The true North-Korean issue
Today, after the signature of the agreement between the two Koreas during the fifth Summit after the 1953 ceasefire, we can finally note some structural constant factors of the inter-Korean issue.
The South Korean leader, Moon Jae-in, asked Kim Jong Un when he could visit Pyongyang and the North Korean leader replied: “even now”.
Forgive this subjective note in a strategic analysis like this, but I was there.
I was received with full honours by the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, Kim Yong-Nam, at the Supreme People’s Assembly Palace the day before the Panmunjom ceremony. I spoke at length with the North Korean Leader and his aides and I assessed many ideas and impressions.
I saw and meditated everything although, as often happens to me, I have to treasure upall these things and ponder them into my heart – as the Blessed Virgin did when she listened to her Son’s sermons.
In other words, firstly I can state that North Korea’s opening is real and sincere. It will also best able, if Westerners and Japan want so.
As repeatedly noted over the years, North Korea’s nuclear, missile and chemical-biological potential was precisely what the small North Korea needed to rise to a world status and to pose the problem of its security and independence before all superpowers, as well as to ask for the respect due even to the smallest country in the world.
Countries, regardless of their size, can be autonomous and independent or not.
The key has always been to avoid being “disarmed prophets” – just to use an old concept developed by Machiavelli.
Italy is not a dependent country, it is now virtually non-existent.
Secondly, Kim Jong Un’s opening to the Western world, and to the United States at first, is conditional upon an issue that Kim himself has long discussed with Chinese President Xi Jinping on his very recent visit to China in the last week of March.
As repeatedly noted in recent years, China does not want to have a US army on its border without having the possibility of opposing to it a buffer State protecting it from the US imperial instability and volatility.
North Korea does not want to be the Piedmont of China, a small military power patrolling the Chinese Southern borders.
However, it does not even want to be a secondary and passive factor in the future development of the entire Korean peninsula.
Therefore the tree planted by Kim and Moon together on the North-South Korean border is not an old symbol of the French Revolution, but rather the token of a Korean unity based on a first concept, namely denuclearization – which is China’s primary goal for both North and South Korea.
Hence eliminating all nuclear, biological and chemical weapons from the Korean peninsula is a guarantee for North Korea, as well as safety and security for South Korea and an absolute need for China.
I think it would be a good choice also for the United States and Japan.
Hence lowering and equalizing strategic potentials throughout Southeast Asia is the rational point of contact for all strategies in the region. It must be pursued immediately.
Rightly Japan has still some doubts about the pan-Korean Summit and it has promptly made it known to the United States.
But, again, lowering the trigger threshold of a clash, even a conventional one, works to the benefit of everyone and mainly of Japan.
The latter is recreating a tripartite economic relationship with China and South Korea,which could become the axis of North Korea’s new regional development.
It is also worth recalling that Japan is fully resuming its economic relations with China thanks to the 13th Round of trilateral economic talks between Japan, China and, coincidentally, South Korea.
An axis along which North America can place itself to tackle economic issues with China.
This is essential in a context of present and future tariff wars.
Hence also the economic relations between South Korea and China are returning to high levels.
This strategically means that – if Xi Jinping’s China wants so – it can almost fully replace the US support to South Korea.
This is related and conducive to a weakening of the US military system in South Korea.
Thirdly it is worth underlining that Kim Jong Un ordered his military officers to “organize frequent meetings” with their Southern counterparts, without even referring to South Korea’s frequent military exercises with the US forces.
The “permanent peace regime” to resolve the “unnatural state of tension” between the two Koreas is one of the true goals of the Summit and it goes in the direction of Russian strategic interests.
Let us not forget that Vladivostok is a few kilometers from the North Korean coast.
This is also in the interest of China, which is not much interested in a unified Korea, but has the supreme aim of not having US forces in contact with its own or even with North Korea’s, considering that 160,000 Chinese soldiers are stationed at fewer than 100 kilometres from the North Korean border.
In particular, China does not want nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, both in North and in South Korea.
At the end of our summary on the fifth inter-Korean Summit – after the 1972, 1992, 2000 and 2007 ones -we arrive at the core of the issue, namely the economy.
In short, Kim Jong Un wants to ease the military tension to pursue his primary goal, i.e. his country’s economic growth.
It is not a denial of his theory of the correlation between military development and economic growth.
Quite the reverse. It is a reaffirmation of the positive connection between North Korea’s two lines of development.
However, which is the North Korean leadership that has worked for this great breakthrough, thus reaching this turning point?
The mistake that Westerners make when analyzing the Asian political structures is to think that everything happens as in the Grimms’ fairy tales, in which a King decides bizarre things by chance without ever analyzing their effects.
