sell companies without restrictions and do what they want to profit from each company’s resources and workers,” but, “China does not allow such unrestricted access, putting up roadblocks to the unfettered capitalism favored by neoliberal thinkers.”

Christine introduces the Feminist Peace Initiative, that “seeks to transform US foreign policy away from a military-first approach towards one that prioritizes genuine human security. This requires democratizing the process of shaping foreign policy by centering the voices of those most impacted by US wars and militarism.”

“We are all casualties and accessories of empire, which is why we must link across oceans and national boundaries to end this rampant militarization. As the Biden administration pursues aggressive policies to confront China’s rise, it is ever more urgent to challenge outdated definitions of security that imperil our collective futures,” she concludes.

A renowned campaigner and scholar, Christine Ahn is the executive director of Women Cross DMZ and coordinator of the Korea Peace Now! campaign.

From June 29 to August 4, the United States will lead 26 nations in a massive, coordinated military exercise around Hawai’i and Southern California known as Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, it will involve approximately 25,000 military personnel, 38 warships, four submarines, and over 170 aircraft from countries including Japan, India, Australia, South Korea, and the Philippines. This year’s RIMPAC—the largest ever—happens against a backdrop of a ballooning U.S. defense budget and calls for increased U.S. military presence in the “Indo-Pacific”—all for the purpose of containing China.

Yet often overlooked are the very real consequences of increased militarization in the Asia-Pacific, especially for frontline communities and marine ecosystems. During last year’s RIMPAC war games, for example, an Australian destroyer killed a mother fin whale and her calf in San Diego. “These military exercises can wreak havoc on whales, dolphins and other marine mammals through explosions, sonar, and ship strikes,” says Kristen Monsell of the Center Biological Diversity.

Continue reading The feminist response to RIMPAC and the US war against China

China cements its ties with Timor-Leste

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded his recent visits to South Pacific island nations with a highly significant stop, with an intense and packed agenda, to Timor-Leste on June 3-4.

His first reported meeting was with Prime Minister Taur Matab Ruak, who said that his country, “thanked China for speaking up for [his] country in the international arena and supporting Timor-Leste’s integration into the international system.”  For his part, Wang “extended his congratulations on Timor-Leste’s 20th anniversary of the restoration of independence and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Independence Day of Timor-Leste coincides with the date of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which fully demonstrates that the two countries have stood firmly together.”

Wang noted that last year, Timor-Leste’s exports to China increased by more than 90 times, leading Ruak to observe that, “under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China has achieved miracles of rapid economic growth and poverty alleviation of hundreds of millions of people. Its great achievements are unparalleled. Timor-Leste looks forward to seizing the huge development opportunities brought by China, expanding bilateral practical cooperation in economy, trade, investment, infrastructure, education and tourism, among others, speeding up self-driven development and bringing more benefits to the people of Timor-Leste.”

In a meeting with Timor-Leste’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno, Wang cited the cooperation between the two countries in fighting Covid-19, with nine medical teams sent by China having provided help to 300,000 patients.  Among many further areas identified for cooperation were the cultivation of hybrid rice and the building of agricultural high-tech development zones, to help Timor-Leste achieve self-sufficiency in grain and agricultural modernisation.

Wang also met with Xanana Gusmão, known as Timor-Leste’s Founding Father and who is often compared to Nelson Mandela. Xanana, noting that all the small and medium-sized Pacific Island countries were faced with the common task of development, added that: “What we need is a united response to the challenges, more attention and support from the international community and tangible assistance. The Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to the South Pacific region sent a positive signal, showing that China stands with developing countries and brings hope to small island countries.”

Meeting with Mari Alkatiri, the Secretary-General of Fretilin (The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor), the party which led the armed struggle for independence, Wang said that “Fretilin is a political party with a glorious tradition, which has been committed to the rebirth of the country and the nation since its birth and still plays an important role in the development and revitalisation of Timor-Leste today. The Communist Party of China (CPC) has time-honoured contacts with Fretilin and the two parties have always maintained inter-party exchanges.”  For his part, Alkatiri said that, “China not only firmly defends world peace, but also shares development dividends with other countries and stays committed to upholding fairness and justice. China has never exported its ideology and has brought development and opportunities to all countries. Timor-Leste trusts China, supports China’s development and growth, and is willing to work with China to dedicate to the common pursuits and goals of developing countries.”

