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China and Turkey Aspiring for the Greatness in the World

Wang Li

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Authors: Wang Li & Fan Yao-tian

During his 2-day visit to China (August 2-3), Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu of Turkey informed the media that the two countries should take the consensus between the two heads of state as guidance to push forward the development of their strategic cooperative partnership.

Yes, over the past decades, China and Turkey, although separated by the Eurasia and differences in their cultures, have developed close ties through the win- win working relationship. They are the members of the G-20 which will be playing more significant role than the G-7 in the world affairs. Now China and Turkey agreed to integrate the “Belt & Road” initiative with the “Middle Corridor” project in terms of practical cooperation in the fields such as anti-terrorism, regional stability and global climate change. Chinese FM Wang Yi reiterated that China firmly supports Turkey’s efforts to safeguard its sovereignty, security and stability. And Turkish FM stressed that Turkey continues firmly and powerfully adhering to the one-China policy; and therefore, it will not allow any activities to undermine China’s sovereignty and security in its territory. Both sides vow to continuously take care of reciprocal core interest and enhance political mutual trust.

This is not an easy task for historically China and Turkey needed each other only in a symbolic way. During the heyday of the Cold War, the two sides were in effect within the opposed camps and even had engaged fiercely in the Korean War. A new era was not opened until the year of 1971 when the two countries extended diplomatic recognition to each other in the wake of President Nixon’s visit to Beijing. Yet, the bilateral relations between China and Turkey were still less important in view of the latter’s ties with the United States, the Soviet Union, France and Britain, all of them were the nuclear powers and the permanent members of the UN Security Council; and the mutual needs were still low in a practical sense. The significant changes took place in the 1980s when China undertook the overall reforms and openness policy with a view of a peaceful rise in the current world system, evidently dominated by the U.S. and its allies. It requires that China works intelligently and consistently to promote its new image over the world, in which Turkey is believed as a strong military power and an influential player in the Middle East and later in the Central Asian states after the Soviet Union’s collapse. Given this, the significance of Sino-Turkish relationship can be understood from two perspectives as follows.

First is the consideration of their core interest in terms of sovereignty, security and stability. It is reported that thousands of Uighurs have fled China in recent years to seek asylum in Turkey, with many traveling on to Syria to join Islamic militant groups. According to what a German—Afghan officer serving in the NATO troops observed that fairly speaking now hundreds of Uighurs, if not far more, are believed to have joined the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front while others have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group or sided with smaller militant factions in the Syrian conflict.

China has legitimate concerns about such battle-hardened extremists returning to their homeland—Xinjiang—to wage violence in pursuit of their goal of establishing an independent “East Turkestan” and recruiting more Uighurs to join ISIS’ ranks. In 2016, ISIS released its first propaganda video with Uighur subtitles directly targeting China. Considering this challenge, Chinese top leaders accept that maintaining a respectful dialogue with their counterparts in Ankara on the Uighur row is wise in terms of geopolitics and its expanding trade globally. Meanwhile Turkey is now increasingly unsettled by Central Asian and Uighur fighters from ISIS set on spilling blood at Istanbul’s Reina nightclub. There is no doubt the two countries have diverse opinions on the issues of Uighur, yet have recently warmed amid a broader political realignment. Since China, Russia and Turkey have enhanced their consultation and cooperation in the case of Syria while Erdogan has pulled away from the orbit of the EU directives amid disputes over human rights and other issues. In return, China has expressed openness toward Turkey joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security regime comprised of Russia, the central Asian states and now India and Pakistan as well. With all the vicissitudes, FM Cavusoglu frankly said in Beijing that Turkey regarded China’s security as akin to its own and fully appreciated all the actions China has taken in combating the Islamic State group as well as reaching a political settlement in the Syrian War. Here is the point that the Turkish government under President Erdogan would root out militants plotting against Beijing, signaling closer cooperation against suspected Uighur militants hailing from China’s far west who have long been a sore point in bilateral relation.

Second is the shared desire to be great powers in the new century. As China has put forward the “Belt & Road Initiative” as the century’s project linking it to Europe, Turkey and Russia have backed some major Chinese initiatives to develop infrastructure spanning the Eurasian continent that were initially shunned by Western powers. Turkey is regarded as the key player in the Middle East and the Central Asia as well. Chinese FM Wang Yi hailed the visit of his Turkish counterpart, speaking that “deepening the collaboration on anti-terror and region’s security is the most central part of the two countries’ relationship.”