None of that: the Asian systems, but especially North Korea’s, are apparently “irrational” for us followers of the legal rationalism not based on value judgements, but perfectly functional within their traditions and the oldest political symbols of the East.
If only in the West were we so sensitive to our old political traditions as the Chinese and North Koreans – but also the Japanese and the Vietnamese- are. The issue does not lie in economic systems, but in the political and cultural nature of political systems.
As is well-known, Karl Wittfogel studied the role played by ancient China’s hydraulic system in relation to the mythical role played by the Emperor of “Everything under the Heavens”.
The “Great Korean Empire” was proclaimed in 1897 and was later immediately reabsorbed in the opposing dialectics between China and Japan.
Both North and South Korea remember the symbol, its history and its meaning, as well as the never healed wound.
Hence without well understanding the Leader’s traditional and sapiential role in the Asian world, neither Communism nor the other pro-Western societies can be understood.
Hence who is really collaborating with Kim Jong Un, who is a cultured and lucid rational leader, very different from the “rocket man” described by the less cultivated President Trump?
The answer to this question is Ri Su-Yong, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Korea.
He was next to Kim Jong Un during the ceremonies of the recent meeting in Panmunjom. He was with me the day before and, indeed, he is now a friend with whom I have long been talking about international policy.
Certainly I would have preferred not to be citizen of a country, namely Italy, which after two months of the North Korean Ambassador’s stay in Italy, refused to assess his credentials and sent him back home without even receiving him for pure common courtesy, as good manners dictate.
The foolish servants of politicians who are making other political choices. The utmost idiocy.
Voltaire was right in saying: “very often, say what you will, a knave is only a fool”.
Let us imagine how much leeway we could open up in the new Korean equilibrium, in both business and international policy, as well as projection of Italy’s and EU’s peaceful power throughout Asia – if only we knew how to behave.
Nevertheless Quos Deus lose vult, dementat.
However, with a view to better understanding the issue of relations between North Korea and me, I want to quote a letter recently sent by Ri SuYong to me.
It is an important, official and – indeed – analytical letter to understand the whole range of issues relating to the relations between South and North Korea.
Giancarlo Elia Valori
Honorable de l’ Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France, UNESCO Ambassador, Chairman of La Centrale Finanziaria Generale SpA
Dear Prof. Giancarlo Elia Valori,
I would like to offer you my compliments and send you this letter regarding the situation of the Korean peninsula.
On November 29, 2017, our country brilliantly accomplished the great historic achievement of completing the State’s nuclear power program thanks to the successful test launch of the new ICBM.
The intercontinental ballistic missile “Hwasong 15”, newly developed according to the strategic and political decision of the Workers’ Party of Korea, is a more powerful ICBM reaching our goal of completing the missile system development.
Our efforts to develop the strategic weapon are intended to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and to ensure the peaceful life of the people faced with the US hostile policy and ongoing threats.
In recent years the United States has systematically not recognized our country and tried to fully isolate and stifle us.
By falsely accusing our nuclear deterrent to be “a threat to the world”, the United States forces the other countries to downgrade the level of diplomatic relations and completely suspend all international economic and trade activities with our country, as well as to step up sanctions even in the field of international organizations’ humanitarian aid activities.
By recently putting our country again in the list of “countries sponsoring terrorism”, the Americans have openly shown that they use every method and means to stifle our system.
Unfortunately, some European countries have lost their impartiality and objectivity and follow the US attempts to isolate and stifle the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
It is well known that the Korean peninsula’s nuclear problem is a matter between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the USA, resulting from 70 years of US hostile policy and ongoing threats.
It is no secret that the United States had attempted to launch the nuclear bomb on our country during the Korean war and has begun to deploy nuclear weapons in South Korea since 1957.
With a view to invading our country, since 1970 the Americans and South Koreans have started to carry out ongoing joint military exercises on a large scale against us, by using their huge nuclear strategic resources including nuclear submarines and bombers.
How could we remain passive when a country deploys strategic nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines in the Atlantic Ocean and threatens every day to bomb our country with nuclear bombers while openly declaring on the UN scene its willingness to exterminate us?
For over 70 years European countries have been able to ensure peace and social stability along the path of the European Union thanks to the common will and efforts to avoid the recurrence of a cruel war such as World War II.
Peace is a very valuable asset for our people who have suffered a cruel war imposed by the United States and always face the danger of another nuclear war.
Comrade Kim Jong Un, our esteemed President of the Workers’ Party of Korea, said that our Party’s goal is to build a peaceful world without war.
On the contrary, what the United States wants is ongoing tension on the Korean peninsula, not peace.
Because ongoing military tension on the Korean peninsula serves as a clear excuse for maintaining its hegemonic position on the Eurasian continent to restrain and threaten the other powers of the region and favor the sale of weapons to the other countries by the monopolistic companies of the US war industry.