Finally, Wang met with President Jose Ramos-Horta, to whom he expressed appreciation for his signing the joint communique on establishing diplomatic ties with China on the day of independence in 2002, when he served as the first Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste.

Prior to his Timor-Leste visit, Wang had visited Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. He also held virtual meetings with the leaders of Micronesia, Cook Islands and Niue, the latter two being still in an essentially colonial relationship with New Zealand. He made a stop over in Malaysia on his way home from Timor-Leste.

The following reports on Wang Yi’s visit to Timor-Leste were originally published on the website of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak Meets with Wang Yi

On June 3, 2022 local time, Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak met with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Dili.

Ruak warmly welcomed Wang Yi’s visit to Timor-Leste on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, saying that the visit shows the great importance China attaches to bilateral relations and its positive willingness to deepen bilateral cooperation. Ruak said that Timor-Leste and China have a long history of exchanges and since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries have carried out mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide range of areas. Timor-Leste sincerely thanked China for having assisted the country in a time of urgent need and helping the country safeguard security, deal with disasters and fight the pandemic since the establishment of diplomatic ties. Timor-Leste thanked China for speaking up for the country in the international arena and supporting Timor-Leste’s integration into the international system. Timor-Leste will always be a friend of China and will stay committed to consolidating the achievements of the establishment of diplomatic ties, firmly pursuing the one-China principle, expanding friendly cooperation and opening up new prospects for the development of bilateral relations.

Continue reading China cements its ties with Timor-Leste

Solomon Islands: build up to the US war against China

We are pleased to republish this insightful article from The Socialist Correspondent about the recent imperialist hysteria surrounding the Solomon Islands’ security agreement with China. The author contextualises this manufactured crisis within the escalating US-led New Cold War and the longstanding project to encircle and contain the People’s Republic of China and to roll back the Chinese Revolution. The article goes on to note that the West’s attempts to keep the island nations of the Pacific within its ‘sphere of influence’, plus the Biden administration’s undermining of the One China principle, pose a significant danger to world peace.

The Solomon Islands nation in the Pacific – 2000 kilometres north-east of Australia – has dared to assert its own independent foreign policy after decades spent under foreign tutelage. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare hailed an agreement between his country and China – including a security pact – as a “milestone”. He said: “We need to diversify the country’s relationship with other partners. What is wrong with that?” China was not pressuring his country into signing the pact, he insisted, adding that “the Solomon Islands themselves requested the treaty.”

The USA and Australia are nevertheless threatening military intervention to prevent the deal from being enacted.

The issue is a potential Chinese military presence in the Solomons – under an agreement that would allow Chinese ships to visit and “carry out logistical replenishment” and allow Chinese police to assist in “maintaining social order” in the country.

“We have respect for Solomon Islands’ sovereignty, but…”

Even though Sogavare assured the West that there would be no Chinese military base on the Solomon Islands, Daniel Kritenbrink, the chief US diplomat for East Asia and the Pacific, made this veiled threat: “Of course, we have respect for the Solomon Islands sovereignty, but we also wanted to let them know that if steps were taken to establish a de facto permanent military presence, power projection capabilities, or a military installation, then we would have significant concerns, and we would very naturally respond to those concerns” (Guardian, 26 April).

Continue reading Solomon Islands: build up to the US war against China

China to provide South Pacific countries ‘what US, Australia failed to offer’

This article by Yang Sheng and Liu Caiyu, originally published in the Global Times, exposes the hypocrisy of Western propaganda regarding China’s expanding cooperation with the nations of the Pacific. This cooperation is taking place in numerous fields, including trade, environmental protection, poverty relief, tourism, education, culture and sports; however, the West chooses to only pay attention to security agreements, implying that China is acting in a hegemonic manner, using Pacific island countries as pawns within a big-power competition with the US. In reality, these countries are finding that China is “a major power which is willing to treat them equally and can provide win-win cooperation and seek no control over them.” This stands in stark contrast to US and Australian hegemonism.

As China and South Pacific island countries are going to strengthen their cooperation to better serve local people’s demand for development, some voices from the West or Western media have started to distort the cooperation and hype the fear of a new “Cold War.” Chinese experts said the US and Australia always see the island countries as their puppets. So when China help them to become  independent and prosperous, the West will definitely feel anxious. 

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and East Timor upon invitation from May 26 to June 4, and will also visit Micronesia via video and have a virtual meeting with leaders of Cook Islands and Niue. Observers believe this trip will be a milestone for relations between China and the entire region. 