That may be a small price for Turkey to pay given the benefits it expects from a better relationship with China, the second largest economy now. Turkey has expressed a keen interest in the BRI, enticed by prospects of a high-speed railway and a nuclear plant, among other projects that China has pledged to build in Turkey. But Beijing has hinted that such projects are in part conditional on a more China- friendly security policy. President Xi talked frankly in a meeting with Erdogan at the Belt and Road Summit in May: “In order to promote even greater development of relations, China and Turkey must respect and give consideration to each other’s core concerns, and deepen security and counter-terrorism cooperation.” In other words, Turkey may opine China’s suggestion on security issues if it is serious to have a more favorable economic relationship.

Traditionally, China was not a major trade partner of Turkey, but the bilateral relations between the two have grown significantly since Turkey’s ruling Party (AKP) came to power in 2002. Economically, Turkey already represents an important market for China. By 2010 China was the third largest source of Turkey’s imports, the previous decade seeing trade between the two countries rising more than 12 fold to a value of 20 billion dollars. The signing of Strategic Agreement in Ankara (2016) included a target of 50 billion dollars of mutual trade by 2015 rising to 100 billion dollars by 2020. In addition, China’s global investment and acquisition strategies always ranked as Beijing’s top priority when it came to defining relations with Turkey, which surely creates more opportunities for stronger cooperation between the two countries in the years to come. Ultimately, Turkey and China’s deepening economic links are illustrative of Ankara’s quest to pivot east and Beijing’s drive to invest in an important country that serves as a hub for transcontinental energy and trade routes. Despite pressure from some members of a domestic constituency in Turkey, the two countries are likely to strengthen the bilateral ties without the Uighur issue derailing such progress. Clearly, it is in the area of foreign investment and joint production that Turkey’s new strategic partnership with China could really shine.

Some scholars like to argue that Turkey’s overtures to China and Russia as well may be more than idle flirtation or empty anti-Western posturing. Since the failed coup attempt of 2016, Turkey has been looking east for new partners in order to decrease its dependence on European allies. Turkey is still unable to cope with the issue of East Turkestan and the plight of the area’s security. Yet, Russia has played the most influential role in Turkey’s strategic pivot. China also factors into Ankara’s eastward shift. It is true that the ruling AKP party in Turkey has different factions, some of them nationalists who want to inflame tensions with China over Uighurs, and other pragmatic members who want to maintain good relations with China believing that the Uyghur issue is being abused to spoil relations between China and Turkey by the United States. Turkey has had to follow its own country’s interests first with a pragmatic approach to foreign affairs.

No matter how you would like to interpret the relationship between China and Turkey, one thing is assured that both sides were the ancient empires dictating the rules in each realm, and both were the underdogs at the mercy of the Western powers in modern history; and now both powers have aspired to struggle for the greatness in the era of globalization. Given this, China and Turkey are aware of the results: standing together is much stronger than walking alone.

(*) Fan Yao-tian, MA in Finance and a free-lance writer on international affairs

Wang Li is Professor of International Relations and Diplomacy at the School of International and Public Affairs, Jilin University China.

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East Asia

How to turn the page on WW II in Asia

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In the run-up to the 74th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific Russia and Japan are recalling the most overarching problems of their  relations – namely the so-called territorial issue and the conclusion of a formal peace treaty between the two countries.

Progress in and an ultimate solution of these lingering problems is quite possible in the foreseeable future, but only if there is goodwill and mutual desire for a compromise. There is one thing we should keep in mind, however, and this is the root cause of these problems, which has to do with national and regional security. Indeed, the current instability in Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, unresolved territorial disputes and conflicts, the lack of regional security mechanisms and cooperation are rooted in the events of the second half of the 20th century and related historical and geopolitical contradictions.

The territorial disputes between China and Japan, Japan and South Korea, Japan’s territorial claims to Russia over the North Kuril Islands, and other conflict situations in the region essentially stem from the different interpretations of the political and international legal framework for ending WW II (conflicting references to the Cairo, Yalta and Potsdam declarations by the victorious powers, the San Francisco Peace Treaty, etc.).  