The fact that during the visit paid to Asia early November, the US President had forced South Korea and Japan to buy high-tech military equipment from the United States at astronomical prices isa case in point.
We were forced to choose nuclear weapons for protecting peace on the Korean peninsula and defending the sovereignty of our country.
The lesson learnt from the long-standing conflict with the United States is that we cannot communicate with this country with words, but with force and that only the balance of power with the United States will ensure sound peace on the Korean peninsula.
Our nuclear force and power only have to do with the United States and not with Europe.
We are developing friendly and cooperative relations with the European countries which respect our sovereignty.
Hence Europe has nothing to fear from the expansion of our ballistic missile range as long as it does not take part in the US military activities against our Republic.
Nevertheless some European countries increase pressures and the embargo against our country, by taking sides with the United States. This does not help to solve the Korean peninsula’s problem and produces only disadvantages.
The US nuclear threat, pressure and embargo against our country are hostile acts designed to annihilating our ideology, our regime and people.
The more the level of threats, sanctions and pressures against our country is raised, the harsher our response will be.
The European countries must well think whether participation in the US hostile actions against our Republic is in line with the values of freedom, equality, mutual respect and defense of human rights that Europe champions.
I would like to seize this opportunity to wish you the greatest success in your political activities.
Ri Su Yong
President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
November 30 Juche l 06 (20 17)Pyongyang
However, who is really Ri Su-Yong, the man who executes the orders, but also collaborates creatively with Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un in North Korea’s foreign policy and also in other sectors?
I think his biography speaks for itself.
It will also enable us to understand the particular mechanism existing in North Korea, but also in many other Asian countries, which finds a balance between the Leader’ symbolic and real power with a system of checks and balances.
This system, however, has nothing to do with the Enlightenment liberal ideologies which have created the political mechanisms of checks and balances in the West.
As shown in the letter sent to me, Ri SuYong -also known as Ri Chol -is the vice-President of the North Korean Labour Party, besides being Chairman of the Diplomatic Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly, but he is also a member of the Central Committee and the Political Office of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), according to the best traditions of the Third International.
Ri Chol is Kim JongUn’s official representative to Europe and was Ambassador to the UN Mission in Geneva.
I speak French with him.
In 1974, Ri was appointed Director General for Protocol and International Organizations at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and in 1980 he became deputy-Director of Kim Jong-Il’s Personal Secretariat and deputy-Director of the Organization and Guidance Department.
In 1980, Ri was posted again to the North Korea’s Embassy to Geneva, where he had served as Protocol official, while he travelled across Europe and performed very delicate tasks jointly with the Supreme Leader and his family.
Ri Chol finally became North Korea’s Ambassador to Switzerland in 1988.
In Bern he followed the personal and school career of Kim Jong Un, who studied in the Swiss capital at the local University and later followed additional courses at the HSG, the University of St. Gallen, where in the past a great economist Ota Sik – the man of the “New Economic Model” developed in Prague with the leader of the Prague Spring, Dubcek – had taught.
In 2010, Ri Chol was recalled to his homeland, where he started to work for the Personal Secretariat.
In 2014 he became Foreign Minister.
Two years later he was appointed to the Party’s Central Committee.
He was born in 1940 and studied at the Mangyo’ndae Revolutionary School and later at the Kim Il Sung University but, at that time, he was already a personal friend of Kim Jong Il.
From a spiritual father to an aide and finally a friend- this is the mechanism by which a very high profile figure like Ri Chol has become the true éminence grise of North Korea and the kingmaker of the current détente phase.
Let us hope that the effrontery and temerity of the foolish servants or the imperial obsessions of someone in the West will not soon put an end to this extraordinary opportunity for peace.
Chinese MFA Report 2023: American hegemony and its risks around the world
An official report issued by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on: “Criticizing the concept of American and Western hegemony and democracy, and defending other and new forms of democracy in the world according to the circumstances of each country around the world,” emphasizing on:
Criticism of the United States of America intensifying its efforts to stir up divisions around the world by organizing the so-called “summit for democracy”, inciting confrontation between the authoritarian and democratic camps according to its ideology, and attempting to transform other sovereign states in the American style in order to serve the special American strategy.
To understand how American-dominant democracy operates globally, we will find that the United States classifies other countries for several degrees according to its criterion, that is, its proximity or distance from the concept of democracy, and Washington asks those countries to apply to fill out the “test papers” for democracy issued by the United States of America and its government.
Those American actions in and of themselves are undemocratic, contradict the current trend, and contravene the will of the majority of the members of the international community, and will inevitably lead to a complete and abject failure.
Here, the United States must realize that if it does not completely abandon the theory of “the superiority of American democracy”, and if it does not change its behavior of domination and bullying, which often imposes “American democracy” on others, you will find mockery of it in history books and records.
