Wang Yi meets with Sergey Lavrov

As part of the recent week of intensive diplomatic activity in Asia, focused around regional and global gatherings successively in Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Bali, Indonesia, on November 15, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit of major economies.

Discussing the Ukraine issue, Wang Yi said that China has noted that Russia recently reiterated its established position that a nuclear war must never be fought, which represents a rational and responsible attitude of Russia.

The importance of this statement is that it clearly debunks the, deliberate or otherwise, misrepresentation of the comments made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, for example in his meeting with German Chancellor Scholz, opposing the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in the context of the Ukraine conflict as somehow representing an attack on Russia or indicating a fundamental difference between the two countries.

The following article was first published on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

On November 15, 2022 local time, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was accompanying President Xi Jinping to the Group of Twenty (G20) Bali Summit, met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the summit.

Lavrov once again extended warm congratulations on the success of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). He said that President Xi Jinping’s re-election as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee by a unanimous vote testifies to the lofty political prestige of President Xi Jinping and the deep trust and strong support from the Chinese people. Russia is ready to work with China to further consolidate the sound momentum of high-level exchanges between the two countries, maintain the continuity of the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, expand pragmatic cooperation between the two sides, and strengthen international coordination, so as to fully release the potential of Russia-China relations.

Wang Yi said that the success of the 20th CPC National Congress has been in the limelight in China and the world as a whole. The most important outcome of the congress is the election of a new central leadership with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. That fully reflects the common will of the whole Party and the people across the country. Steered by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the core of the Party central committee and in the Party as a whole, and under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China, as a giant ship,  will forge ahead toward the established goal of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation without fear of any winds and storms. China is ready to work with Russia to pursue a well-coordinated approach to high-level exchanges and exchanges in various fields, deepen pragmatic cooperation, and facilitate personnel exchanges.

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Keith Bennett: Join hands in the struggle for socialism and against imperialist war

At the recent webinar marking the first anniversary of the International Manifesto Group’s document ‘Through Pluripolarity to Socialism’, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett made a speech assessing geopolitical developments since the launch of the manifesto. Keith observes that imperialism’s hasty retreat from Afghanistan has flowed into escalating aggression against both Russia and China, noting that both “NATO’s proxy war against Russia, which it seems determined to fight to the last Ukrainian” and the new Cold War against China have only intensified under the Biden administration.

Keith further states that the international left – albeit in a partial and contradictory way – is embarked on a process of realignment that has significant parallels to the realignment that took place a century ago, when the lines were drawn between those willing to fight against imperialism and those choosing the path of class collaboration. The questions our movement is asking itself are: “Whether to oppose imperialist war wherever it is waged; whether to support all those who fight imperialism, no matter the banner under which that struggle is waged; and whether to give resolute, wholehearted and unqualified support to any and every country, no matter where and no matter how, where our class, the working class, takes power, and sets out on the long and difficult road of building a new society, a socialist society.”

The late British Prime Minister Harold Wilson reputedly said that a week is a long time in politics. Certainly that might seem to be the case for former UK Chancellor Kwesi Kwarteng. The one who turned up in Washington for the annual meeting of the IMF, declaring he wasn’t going anywhere, only to have to leave early to return home for the dubious pleasure of being sacked.

But if a week is a long time in politics, it’s already one year since we launched our Manifesto, Through Pluripolarity to Socialism. Of course, in the broad sweep of human history, a year is far less than a blink of an eye. But perhaps we should reflect more on Lenin’s famous observation that there are periods of years when nothing seems to happen and then there come days into which years are compressed. We seem to be headed more in that direction.

Two things occupied particular attention when we were drafting the Manifesto. One was the global Covid-19 pandemic, the variegated response to it, the contradictions that it had bought to the surface and exacerbated, and the social, economic and political crises it had triggered. The other was the chaotic US, British and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan and the ignominious collapse of the puppet regime they had sought to leave behind.

We noted that the response to Covid-19 on the part of the socialist countries had been exemplary. And that has continued to be the case, whether in China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, despite the fact that the last two named countries have laboured for decades under crippling and asphyxiating sanctions and blockades. China, Vietnam and Cuba have not only carried out exemplary policies at home. They have been providers of much-needed aid, primarily to developing countries, but also to developed countries, in the finest traditions of working-class international solidarity. By being the very first country to introduce lockdown measures, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea registered not a single case of Covid for over two years, and then, thanks to a huge nationwide mobilization, rapidly suppressed the virus when it finally entered the country. As the Manifesto stated:

“No wonder, the ruling Communist Party of China celebrated a proud centenary in July 2021.”