In its claim to the southern islands of the Kuril range, Tokyo refers to the Soviet-Japanese Declaration of October 19, 1956 “On ending the state of war between the two states and restoring diplomatic and consular relations”, according to which the Soviet Union agreed to eventually hand the Shikotan and Habomai Islands over to Japan, but only on conditions, which were never met.

The Tokyo Declaration stipulated, among other things, that the two islands’ transfer to Japan would happen only after the two countries had signed a peace treaty. The Soviet Union also protested against the presence of US military bases on Japanese territory.

The biggest hurdle barring progress on the issue of the South Kuril Islands and the conclusion of a peace treaty is Japan’s refusal to take into account Russia’s strategic concerns about the status which the four islands of the South Kuril range will have if they ever come under Japanese control.

Russia wants guarantees of the neutral status of these islands and the absence of US military bases there. Japan has repeatedly promised that, but the problem is that under the terms of the US-Japanese Security Treaty Tokyo cannot do this despite repeated parliamentary attempts to propose a new interpretation of the Treaty that would ensure Japan’s greater independence from Washington. This could prove an insuperable obstacle though.

We should also bear in mind the impact the active efforts bent by experts in both countries to influence public opinion concerning the issue of the islands and the peace treaty. For decades, historians and experts have been trying to prove the correctness of their own approach to the problem. In Russia, they are often guided (and not without a reason) by the motto “We will not give up an inch of our homeland!”

They argue that that under no circumstances should Russia cede its territories, be it for geopolitical or other reasons. However, in an effort to solve complex interstate disputes, diplomats have at various times employed different approaches. Here are some recent examples of this.

In keeping with the terms of a Russian-Chinese agreement signed in Beijing in October 2004, the Tarabarov Islands and parts of the Bolshoi Ussuriysky island in the Amur riverbed with a total area of 174 square kilometers were handed over to China as part of the demarcation of the Russian-Chinese border in the Khabarovsk region. Earlier, the Russian-Chinese border was finally delineated in the Primorsky Region, where a number of territories were also transferred to China.

In 2010, Russia and Norway issued a “Joint Statement on Maritime Delimitation and Cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean,”  ending almost 40 years of negotiations over 175,000 square kilometers of disputed territory of the Barents Sea. A new delimitation line divided this territory into two equal parts, which gave some experts a reason to say that Norway received almost 80,000 square kilometers of “Russian” territory (citing the fact that Josef Stalin once drew a demarcation line there).

These examples show that in rare cases Russia has agreed to redraw its borders as part of lengthy negotiations (sometimes running for decades),  based on existing contractual obligations and careful consideration of its national interests.

Who knows, maybe the same will happen to the peace treaty between Russia and Japan, finally closing the book on World War II in Asia and the Pacific?

From our partner International Affairs

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U.S. and China Gear Up for Ideological Warfare

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Within light of growing US-China competition and problems surrounding Anaklia, Georgia’s positioning as the US key strategic partner in the region might come under question. Any volatility on the future of Georgia’s Black Sea ports will hinder prospects of greater collaboration between Tbilisi and Washington. This would in the long run open the doors to Chinese investments, limiting America’s strength in the Black Sea.

Current developments in world politics have clearly shown that the 21st century will be more or less a geopolitical contest between the two giants, China and the US.

Many still compare China-US competition to the Cold War of the 20th century between Americans and the Soviets. The scale of the China-US contest is far larger than the 20th century example by involving technological, commercial and military competition. The Soviets could not compete in trade and technologies, while the Chinese nowadays are almost as strong as the Americans.

Thus, these confrontations are of quite different scales. But there was one interesting aspect in the Soviet-American cold war which is rarely mentioned by scholars, analysts and politicians – the ideological dimension.

The Americans, following the end of World War II, started increasingly looking at the Soviet challenge as an ideological battle. It was not merely about democracy being against communism, but more as a free world against oppression. Behind this thinking was a methodical strategic planning, military stratagems as well as effective alliance building abroad. But it was nevertheless important to cushion all of that into the concept of an ideological crusade. It helped the US master its allies across the world and explain that any meandering would lead to their destruction by the Soviet state’s non democratic institutions.