China, like most countries in the world, searches for the path of development in the first place, not the path of democracy and the policies of hegemony and liberalism in the American way. Therefore, as an affirmation by the Chinese leaders of China’s adoption of the high-quality development model, Chinese Premier “Li Keqiang” presented the Chinese government’s work report at the opening session of the first session of the Fourteenth National People’s Congress, in which it was emphasized that China would follow a development model. A democracy with socialist characteristics in line with China’s real conditions. China has pushed the process of democracy on the basis of national development by taking development as a task of highest priority. Followers agreed, so here remains the final conclusion to evaluate any democratic system around the world, by asking: whether the quality of life of citizens has improved and whether the people are satisfied with the societal situation? It is clear that the model of democracy with socialist characteristics adopted by the Chinese government has succeeded. Chinese socialist democracy is a real democracy, represented by the government’s interest in serving the people, and it has nothing to do with the political system represented by one-party rule or multi-party rule in the American and Western style, which recent experiences have proven to fail to achieve the well-being and prosperity of its people, unlike the ability of the Chinese Communist Party and its leaders to achieve a well-off society model and a high-quality development in all Chinese provinces and cities.
Therefore, the report on the work of the Chinese government came, which was presented by “Li Keqiang”, Premier of the Chinese State Council, on behalf of the State Council of China, at the opening session of the first session of the 14th National People’s Congress. The sessions of the 14th session of the National People’s Congress this year 2023 are of special importance, as the model of socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics succeeded in outperforming many Western democracies through the success of many delegates in the National People’s Congress in forming many of the main institutions of the Communist Party and the state. They also tightened control over the bodies supervising the financial sector and scientific and technological work in the Chinese state, with an agreement to “strengthen party work” in private companies, in order to preserve the interests of the Chinese people and achieve a high-quality development model.
Therefore, the Chinese government’s 2023 action plan is based on adhering to the general basic business idea of making progress by maintaining stability, comprehensively applying China’s new development thinking, accelerating the establishment of a new development pattern, comprehensively deepening reform and opening up, and adhering to development, which is driven by innovation, and the high-quality development.
Here, we must refer to the report of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, issued on Monday, February 20, 2023, regarding American hegemony and its dangers, with the aim of exposing the United States’ abuse of hegemony in various fields, and attracting the Chinese Foreign Ministry to the attention of the international community for a greater understanding of the dangers of American practices to peace. And stability in the whole world, by interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, causing subversion and international chaos, deliberately waging wars and harming the entire international community.
The United States of America has also developed a book on hegemony to organize “color revolutions” and incite regional conflicts and even wage wars directly under the guise of promoting democracy, freedom and human rights, and Washington has sought to impose rules that serve its own interests in the name of supporting a “rules-based international order”, which is itself is far from it.
There have been many cases of US interference in the internal affairs of other countries, under the guise of “promoting democracy”, such as the American incitement to “color revolutions” in the Eurasia region, and the “Arab Spring” revolutions in West Asia and North Africa to spread chaos, which led to chaos and vandalism and destruction in many countries in which Washington intervened.
The United States practices double standards in international rules, as the United States put its self-interest first and moved away from all treaties, charters and work mechanisms of recognized international organizations and placed its domestic law above international law.
The United States has also been issuing arbitrary judgments regarding assessing the level of democracy in other countries, and fabricating false narratives about “democracy versus authoritarianism” to incite estrangement, division, competition and confrontation. On December 2021, the United States hosted the first “summit for democracy”, which was met with criticism and opposition from many countries because it mocked the spirit of democracy and worked to divide the world.
Also, “American military dominance has caused human tragedies. The wars and military operations launched by the United States in the name of fighting terrorism have claimed the lives of more than a million civilians and displaced tens of millions”.
The United States of America also seeks to deter the scientific, technological and economic development of other countries through the exercise of monopoly power and measures of repression and technological restrictions in the areas of high technology. The United States monopolized intellectual property in the name of protection, and reaped huge profits through this illegal monopoly.
The United States has also used disinformation as a weapon to attack other countries, and for this it has recruited groups and individuals who fabricate stories and spread them around the world to mislead world public opinion with unlimited American support.
Therefore, all forms of American hegemony and power politics must be opposed, to refuse to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, to force them to abandon their hegemonic and tyrannical practices around the world.
Here, It becomes clear that the Americans are victorious in a clear way for the pragmatic philosophy in theory and practice, and that their segment of the intelligentsia (intellectuals and intelligence) adopts the principle of “the end justifies the means”. Perhaps the French thinker “Alexis de Tocqueville” explained this in a practical way in his book published in two volumes in 1840, entitled (Democracy in America) and its summary: (Democracy in the United States of America can be as tyrannical as dictatorship when voters decide to vote for themselves with money).