As we meet today, the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has opened in Beijing. It will not only set the scene for the next five years of China’s socialist development, but also map out more generically the route from the achievement of a moderately prosperous society and the complete elimination of extreme poverty, achieved just before the first centenary, that of the party, to the realisation of a modern, powerful and prosperous socialist country in all respects by the time the nation marks its second great centenary, that of the founding of the People’s Republic in 2049.

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RMT passes resolution opposing war and wasteful military spending

Recently, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), and its General Secretary Mick Lynch, have captured the imagination and support of a huge number of people in Britain with their ongoing industrial action for a pay rise in line with the surging rate of inflation, for no compulsory redundancies, and against changes to working conditions, that would not only be to the detriment of the rail workers, but also not simply inconvenience but endanger the safety of members of the public, particularly from among the most vulnerable members of society. The RMT has a fine record as a class struggle trade union, which has not hesitated not only to take militant action in defence of its members, but also to take progressive stands on major issues of domestic and international politics. It has, for example, long been a strong and active supporter of socialist Cuba.

In this context, it is extremely significant that, at its Annual General Meeting (AGM), held in Birmingham in July, the RMT voted to affiliate to the Stop the War Coalition and passed a resolution entitled Peace is Union Business. The resolution draws attention to the bellicose stands taken by NATO at its Madrid Summit in late June and notes its increased attention to the Global South, US President Biden’s further military build up in Europe, and British Prime Minister Johnson’s announcement of increased military spending at a time when wages are being held below the rate of inflation and energy prices are soaring.

The resolution then notes that these moves follow last September’s conclusion of the AUKUS pact between the governments of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, noting how the sister Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) had drawn attention to the way AUKUS will impact on the dumping of nuclear waste on First Nations land, increase the likelihood of nuclear proliferation and the threat of nuclear war.

The resolution then states very clearly: “Workers have no interest in war with China, Russia, or any other country. Every effort should be made to pursue peaceful relations between countries through negotiations and disarmament.”

The stand taken by the RMT is in the best traditions of the British working class movement, from the East London dockers, who in 1920 refused to load munitions onto the ‘Jolly George’ as they were to be used against the fledgling Soviet workers state, to the Rolls Royce workers in Scotland, who in 1974 refused to load air force jet engines that were to be sent back to the murderous Pinochet regime in Chile following repair, a struggle depicted in the 2018 documentary ‘Nae Pasaran’.

The text of the RMT Resolution, which we reproduce below, was originally carried on the website of the Stop the War Coalition.

PEACE IS UNION BUSINESS

“That this AGM notes with grave concern the NATO summit meeting in Madrid (28-30 June 2022) confirmed an escalation of military spending, troop build-ups and further expansion of this nuclear-armed bloc with a seemingly endless supply of money poured into weapons development and procurement including:

• expanding the numbers of NATO troops from 40,000 to well over 300,000;

• expanding NATO’s role at the request of the Spanish government to include the global south, including control over migration from sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel region (north Africa) following the tragic deaths last week of 23 African migrants entering Melilla, Spain’s colonial enclave in north Africa;

• US President Biden’s announcement that the US would establish a permanent
military base in Poland, a brigade in Romania, air missile systems in Italy and Germany and two additional F-35 squadrons based in the UK;

• British PM, Johnson’s announcement on 30 June 2022, that UK defence spending will increase from 2.3% of GDP in 2022 to 2.5% of GDP in 2030 when wages are being held below inflation with taxes and energy prices rocketing contributing to a cost-of- living crisis.

These latest announcements of military escalation follow the announcement in September 2021 by the governments of Australia, the UK and US of the so-called AUKUS pact, which provides nuclear-powered submarines to Australia as part of a military alliance with the US and UK.

RMT’s sister union, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has warned these submarines use highly enriched uranium ideal for nuclear weapons. The Australian government has repeatedly tried to set up nuclear waste dumps on First Nations land. This will intensify that pressure. The AUKUS pact also contributes significantly to the likelihood of nuclear proliferation and the threat of nuclear war.

Workers have no interest in war with China, Russia, or any other country. Every effort should be made to pursue peaceful relations between countries through negotiations and disarmament.

RMT stands in solidarity with trade unionists and workers in all countries opposing war and wasteful, environmentally harmful, military spending. We pledge our opposition to development of nuclear submarines in Australia, to NATO expansion and to Boris Johnson’s disastrous pledge to further increase military spending by the UK government instead of addressing growing poverty, homelessness and hunger in Britain.”

With RIMPAC, South Korea expands its military footprint

In this article, part of the Feminist Peace Initiative’s joint campaign with Foreign Policy in Focus (FPIF) against the militarization of the Asia-Pacific region, coinciding with the annual US-led RIMPAC exercises and originally published by FPIF, leading South Korean peace activist Choi Sung-hee notes that after the US, South Korea is the second largest participant in this year’s war games.