Ideology is important and it has always been so in history. Looking back at the post-WWII years, it is visible how gradually the American political leadership was moving from hopes of reaching possible understanding with Stalin to recognizing that a showdown was imminent. Once this realization happened, an ideological cushion was prepared and it became difficult to stop the US.

Back to the modern US-China competition, politicians and analysts in the West talk about possible consensuses between the two powers on trade and other issues. However, from time to time many even in the US itself fail to grasp how deep the differences between Washington and Beijing are, which limits exponentially the potential for a wide ranging agreement.

What is missed is the various hints coming from the US officials and the documents from American state agencies that Washington is starting to regard China’s rise and the challenge it poses the US-led world increasingly within the ideological boundaries.

There is a certain build-up in that sense, and it is likely that the competition with China will be framed as an ideological one in the coming years. As it was during the Cold War period, an ideological showdown will help the US better clarify its aims and ideas to its allies in the years that have seen a relative sluggishness in NATO and the west’s stance on global threats in general.

The ideological setup will also help framing the American public’s perception, master the country’s resources and perhaps reinvigorate the political class’ commitment to the transatlantic and Asia-Pacific allies.

At the same time, the ideological frame instituted by the US will likely be responded to by the Chinese side. As the Soviets did, Beijing will follow suit and frame its own worldview more openly and antagonistically (which it has so far explicitly avoided doing) towards the US.

The ideological framing of the competition will also be the last straw which would lead the two countries into the kind of war the Americans and Soviets had. However, while the US in the 20th century sat and waited till the Soviet Union collapsed, simply because the Soviet system was destined to fail economically from the very beginning, a similar expectation would not work for China.

Thus, it is important to watch closely the various statements and reports coming from both Americans and Chinese and how their respective official language evolves into religious, nearly canonical pronouncements of Good against Evil.

Author’s note: first published in Georgia Today

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President Xi Jinping’s diplomacy doctrine

Giancarlo Elia Valori

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After a long preparatory work and thanks to the strong mindedness that we already recognize to him, on March 10, 2018 Xi Jinping succeeded in imposing – with 99.86% of favourable votes – a constitutional reform enabling him to extend his stay in power without time limits.

It should be recalled that the maximum limit of the two consecutive terms of office was introduced by Deng Xiaoping in 1982 to avoid the danger of a “personalistic drift” (as Deng himself called it), which – according to that ruling class, just getting over the Red Guards’ harsh attacks -had characterized the last phase of Mao Zedong’s regime.

 After stabilizing his power within the Party and the State – with his loyal aides, such as Wang Qishan, who managed the world financial crisis of 2008-2010 and the relations with the United States, as well as Deputy-Prime Minister Liu He, supervising  economic and financial policy, and Yi Gang, the Governor of the Central Bank – President Xi Jinping established a large and cohesive negotiating group for international economic and financial affairs, above all with the United States. In 2017 the United States managed a trade surplus of 375 billion US dollars in favour of China, as well as a volume of Chinese investment in US Treasury bills equal to 1,200 billion US dollars and many other operations. At the core of them there is the New Silk Road, which will characterize the strategic-economic and geopolitical nature of China’s current foreign policy.

Power projection in the Heartland and US potential exclusion from it.

As Brzezinsky said, when the Heartland is united with the Eurasian peninsula, there will be the end of US hegemony. Both in Europe and in the rest of the world.

Furthermore,Liu He and Yi Gang spent long periods in the United States to study international finance and political science.

The powerful anti-corruption campaign also contributed to the quick and effective results of this great change in China’s leadership.  Besides the thoroughcontrol ofthe ways and procedures to select both the middle-low and upperranks of the Party and the State, carried out directly by President Xi Jinping’s “internal” group, said campaign was organized also by Wang Qishan, the powerful Head of the new Party’s “control commission” and very loyal to President Xi Jinping.

 An essential aspect of foreign policy, which for President Xi Jinping and his team is mainly economic and financial foreign policy, is the establishment of independent Chinese initiatives abroad, in addition to expanding China’s role in the WTO and in the other international organizations.

 It is by no mere coincidence that the Chinese intelligence services have a section dealing with the “use of international standards”.

 Initiatives such as the Investment Bank for Asian Infrastructure (in which also Italy participates) and the BRICS Investment Bank, which are essential for understanding the role of China as a country within the  world trade flows, but also its strong geopolitical autonomy.