And (American democracy) did not stop at these characteristics only, because its sources are basically built philosophically at the hands of European philosophers who went to the United States, because they found in it the right soil for ideas and strategies that are based on plunder, occupation, siege, sanctions, overthrowing governments, and most importantly neglecting real and free popular choices to build the country and the human being, these thinkers came to it to perpetuate this behavior based on individualism, power and domination, and this is what is actually happening now.
In this context, it was natural for President “Biden’s” American Summit for Democracy to be a disgrace and an intellectual, political, and moral defect, as half of the peoples of the earth were absent from it, and China did not invite to it, and the text of the peoples and systems of the world was absent from it, so the summit’s democracy was synonymous with American arrogance, and it raised issues: (Tyranny- corruption- human rights) in it is a purely political proposition far from promoting the values of dialogue, peace, and friendship between peoples, framed by the previous ideas of the theorists of American hegemony and unipolarity, and whoever is not with us is against us, so the American Democracy Summit 2022 focused blatantly in its functional attack on the Chinese experience and on different in this respect. In my belief, what happened by Washington will not result in the emergence of any new and stable world order, with those in charge of the American administration adhering to the same old concepts and mentality of hegemony, control, and steering the helm of the world according to their interests.
China’s “Two Sessions” and the return of one-man rule
In this essay, I try to demystify the recently concluded “Two Sessions” in China by giving a brief historical context, as the country slides back into the peril of one-leader-centered politics, reminiscent of a bygone era.
With the conclusion of the first annual session of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC) of China on March 13, Xi Jinping has secured a norm-breaking third term as President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in a “unanimous” vote, just five months after he was “re-elected” as the General Secretary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the third time in a row. The NPC, which is elected for a term of five years, is a largely ceremonial unicameral national legislature of China and “the highest organ of state power” as per the PRC’s Constitution. It also happens to be the largest law-making body in the world on paper.
Since the foundation of the People’s Republic under the leadership of Mao Zedong in October 1949, mainland China has been under the sole rule of the CCP. The deputies (members) of the NPC, elected from the thirty-five electoral units of China, usually won’t go against CCP-endorsed policies, but rather merely rubber-stamp them.While this has been the case for long, there are eight “legally-sanctioned” minor parties in China, on paper, that exists by playing second fiddle to the CCP without posing any serious challenge to its unrestricted authority.
These parties are given a voice to raise their concerns and suggestions through the so-called Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a national-level political advisory body that meets once in a year parallelly during the annual session of the NPC. About 60.8 per cent of the total membership of CPPCC belongs to non-CCP parties, along with representation from various sectors of the society and the economy, specialised professions and social groups.
Together, these two annual meetings – the NPC and the CPPCC – are referred to as the “Two Sessions” or Lianghui in the Chinese language. This year, it took place between March 4 and 13, with 2977 deputies attending the NPC session and 2,172 members attending the CPPCC session from all over China.
A brief history
The NPC and the CPPCC are rubber stamp bodies that simply pass the laws or approve the policies that have been already decided upon by the CCP. While the NPC dates back to 1954, when the first Constitution of China was promulgated, the CPPCC traces its origins back to the foundation of the PRC in 1949 when the CCP invited all friendly political parties to engage in discussions on the road to the proclamation of the new CCP-led People’s Republic in Beijing by replacing the nationalist Kuomintang party-led Republic of China at a time when its victory in the Chinese Civil War (1927-1949) was almost certain.
The first CPPCC of 1949 served effectively as the Constituent Assembly of China for drafting and framing the PRCs first Constitution. The meeting approved the “Common Programme”, which was akin to an interim Constitution and Mao Zedong was chosen as Chairman of the Central People’s Government. The PRC was proclaimed soon after the end of the conference in October 1949.
In the following years, the first permanent Constitution of the PRC was drafted. Exactly five years after the passage of the “Common Programme”, in 1954, the first NPC was convened, which unanimously approved the new Constitution. This was the PRC’s first Constitution since its founding. Later, in 1975 and 1978, two intervening versions of the Constitution were promulgated and the current Constitution came into effect in 1982. However, despite these four Constitutions and other political mechanisms of visible separation of power, the CCP had kept the whole of China, except the island of Taiwan, under its control without any opposition for the last seven-and-a-half decades.
Xi Jinping and his coterie of loyalists in the party-state apparatus who were appointed through last year’s 20th Party Congress and the recently concluded annual session of the NPC, represents the fifth generation in the line of succession of Chinese political leadership since Mao Zedong. China has seen the worst of authoritarianism under the Mao era (1949-1976), whose disastrous policies and initiatives such as the Great Leap Forward (1958-62) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) led to the death of more than 65 million Chinese people – either by forced famines, imprisonment or execution.