Wang’s trip will cover cooperation and deals in many fields including economy, infrastructure, climate change, public health, policing and security.The reason why China’s presence has been welcomed by the regional countries is that China could promote the livelihood of the locals and  activate the economic potentials of those islands, experts said. However, some Western media have focused only on the cooperation about security, and tried to exaggerate that the cooperation could spark “new Cold War” between China and the West in the region.

Continue reading China to provide South Pacific countries ‘what US, Australia failed to offer’

Xi congratulates Jose Ramos-Horta on election as Timor-Leste’s president

On May 3rd, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of greetings to Jose Ramos-Horta on his election as President of Timor-Leste. Ramos-Horta is due to assume office on May 20th. He previously served as President, 2008-2012, and Prime Minister, 2006-2007.

Relations between China and Timor-Leste have a long history and illustrate China’s principle of treating countries large and small as equals as well as its support for the national liberation struggles of the oppressed nations.

Having been a Portuguese colony for four centuries, Timor-Leste proclaimed its independence as the Democratic Republic of East Timor on November 28th 1975, with a young Ramos-Horta as its Foreign Minister. China was one of the few countries to recognise the new state. After Indonesia invaded and occupied the new republic on December 7th 1975, China continued to support the Timorese people’s right to self-determination. As then Chinese Ambassador Fu Yuancong wrote in 2011:
“The well-established relationship between China and Timor-Leste has a long history. China sided with the Timorese people with sympathy and support during their struggle for national independence. China is proud to be the first country establishing diplomatic ties with Timor-Leste after its founding.”

A number of articles in the international media have expressed the view that Ramos-Horta’s return to the presidency will further strengthen his country’s already friendly relations with China. For example, on  April 22nd, the leading French daily Le Monde wrote: “The elected president of this island nation twice the size of Corsica, which shares its territory with the other half of the island belonging to Indonesia (West Timor), does not hide his pro-Beijing sympathies. He wants to see China continue its investments in Timor-Leste, the official name of the country. This includes the financing of an oil and gas mega-project off the southern coast, estimated to cost 18 billion U.S. dollars (17 billion euros). ‘China is not a threat, but an opportunity,’ Ramos-Horta insisted in September 2019, in an interview with Le Monde. ‘To think that we could end up the victims of the Chinese ‘debt trap’ is absurd!’ he added.”

The following report of President Xi’s message was originally carried by China Daily.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday sent a congratulatory message to Jose Ramos-Horta on his election as Timor-Leste’s president.

In his message, Xi pointed out that over the past 20 years since China and Timor-Leste established diplomatic ties, the two countries have been continuously deepening their practical cooperation, greatly developed bilateral relations, and brought tangible benefits to their people, which is a vivid reflection of countries, big and small, treating each other as equals and engaging in win-win cooperation.

Xi said he attaches great importance to the development of China-Timor-Leste relations, and stands ready to work with President Ramos-Horta to bring the comprehensive cooperative partnership of good-neighborliness, friendship, mutual trust and mutual benefit between the two countries to a new level.

No to a new Monroe Doctrine in the Pacific

This article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez explores the hysterical and hypocritical reaction by the US and Australia to the recently-announced security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands. Carlos observes that the Western imperialist powers are attempting to construct – via AUKUS and other means – a Monroe Doctrine in the Pacific, imposing US hegemony over the region as part of their long-term strategy of China containment. The article also deals with the contention that China itself is acting in an imperialist manner in the Pacific.

The Anglo ruling classes have gone into a state of frenzy over a recently-signed security agreement between the People’s Republic of China and the Solomon Islands. Various people who had barely heard of the Solomon Islands just a few weeks ago are now expressing grave concern that this small sovereign nation could be used as a pawn by an aggressive and expansionist China in its bid for world domination.

The deal itself appears to be entirely ordinary, allowing for China to “make ship visits to, carry out logistical replenishment in, and have stopover and transition in the Solomon Islands,” in addition to providing the Solomon Islands police with training and – on invitation – support. Indeed, the Solomon Islands already has similar security cooperation arrangements with Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Fiji; as such, the deal with China simply represents a desire to “seek greater security partnership with other partners and neighbours.”

Responding to criticism of the deal by Australian and US politicians, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare assured that it was signed “with our eyes wide open, guided by our national interests”, and that it has been developed not as a means of power projection but of addressing the island nation’s security needs.