 These phenomena will emerge above all in the 75 countries that have already joined the New Silk Road.

 Economic ties with China, but adhesion of the 75 countries to China’s unwritten project of hegemony in the new world order, which today, in particular, appears as a structural weakening of the United States.

With specific reference to diplomacy, the recently-drafted “Xi Jinping’s Thought on Diplomacy” envisages that – as  already done for seven decades -the Party develops a diplomacy thought “with Chinese characteristics” and that this Thought is defined directly by the CPC leaders.

While today’s world is infinitely complex, as Chinese leaders maintain, the Chinese diplomacy must also reach a new starting point.

A new starting point that simplifies the initial approach and leads to a New World Order, not focused on the United States, but linked – if anything – to a Chinese diplomacy operating bilaterally in all economic and political spheres and in all areas of the world.

Hence, following President Xi Jinping’s diplomatic policy line means – first and foremost -to remain loyal to the peaceful development pathway, with a view to furthering cooperation with all countries to achieve win-win results. It also means to support the formal architecture of the current international system, with a view to finally achieving a better external environment for all States and making definitive progress towards world peace and human progress.

Hence President Xi Jinping’s diplomacy means – first and foremost-support for the gradual and ongoing opening up of global markets, especially today when Western countries tend to protectionism, but is also designed to foster relations with the countries that the West is neglecting or still considers mere “deposits of raw materials”, such as Africa or Latin America.Said diplomacy, however, works above all to avoid the creation of hotbeds of crisis.

In a nutshell,albeit with some degree of legitimate simplification, President Xi Jinping is turning most of Mao Zedong’s “Three Worlds Theory” into diplomacy doctrine.

It should be recalled that it is a classification dividing the countries according to their hegemonic claims and designs, as well as to their power projection.

 The “imperialist” West and the “revisionist” USSR, or rather the First World, would wear themselves out, with their cold wars, on the ground of the “great European plain” they both want to conquer, while all the vast world that is not yet developed will be led by the People’s Republic of China.

 The Second World was made up of the developed countries, but the marginal ones compared to the nations of the First World.

Analyzing President Xi Jinping’s doctrine on Chinese diplomacy more in depth, we realize that these times have already come.

As to the First World, the USA is under crisis, while Russia is now part of the Chinese-led Heartland. The Second World’s countries can all now be part of a bilateral win-win project guaranteed by the new Chinese superpower.

 Firstly, China has experienced 40 years of continuous development, i.eafter the Four Modernisations and the subsequent economic and political reforms.

Currently China is the second largest economy in the world and, in 10 years’ time, Chinese analysts reasonably expect it will outperform the United States.

 On the other hand, as seen above, there is the progressive expansion of protectionist practices that lead to strong strategic and economic tension between States.

In this case, precisely with his diplomacy doctrine, President Xi Jinping maintains that the domestic choices must always be coordinated with those in the international sphere.

 There is no separation – which is eminently non-dialectic – between domestic and international policy in a country.

 Again according to President Xi Jinping’s doctrine, at world level the guidelines can only be those of mutual respect for global peace(hence never non-hegemonic) and of mutual development, not only at economic, but also at human level.

 It is a Western-rooted humanism, albeit “with Chinese characteristics”, as Chinese would say.

Hence President Xi Jinping’s Diplomacy Doctrine strongly supports multilateralism, both at political and economic and financial levels. It also promotes free trade and facilitatesinvestmentand finally tends to renew and “rejuvenate” the system of global relations as against the US “unilateralism”, which is closely related to protectionism.

Obviously an exporting economy such as China’s, which is however expanding also in the internal market, wants free trade. It is less obvious, however, that a country dominating the world financial system like the United States is linked to the protection of its industries, which are often mature or even decocted.

 The primary factor is that, in the idealistic diplomacy resulting from President Xi Jinping’s Thought, what is noted by many Chinese scholars and diplomats is the significant and specific contribution of the country to human civilization – a contribution that, in Chinese leaders’ minds, no other country can currently provide.

 It is not a secondary and rhetorical factor: humanism with Chinese characteristics shows that China holds universal values, while the West is ever less globalized in its values and lifestyle.