Following Mao’s death in 1976, his close aide and designated successor Hua Guofeng followed the policy of “Two Whatevers” (liang ge fanxi), which basically meant “whatever policy decisions Mao made and whatever instructions Mao gave” and rejected all calls for reforms. But a breakthrough occurred two years later during the third plenary session of the eleventh CCP Central Committee held in December 1978, when reform-minded Deng Xiaoping emerged as China’s new paramount leader.
Deng, often regarded as the “Architect of Modern China”’, denounced Mao’s hardline policies and set China on a new course of far-reaching economic reforms, even though he has ruthlessly quelled democratic upheavals during his tenure such as the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.
Moving away from Deng’s “collective leadership” approach
Having seen the worst face of complete centralisation of power in the hands of one leader, Deng initiated key changes in China’s governance system such as the setting of a two-term limit for higher state officials, including the President, Vice-President, and the Premier of the State Council. He never held any post other than chairing two key bodies of power – the Central Military Commission and the now-defunct Central Advisory Commission that existed between 1982 and 1992. Even though the position of CCP General Secretary, the de facto leader of China, has no term limits, there were orderly transitions of power every ten years between 1992 and 2018, in the two generations of leadership (Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao) that followed Deng Xiaoping.
In 2018, when Xi Jinping was re-elected as China’s leader, he removed the term limits for Presidency that were put in place during the Deng era, thereby allowing him to rule for life. He then forced senior leaders into early retirement and incorporated his eponymous ideology, called the Xi Jinping Thought, to the party and state Constitutions, the first leader since Mao to have such an honour while in office. During President Xi’s first two terms, there existed a bare minimum balance of power between the party and the state as Premier Li Keqiang represented a rival faction within the CCP (the Tuanpai or the Youth League Faction).
Xi and his coterie of loyalists’ blur party-state thin line
While the NPC have traditionally tried to maintain an internal balance of power in a way to accommodate the interests of different political factions, now the Xi Jinping faction is the only active faction with exercisable power in the party-state apparatus. The thin line between the Party and the government has been blurred, reminiscent of the pre-1976 era. Xi and his “yes-men” in key positions of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee and the PRC’s State Council have completely abandoned the “collective leadership” model pioneered by Deng Xiaoping and all the rival factions within the Party have been sidelined.
Xi has now consolidated his position as the most powerful leader the PRC has seen since Mao, with a firmer grip of control on the party, the government and the military. But, unlike the pre-1976 era, Xi Jinping is leading a more powerful China, which is the second largest economy in the world with a rapidly modernising military. Moreover, China’s humungous industrial base forms the core of global manufacturing and supply chains.
As widely expected, Li Qiang, a long-term ally of Xi Jinping and the former party chief of Shanghai who oversaw the controversial “zero-Covid” policy, was appointed as China’s new Premier in place of Li Keqiang at the recently concluded NPC. With other loyalists such as the new Vice President Han Zheng in the State Council and two other allies being appointed to head the NPC and the CPPCC, Xi Jinping has effectively removed all the rival centres of power within China’s party-state apparatus.
Xi Jinping’s previous two terms were characterised by fueling hyper-nationalism at home and upping the ante on regional disputes and engaging in a global strategic competition with the United States. This is expected to be continued, while some experts believe that the new Premier Li Qiang, having a pro-business image, can exert a moderating influence on Xi, who had placed stricter controls on industries and businesses, during his second term in particular. However, the extent of such an influence remains to be seen.
During the closing session of the 14th NPC, Xi emphasised security as “the bedrock of development, while stability is a pre-requisite for prosperity” and called for building the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into a “Great Wall of Steel” that safeguards national security, sovereignty and developmental interests of China.
The address reflected similar concerns shared during the 20th CCP Congress held in October 2022, when Xi used the word “security” 91 times. Similarly, an often-repeated phrase is “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”, citing China’s “century of humiliation”, and projecting the CCP as the country’s only saviour, especially from external enemies and threats. All these rhetoric is aimed at invoking revanchist sentiments within the Chinese population and thereby using it to sustain its continued legitimacy at home.
After the conclusion of NPC, Chinese state-run media Xinhua wrote, “The (NPC) session called on the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to rally more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, to hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and fully implement the guiding principles of the Party’s 20th National Congress…”
In other words, the Party “guides and leads” everything and now there is a singular source of power for the Party and the government, which seems to look like a return of China to one-leader-centered politics after nearly five decades. Hope, the PRC’s evolving political dynamics won’t take a perilous turn, particularly in the foreign and security policy fronts, which is increasingly witnessing conflictual turn of events in the recent past.
