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Climate Change and China’s Mission

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Authors: Shrey Das & Wang Li

The 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was passed in Rio de Janeiro with a vision that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions could be made possible by including a commitment from the developed nations to cut their emissions back to 1990 levels by 2000. At that time, China was a typical developing country as its economic capacity was insignificant in global terms.

Two decades later, by 2011, China had become one of six countries which were responsible for over 70% of the global CO2 emissions; it accounted for 29%, while the U.S. accounted for 16%, the EU for 11%, India for 6%, Russia for 5%, and Japan for 4%.

Climate change is not a ‘normal’ international environmental problem, but rather threatens to cause huge changes in living conditions and challenges existing patterns of energy use and security. Incidentally, a writer such as Kenneth Szabo has irresponsibly referred to China “as one of the dirtiest countries on the planet”, and stated that “China’s lung cancer epidemic is a global problem”. By making such statements, he displayed ignorance and bias by saying that China’s drive for “Green China” was just covering up a less attractive truth as opposed to being a genuine long-term strategy to become an “ecological civilization”. For sure, every person has a right to express one’s opinion, but as an academic or social media personality, one must be cautious and responsible for what is argued, and his/her analyses should be based on a careful study rather than an incomplete one-sided review of the facts.

As both a developing country and a rising power, China has entertained its century-long dream to be transformed into a great power respected all over the world by 2050. It is modern history that has taught the Chinese to struggle for their greatness equal to the European powers and the United States. True, it is self-evident that China’s status as the second largest economy in the world is the result of a long and costly journey, which both the Chinese leaders and people have never denied. Yet, undoubtedly China has also made some remarkable changes, and now through more ambitiously concerted efforts it aspires to catch up with foreign counterparts by planning new national parks and developing more renewable power sources, which are supposed to account for half of all new electricity generation in China. In order to ensure the smooth operation of all projects, the Chinese President Xi Jin-ping in 2013 defined three issues to China’s security in the coming decades; they are nuclear proliferation, cyber-security, and climate change.

As early as 2005, when Xi was the Party Secretary of Zhejiang Province, he put forward that “the lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets.” Later, he reiterated Chinese commitment to becoming an “ecological civilization” at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015 by saying that China was both sincere and determined to contribute its share to the success of the Paris Conference. The analytical reasons Xi presented were that in the past few decades, China had seen rapid economic growth and significant improvement in people’s lives. However, this had taken a toll on the environment and resources. Having learned the lesson in a hard way, China has made vigorous ecological endeavors to promote green, circular, and low-carbon growth. In a paradigm shift, China integrated its climate change efforts into the medium- and long-term strategies of economic and social development. Now it has installed a capacity of renewable energy which accounts for 24% of the world’s total, with the newly installed capacity accounting for 42% of the global total. China tops the world in terms of both energy conservation and the utilization of new and renewable energies, such as wind and solar.

For sure, some might be suspicious of the fine words and the efforts by the Chinese leader. Yet anyone with knowledge of Chinese culture would be aware of the ancient Chinese wisdom that “All things live in harmony and grow with nourishments.” Chinese culture values harmony between man and nature through respecting nature. Going forward, ecological endeavors will feature prominently in China’s grand strategy for its 13th Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020). To that end, China will work hard to implement the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and inclusive ways of development. In doing so, China will, on the basis of technological and institutional innovation, adopt new policy measures to improve industrial mix, build low-carbon energy systems, and create a green and low-carbon transportation and trading market in order to foster a new pattern of modernization featuring harmony between man and nature. In its intended nationally determined goals, China pledges to peak CO2 emissions by around 2030 and will strive to achieve it as soon as possible.

Firstly, the Chinese government has warned against a mentality of zero-sum game, and has expressed the resolve that acting on climate change is not only driven by China’s domestic needs for sustainable development, but is also inspired by its sense of responsibility to fully engage in global governance and to forge a community of shared destiny for human kind. Rather than being region-specific, climate change is a ubiquitous problem affecting all. Given this, President Xi made remarks at the Paris conference that all countries, particularly developed countries, should assume more shared responsibilities for win-win results. Historically and morally speaking, those wealthy countries with a completed process of industrialization should bear the greater burden for carbon emission reductions. Considering that it is imperative to respect differences among countries, especially developing ones, the Chinese government has insisted on the legitimate needs of developing countries to reduce poverty and improve their peoples’ living standards, which should not be denied even when the issue of climate change is being addressed at the global level.

Secondly, China has called on developed countries to honor their commitment, by mobilizing $100 billion each year before 2020 and providing stronger financial support, along with climate-friendly technologies-transfer, to developing countries. Since then, it has taken an active part in international cooperation on climate change. For example, over the years, the Chinese government has earnestly fulfilled its policy commitments of South-South cooperation regarding climate change to support developing countries, especially the least-developed countries, such as landlocked developing countries and small island developing states, in confronting the challenges of climate change. In a show of greater support, China announced in 2015 that it would establish an RMB 20 billion South-South Climate Cooperation Fund. It later launched cooperation projects to set up 10 pilot low-carbon industrial parks, and started 100 mitigation and adaptation programs in other developing countries while providing them with over 1,000 training opportunities on climate change. In addition, China has continued to promote cooperation in such areas as clean energy, disaster prevention and mitigation, ecological protection, climate-smart agriculture, and low-carbon smart cities.

In conclusion, climate change, because of its all –embracing nature and its roots in essential human activities, poses an enormous challenge for international society in which it has and continues to struggle for its sustainable development. Given this, how it is faced will decide China’s destiny as a potential great global power or not. Yet, the impact of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement can also be felt, since it will hamper the efforts of mitigating climate change threats in the Pacific–Asian area. In spite of this, it is unquestionable that as tackling climate change is a shared mission for mankind, all eyes are now on the establishment of an equitable and effective global mechanism on climate change, working for global sustainable development at a higher level and bringing about new international relations featuring win-win cooperation. A combined effort from all nations, developing, semi-developed, and developed, will yield fruitful results. Due to this, China has consistently underscored its commitment to be an “ecological civilization” in a global village, and has equally argued for international consensus, comprehensive and balanced development models, technology-transfer, and more cooperative and transparent strategies. Sure, as French statesman Fabius said, since climate change is a part of global governance, China is ready to play a constructive role and work for a new green civilization and an ecological civilization.

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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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