 The China that has expanded throughout the world, in the 40 years since the Four Modernizations, is a primary part of the international community. Its interests have spread across the world, which implies that China has a perspective and a way of assessing facts in a global and not strictly nationalistic way.

 Chinese humanism as hegemony of soft power.

Hence,  also the West – which is obviously not satisfied with China’s quick, stable and powerful growth – cannot even understand how, according to Chinese analysts, the country can have the perception of its universal commitments and interests.

A Chinese diplomat said that they have been accustomed to be modest, but they have begun to engage deeply in international and global issues, with a view to leading “the reform of globalization” – which is the key to President Xi Jinping’s geopolitics – particularly after the 18thCPC National Congress.

With specific reference to the relations between the USA and China, President Xi Jinping’s theory of Diplomacy maintains that cooperation always achieves win-win objectives, while confrontation always entails a loss for both actors.

According to President Xi Jinping, those who still have a cold war mentality isolate themselves from the world, and those who currently use zero-sum games will never be able to avoid confrontation without suffering great damage.

 If the United States creates the conditions for a hard confrontation with China – and powerful enemies emerge – it will reach a condition in which the contrast, even peaceful, will be so hard as to severely undermine the US world rank, as well as its status as first global economy.

 As to the relations between China and the Russian Federation, President Xi Jinping regards the two nations as global strategic partners in all areas.

Currently the relations between the two countries are “rock solid” – just to put it in President Xi Jinping’s Doctrine. Together they are becoming a strategically very important force for maintaining peace in the world.

 Common Russian-Chinese interests are always expanding, but they never negatively affect a third party and are never influenced by the decisions of a third party.

 It is the current Chinese definition of the classic term “independence”. Esoterically, the Void between two Full.

Hence, just to recap, President Xi Jinping’s diplomacy doctrine consists of ten simple points:

a) always supporting the CPC Central Committee’s policy as if it were the essential principle for action, underlining the function of the centralized and unified direction of the Party as far as all relations with foreign countries are concerned.

b) Supporting the development of diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, with a view to fulfilling the mission of national rejuvenation. The internal and external spheres are linked and must never be treated separately.

c) Preserving world peace and reaching a common level of development among peoples and nations, with a view to building a large community, with a shared future for all ankind. Chinese global humanism seen as a Vase of Kingdoms for every national and humanistic tradition.

d) Strengthening all countries’ strategic trust in Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

e) Continuing to work for the Belt and Road Initiative in view of all member countries’ common growth, through discussion and collaboration.

f) Following the path of peaceful development, based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation. Respect, not asymmetrical hegemony, but symmetrical hegemony – in the Chinese view – since it is the result of the political effects of a win-win relationship.

g) Developing global partnerships while proposing a diplomatic agenda.

h) Leading the reform of the global governance system, based on the concepts of justice and fairness – i.e. non-hegemonic concepts of a cultural and political nature.

i) Taking the Chinese national interests as the bottom line for safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. It is once again the link between the outside and the inside of the same Vase, namely domestic policy and foreign policy.

j) Nurturing the growth of a specific style of Chinese diplomacy, combining the fine tradition of China’s “external work” with the current needs and characteristics of the international environment. This means to link the Confucian and elitist Chinese tradition with the daily practice of diplomacy.

 According to the Party’s current leadership, the study of President Xi Jinping’s diplomacy thought is an essential part of the thought on Socialism “with Chinese characteristics”, so as to achieve a New Era, which is designed to be the start of a global and peaceful diplomacy led by China.

 A diplomacy mainly supporting the reform of globalization, the deep core of President Xi Jinping’s diplomacy thought, as well as the global spreading of China’s win-win relations with all the countries of the world.

 From this viewpoint, and without ever losing sight of the goal of Chinese national rejuvenation and universal human development – another essential feature of President Xi Jinping’s diplomacy thought – new types of international relations will be established, based on mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation. Global multilateralism.

In the future, the diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, introduced by President Xi Jinping, will promote a new international order, resulting from an inclusive world of stable peace, universal security and common prosperity.

This is not propaganda. It is a project that – in the specific terminology of the CPC Central Committee -is building China’s new foreign policy.

 Without this kind of political eschatology, we cannot fully understand President Xi Jinping’s thought on international relations.

 For a modern, but also for a traditional Chinese, the Confucian metaphysics of principles is what metaphysics was for Aristotle: “the science of ends” – ends which are as real as means.