Organizational structures in formulating China’s decisions to manage international affairs Under Xi Jinping
Chinese President “Xi Jinping” sent several clear messages, in his closing speech on Monday, March 13, 2023 in the capital, Beijing, in front of the meetings of the two sessions or sessions of the annual “Lianghui” that takes place in March of each year, with the participation of the National People’s Congress of China, that is, The Chinese Parliament or Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Council, all of which focus on the fact that China is coming. China also expressed its vision in the management of international affairs, through the words of Chinese President “Xi Jinping” himself, by affirming: “China believes that all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community”. Their internal affairs do not bear any external interference, their sovereignty and dignity must be respected, and their right to choose social systems and development paths must be adhered to independently and justly.
Chinese foreign policy is generally based on the principle of (Tao Guangyang Wei), meaning “building capabilities and waiting for time”, to make Chinese foreign policy more active and resolute. China’s foreign policy agenda is witnessing a major shift in institutional power from the ministries that used to lead the traditional diplomacy process to specialized units as a result of the development and intensity of China’s external activity. China is the ruler in setting public and foreign policy, but also supervises the extent of its implementation, but this is done officially independently of the government, unlike most other countries. Likewise, the political decision in China is taken by the supreme political leadership of the party and the state as a center, but after extensive studies carried out by the competent agencies in the state and the party and specialized research centers to study and discuss all available options for implementation.
We find here the pivotal and vital role of the “Political Planning” Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to understand and formulate China’s foreign policy decisions internationally, which undertakes tasks: conducting studies of comprehensive and strategic issues of international situations and international relations, developing policies and plans in foreign affairs, preparing drafts of important diplomatic documents, and raising awareness of policies Foreign affairs, coordinating research and studies work, and carrying out work related to studies of the history of diplomacy for the new China. We note the role of Chinese foreign policy research centers, as well as academic and university research institutions to contribute and are closely linked to the government, the army and the party partly due to the fact that they enjoy reliable licensed channels to convey their advice to the supreme leadership, and are closely linked to the government, the army and the party, partly due to the fact that they enjoy licensed channels Reliable to pass on her advice to the top leadership of the Chinese state.
And the most prominent formations of the organizational structure, which contribute to drawing the decisions and policies of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and thus contribute to shaping the external decisions of China, as follows:
(Office of the Ministry “Diwan”- Political Planning Department- Asia Department – Western Asia and North Africa Department- Africa Department- Eastern Europe and Central Asia Department- Europe Department- North America and Oceania Department- Latin America Department- International Organizations and Conferences Department- Arms Control Department- Treaties and Laws Department- Information Department- Protocol Department – Consular Department (Consular Protection Center)- Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs Department- Translation Office- Coordination Department for Foreign Affairs- External Security Affairs Department- Retired Cadres Department- Cadres Department- Administrative Affairs Department- Financial Department- Committee Ministry of the Communist Party of China (Department of Party Affairs Committee of the Ministry and Diplomatic Missions Abroad)- Office of the Leading Team on Inspection Work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Archives Department- Service Office of Departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Overseas Diplomatic Missions)
Special interest groups or groups play a crucial role in China’s external decision-making. They provide relevant input and a more specialized viewpoint in all political areas ranging from internal land reform in the Chinese state to relations between the United States of America and China. These groups consist mainly of government institutions. Centralization and state-owned enterprises, the results of politics in China are often the result of centralized bureaucracies and provincial-level governments.
China also works within the framework of a long-term strategic plan, which is reviewed at the National Congress of the Communist Party, which is held every five years. Here, the Central School of the Communist Party of China carries out the process of political and party education at the level of all diplomats and representatives of the foreign policy of the state, including state employees, leading and executive officials, from the level of ministers and agents and below, as each of them devotes himself to different periods, varying according to the degree of official, from one month To a year, to study, train and learn in the Central School of the Party.
Within the framework of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, China has concluded agreements with more than forty countries around the world, including the economic corridor agreement between Mongolia, Russia and China, the economic corridor between China and Pakistan, work to develop the port of Gwadar in Pakistan, a port in Sri Lanka and another in Myanmar, and the construction of a railway High-speed rail between Hungary and Serbia, and between Addis Ababa and Djibouti. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which China called for, is developing projects in several Arab countries, including the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Negotiations are also taking place between China and Israel at the present time to establish a free trade zone between them, despite the American refusal to do so. A railway has also been established between China and Laos, and between China and Thailand, and between Jakarta and Bandung. China’s military, naval and diplomatic endeavors have also expanded as part of the “Pearl String Strategy”, which secures China’s strategic positions in the Indian Ocean and Malacca Strait regions.
China also put forward its vision in the management of international affairs, by emphasizing the issue of adhering to the principle of (indivisible security and the commitment to take seriously the legitimate security concerns of all countries), stressing that “humanity is an indivisible security community”, and that “the security of one country should not come at the expense of the security of other countries”. With the continuous Chinese warning that the misuse of long-term unilateral sanctions does not solve any international problem, but rather creates more difficulties and complications for everyone, China’s invitation to participate in the formulation of a new international peace program also came.