Nonetheless, Western politicians and media have reacted with an anxiety bordering on the hysterical. Indeed the Australian government made repeated attempts to prevent the deal being signed in the first place, and its failure has prompted bitter recrimination. Allan Gyngell from the Australian Institute of International Affairs commented to BBC News that “the objective had to be to stop something like this happening. You can’t read it any other way – this is a failure of Australian diplomacy.” Meanwhile, opposition leader Anthony Albanese described Australia’s failure to prevent the agreement going through as “a massive foreign policy failure” and “a Pacific stuff-up”. The Australian Labor Party is now promising that it will “restore Australia’s place as the partner of choice in the Pacific” if it is successful in the coming federal elections.

Continue reading No to a new Monroe Doctrine in the Pacific

Solomon Islands and the hypocrisy of national security

Co-Editor of Friends of Socialist China Danny Haiphong analyzed the hypocrisy of the West’s hysterical opposition toward the recent security pact reached between the Solomon Islands and China on his weekly podcast, Cold War Brew. Haiphong observes that the US and its allies, particularly Australia, have no issue with Ukraine possibly joining NATO but have threatened regime change on the Solomon Islands for working bilaterally with China to meet its security needs. He goes on to explain the root causes of this contradiction.

The Cold War Brew podcast can be listened to live each Sunday at 11:30 AM US Eastern on the Callin app, which can be downloaded on Android and Apple devices as well as on Spotify after the episode publishes.

No to US/Australian attempts to revive the Monroe Doctrine in the South Pacific

Responding to a question from a Bloomberg journalist, Wang Wenbin comprehensively rejected accusations made by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that China was planning to build a military base on the Solomon Islands. Wang Wenbin further highlighted the hypocritical nature of US and Australian commentary and behavior, noting that the two are attempting to construct a new Monroe Doctrine in the Pacific.

The security cooperation between China and Solomon Islands is based on equality and mutual benefits. It is within the sovereignty of our two countries and consistent with the international law and international customary practice. The cooperation is open, transparent, legitimate, lawful and irreproachable. The speculation that China will build a military base in Solomon Islands is pure disinformation fabricated by a handful of people who harbor ulterior motives. 

I have noted that the US and Australian accuse the framework agreement on security cooperation between China and Solomon Islands of not being transparent. However, it is the AUKUS security partnership that is neither open nor transparent. When will the US and Australia invite South Pacific island countries and other regional countries to review AUKUS cooperation? The US claims that China’s military presence will cause grave concerns. If we follow this logic, the nearly 800 military bases in 80 countries and regions across the world run by the US have long been of major concern for the world. When will the US shut down those bases?

Island countries in the South Pacific are independent and sovereign states, not a backyard of the US or Australia. Their attempt to revive the Monroe Doctrine in the South Pacific region will get no support and lead to nowhere. 

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on April 25, 2022

China’s solidarity with Tonga and the islands of the Pacific

The eruption of an underwater volcano off the South Pacific island nation of Tonga has triggered a humanitarian crisis, cutting the country off from the outside world and damaging vital connectivity and infrastructure. This once again demonstrates the vulnerability of small island states in particular, faced with the challenges of overcoming centuries of colonial rule, developing their national economies and facing the existential threat of climate change. This useful article, which we reproduce from Global Times, notes that China has pledged all possible support and assistance to Tonga, both now and in the future. China, it further notes, is prepared to cooperate with all other countries in this endeavour and does not wish to see the South Pacific as an arena for any new Cold War. The island nations, it notes, “are not the backyard of the US and its allies”.

The massive eruption of an underwater volcano off Tonga, which triggered tsunami waves to hit the Pacific island nation and other locations in the Pacific, has become a focus of global headlines. 

Tonga is in need of emergency aid, and China said it is willing to help. On Sunday, Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China is ready to provide every possible support and assistance to Tonga. 

We hope those who see Tonga as a battlefield with China, such as the US and its allies, could work together with China to provide help to the Pacific island nation.

While the danger of the Tongan volcano erupting again remaining largely unknown, videos posted on social media and various news reports so far suggest that the eruption has caused serious damages to the island nation. For instance, Tonga’s submarine cable connectivity to the outside world has been offline since Saturday due to the earthquake caused by the volcanic eruption.

Continue reading China’s solidarity with Tonga and the islands of the Pacific