 In fact, Father Matteo Ricci S.J. regardedConfucius as “the Aristotle of the East” and, in the “Rites controversy”, which involved the Jesuit and the Franciscan Fathers, the former supported the sinicizationof the Holy Mass because, despite everything, the Chinese tradition was comparable and consistent with Aristotle’s tradition that had refounded Catholic Metaphysics, through St. Thomas Aquinas.

Moreover, it is a moral and cultural standing proposing itself as a new leadership, in a world of political materialism – especially in the West – and of short-term operational and practical visions.

Hence, there is a successful merging of Marxist analysis and Chinese cultural tradition – a modern cultural and political tradition that is now also ancient.

Therefore, this is another essential point of President Xi Jinping’s Thought on foreign policy.

President Xi Jinping’s diplomacy is an important achievement of the now successful turning of Confucian thought into “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

In President Xi Jinping’s mind, arts and culture – which are also essential in the current Chinese power projection – are based on some points that can be taken from various speeches and documents and can be summarized as follows:

1) contemporary art must take patriotism as its primary theme (patriotism and not Marxism),thus leading the crowds  to have correct visions of history, nationality, the State and  culture. Confirming the integrity and self-confidence of the Chinese people – here lies mass pedagogy, which applies also to foreign policy.

2) Some artists ridicule the sublime (and much could be said in relation to the Western theory of the sublime) and even offend the classics, thus depriving the crowds of heroic figures. The world upside down, the good as the bad, the evil becoming good, the ugly becoming beautiful. Here President Xi Jinping, who knows the European culture well, will certainly remember a scene of the tragedy that built the Western culture: the ritual of the Three Witches around the cauldron in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

3) The market value of arts is completely irrelevant, compared to their social value. Another problem of pedagogy in arts, while the West tends to exclude the public from the works of art and is scandalized – following Walter Benjamin -by their technical reproducibility. The economic benefits are always worth less than social ones – and this is another very important factor to understand President Xi Jinping’s thought. Nevertheless, the independence of arts and the autonomy of their aesthetic value is indisputable. Autonomy, not exclusion from the public.

4) Chinese art must never chase the foreigner. Provincialism is the absolute evil. We cannot say President Jinping is wrong.

5) Providing sound, healthy and progressive content to mass fashions coming from abroad.

In essence, it is a transposition – within the arts – of the same principles that President Xi Jinping has developed for the art of diplomacysince last June.

 In other words, the values of all behaviours;the universal effect of behaviours; the union between the private and the public sphere, i.e. between the external (foreign policy) and internal domains (national life).

The Chinese still view diplomacy as an art, unlike the West, which now regards its diplomats as sellers of goods and services, as financial promoters or advisors, and possibly as brokers of contracts.

 This will never be the diplomacy of a prestigious, influential and successful country.

The New Chinese Diplomacy, however, also concerns President Xi Jinping’s attempt to capitalize on Donald J. Trump’s isolation on the world scene.

 So far, however, only 19% of the citizens in 25 Western countries like China as world leader, while a US Rule is still acceptable to 25% of the world public.

 Not even the US results, however, are very brilliant.

 After all, President Jinping’s goal is to make China rapidly becoming a global superpower, thus creating a protective network of allied countries, with a view to counterbalancing the equivalent US structure of international relations. Once again the Void and the Full exchanging their roles.

In fact, one of the reasons underlying the Belt and Road Initiative is to create a network of long-term allies for China, capable of covering at least the whole Eurasian Heartland, thus blocking it in the face of the US power expansion.

Once again the Void and the Full, two terms of the Chinese esoteric tradition: the Full will be China’s and the Russian Federation’s undisputed power over the entire Eurasian Heartland, with ramifications towards an increasingly weaker Eurasian peninsula in geopolitical and military terms. 

The Void will be the US strategic autonomy around China – at least for the time being.

 There may also be a structural Chinese contrast with India, a future great power, also at economic level, but to the south, at the crossroads between the Heartland and the great line of communication between the Asian Seas and the Persian Gulf, and finally the Mediterranean.

For the time being, the EU irrelevance will suffice. An unbeatable guarantee for both the USA and the other major global players.