She notes that: “When RIMPAC began, the NATO summit meeting also started in Madrid. It is the first time that a South Korean president joined the NATO summit meeting. Yoon Suk-yeol, elected as the new South Korean president on May 9, has talked dangerously about the possibility of a ROK-US-Japan military alliance, which even other conservative presidents had abstained from openly talking about because of the past imperial-colony relationship between Japan and Korea. Already a NATO partner country, South Korea will likely increase its involvement in the US-led domination game against ‘enemy forces.’ Under the previous president Moon Jae-in, South Korea became the first Asian country to join the NATO cyber defense group. South Korean participation in RIMPAC risks inflaming military tension against China in the Pacific.”

“The current South Korean government”, she notes, “is strengthening trilateral coordination with the United States and Japan to put pressure on North Korea and contain China. But it would be in Seoul’s interest to reduce tensions in the region, not exacerbate them. China is the number one trading partner of South Korea, so it makes no sense for Seoul to participate in the anti-China efforts of the United States. Improving relations with North Korea—for instance by formalizing the end of the Korean War with a peace treaty—would also help to remove one of the key drivers of conflict in the region.”

On June 22, 2022, 20 civic groups held a “No RIMPAC!” press conference in front of the Jeju Naval Base in Gangjeong Village, Jeju Island, South Korea. Beginning with the words “Aloha ʻĀina,” the press conference expressed solidarity with the people and all living beings in and off Hawai’i and southern California. It also demanded “peace practice, not war drills” and closure of the Jeju Naval Base.

In Hawaiian, “Aloha ʻĀina” means love and care of the land and sea. Many friends from Hawai’i have visited Gangjeong in solidarity for peace during the last few years. One of them was Pua’ena, who urgently appealed to people in Jeju not to let the warships in Jeju head for Hawai’i during the current RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) exercises, the biggest U.S.-led multinational maritime war drill, which is held every two years.

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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.

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Serbia and China honor Chinese martyrs killed in NATO bombing

The three Chinese journalists who were murdered when the US-led NATO forces bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, in violation of all norms of international law, during the vicious war against Yugoslavia in 1999, were remembered by Serbian and Chinese officials on May 7th.

Speaking at the ceremony, Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin, said: “Chinese citizens that laid their lives here, didn’t even need to be here, but they chose to do so, in order to share the most difficult and saddest moments with us… Serbia will never stop asking for responsibility for crimes conducted by NATO during their aggression… Those (Western powers) which now ask from us to align with their policies should remember their statements from 1999.”

The following report was originally published by Xinhua.

Laying wreaths at memorial plaques here dedicated to the three Chinese journalists killed in the NATO bombing of the former Chinese embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, representatives of Serbia and China on Saturday commemorated the Chinese martyrs and condemned NATO’s “barbaric act.”

Among the officials present at the commemoration were Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin, Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Darija Kisic Tepavcevic, and Tian Yishu, Charge d’affaires of the Chinese embassy in Serbia.

“Chinese citizens that laid their lives here, didn’t even need to be here, but they chose to do so, in order to share the most difficult and saddest moments with us,” Vulin said.

“Serbia will never stop asking for responsibility for crimes conducted by NATO during their aggression,” Vulin said. “Those (Western powers) which now ask from us to align with their policies should remember their statements from 1999.”

He noted that Serbia and China “have a friendship made of steel, forged in the most difficult of times.”

Tian said that “China-Serbia friendship of steel is now playing a vital role in the peace and economic recovery of this region.”

“We wish to continue comprehensive cooperation with all peace-loving countries, both in fields of economic cooperation and security,” he said.

Svetozar Parezanin, a retired colonel of the Serbian Army who came here with a local citizen association, held a banner with photographs of the three killed journalists — Shao Yunhuan of Xinhua News Agency, and Xu Xinghu and his wife Zhu Ying of the Guangming Daily newspaper.

“We remember that day very well, and we will never forget it. We come here every year to show our feeling of respect towards brotherly Chinese people,” Parezanin said.

Wreaths are seen at memorial plaques dedicated to the three Chinese journalists killed in the NATO bombing of the former Chinese embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, in Belgrade, Serbia, May 7, 2022.(Photo by Wang Wei/Xinhua)
Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin (L, front), Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Darija Kisic Tepavcevic (R, front), and Tian Yishu (C, front), Charge d’affaires of the Chinese embassy in Serbia, mourn at memorial plaques dedicated to the three Chinese journalists killed in the NATO bombing of the former Chinese embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, in Belgrade, Serbia, May 7, 2022.(Photo by Wang Wei/Xinhua)