The void, more important than the full, is currently the still decisive US presence in the primary and secondary seas, with little penetration into Africa, very strong US presence in Europe and the North American management of the break between Eastern Europe and Russia, which is capable of making the Heartland open and “viable” and depriving it of strategic value. 

 This is the great picture in which President Jinping’s Diplomacy Doctrine shall be seen.

Hence, we are still in the phase of the speech delivered by President Jinping to the CPC Central Committee in 2017, when he said that “China would stand tall and strong in the East”.

In a phase of globalization crisis, we are still reinterpreting the theme of China’s  “central interests” – an issue that had been discussed by the Chinese leaders, especially in the early 2000s.

 On the basis, however, of the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” and of the “Chinese dream”, two essential themes of the 18th CPC Congress that crowned Xi Jinping as leader.

  The President has quickly become China’s “central leader”, especially through the great campaign against corruption.

 At international level, Jinping’s Presidency differs greatly from an essential strategic theme of contemporary China: the low profile imposed, at the beginning, by Deng Xiaoping.

Deng seemed to think that China should be allowed to build a modern economy, which was its first and fundamental objective, but should not be bothered with the major geopolitical and military issues, which were still out of reach and diverting the country from its primary objective.

President Jinping has instead overturned this principle: China certainly has world ambitions, which are also its primary interests.

Hence China’s core interests are well known: the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank;the One Belt, One RoadInitiative; the construction of artificial islands in the Sea of Japan; the building of the Djibouti base and the silent participation in many world conflicts and tensions. These are all ways to further China’s global power and protect its primary interests.

We should also recall “China 2025” and “Amazing China”, two projects that are far from negligible in this new Chinese plan that consists in regulating, reforming and even regaining globalization, while other countries, such as the USA, temporarily recreate their economy and their labor force returning to protectionism. Inevitably, this will always recoil on them.

 Protectionism is a drug with short-term effects.

 The alternative option is twofold: to continue the game of globalization – which has now almost completely deindustrialized the nations that began the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century – or to temporarily strengthen the country with protectionism.

On the one hand, however, China can afford globalization because it has a different productive formula but, on the other, it could play even the game of protectionism, using the belt of the Silk Road countries, which can easily maintain and absorb an acceptable level of Chinese exports, even under the terms and conditions set by China.

Hence, are we now faced with a new cold war, the one between China and the West?

 Probably, but only a Third Type one, with an economic war characterized by Second Type skirmishes, halfway between the symbolic and the strictly military domains.

 China has already tried to close operations with an alliance between it and the EU, Russia and Japan.

Nevertheless, considering the current configuration of world trade, the attitude has been lukewarm.

 The USA has instead reactivated part of its trade with the EU, by greatly strengthening its historic relationship with Japan.

Hence, there is once again the spectre of China’s closure within its traditional borders – a danger that President Xi Jinping wants to avert ab ovo.

 As early as 2009, China’s “central interests” were theorized in the Central Committee as: 1) China’s fundamental system and State security; 2) the State sovereignty and territorial integrity; 3) the stable development of the economy and society.

 The 2011 White Paper added “peaceful development” and “national reunification” to these fundamental policy lines.

 That is the one with Taiwan.

 Currently China makes it increasingly clear that respect for its core interests is essential to create the win-win relations that characterize its bilateral economic relations.

 This is one of the primary aims of President Xi Jinping’s Diplomacy Doctrine.

Moreover, China, is no longer encouraging Chinese companies’ investment abroad, thus reuniting all what was previously scattered everywhere in the sole Belt and RoadInitiative, which is currently part of the Constitution and the Party’s Basic Policy Line.

The Belt and Road Line was born from that of the “March to the West”, a strategy initially developed by the international policy expert Wang Jisi, who believed China had to go towards Central Asia and the Middle East, with a view to minimizing the tensions with the United States in East Asia.

An essential area for the United States.

Currently, however, the “Belt and Road” initiative is a global and not a regional initiative – as Wang Jisiinitially thought – a project that will lead to geopolitical upheavals not yet predictable.

 The project stems from two essential needs: China’s exit from its unsafe traditional borders and the continuous, stable internal economic development that, where lacking, would put the power of the Party and the State to a hard test.

These are the economic and political mechanisms that President Xi Jinping’s Diplomacy Theory wants to expand and protect.

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