China makes its foreign policy based on three pillars: (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the International Liaison Department, and the United Front Work Department). Each of these institutions plays a supportive role for the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, led by President “Xi Jinping”, who ultimately has the authority to make the final decision and determine Beijing’s position on various global issues. We find that since the establishment of the Chinese President “Xi Jinping” of the Central Foreign Affairs Committee of the Communist Party in 2018, the Communist Party and President “Xi” have a major role in influencing the course of the management of international Chinese affairs, within the framework of personal and partisan influence on the making of China’s foreign policy. This is through what is known as the “International Liaison Department” within the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party, which empowers the Chinese leadership and its ruling party to make political decisions and promote a separate foreign policy agenda for China.
The priorities of Chinese foreign policy can be understood through the words of former Chinese Foreign Minister “Wang Yi”, who identified “five major priorities for Chinese diplomacy”, which are:
(fully serve domestic development, resolutely safeguard national interests, constantly deepen partnership with other countries, staunchly defend international multilateralism, and broaden the base of China’s international cooperation more actively in international affairs)
After the spread of the Corona pandemic (Covid-19), Chinese diplomacy continued to carry out its various functions and roles actively and effectively despite the crisis, by employing modern technology and communications, and it turned to the “cloud diplomacy” mode, through phone calls, exchange of correspondence, and international video conferencing.
Here, on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, China issued the (Global Security) initiative, which was proposed by Chinese President “Xi Jinping”, through which it aims to eliminate the root causes of international conflicts, foremost of which is the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which is “aggravated and out of control”. According to the assurances of the current Chinese Foreign Minister, “Chen Gang” in his statement that his country is “extremely concerned” and Beijing will work to “promote peace dialogue between the parties to the conflict.” Also, during the launch of the new “global security” initiative within the vision of President “Xi Jinping”, President “Xi” himself affirmed to continue to strengthen peace dialogue and work with the international community to consolidate dialogue and consultation, address the concerns of all parties, and strive to achieve common security among all.
The (global security) initiative, which was formulated in a 10-page document, is based on 6 main principles that China announced its international adoption. The essence of this new vision of security is the call for the concept of common security, respect and protection of the security of every country, and the adoption of a comprehensive approach to maintaining security in Both traditional and non-traditional areas, strengthen security governance in a coordinated manner, commit to cooperation and achieve security through political dialogue and peaceful negotiations, and strive to achieve sustainable security and resolve conflicts through development and eliminate the breeding ground for insecurity.
Here, Beijing denounced what it described as “false accusations” made by the United States of America stating that “China is considering arming Russia in its war against Ukraine”. Through the statements of the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, “Wang Wenbin,” that “we do not accept the United States pointing fingers at Sino-Russian relations, let alone coercion and pressure”, accusing Washington of “spreading false information”. He warned the United States of America of its actions, and to do more to improve the situation and promote peace and dialogue instead of stirring up grudges and conflicts, and to stop evading responsibility and spreading false information about China regarding its relations with Russia. The Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed that “China’s approach on the Ukrainian issue can be summed up in one sentence, which is to urge peace and promote dialogue”.
The Chinese statements regarding its relations with Russia came in response to the United States of America, after accusing US Secretary of State “Anthony Blinken” in an interview with the American “CBS” station, that China is “now considering providing lethal support” to Moscow, ranging from “ammunition and weapons themselves”. Blinken also made similar statements in a series of interviews while he was in Germany, participating in the Munich Security Conference.
And through the vision of Chinese think tanks to study the equations of the repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian war, and its existing and expected transformations at various political and economic levels for China, by drawing the features of a new international system in a way that leads to reorienting China’s foreign agenda to new geopolitical areas according to the principle of “outward displacement” and networking, flexibility with “potential allies”, according to the new Chinese vision, following the study of the results of the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war on China.
And the most important thing here remains China’s lack of interest in the nature of the ruling political regimes in the context of its relations with the world, unlike the United States of America and the West, and it does not seek to promote its ideology abroad, and it agrees with many countries of the world in its view of American and Western liberal and democratic calls, as they are tools of states. Western only and should not apply to everyone.
China aspires to secure the greatest amount of security stability in the region after conducting the Saudi-Iranian reconciliation process as a Chinese security involvement of deep significance in the region to protect the security of sea lanes and straits, as a major requirement for Beijing’s economic development through its Belt and Road initiative, so that Beijing can launch programs to create and modernize Roads, railways, ports, communication systems and free trade cities throughout the region under a stable security environment. Such a Saudi-Iranian agreement, sponsored by China, is a blow to US influence in the Middle East. On a personal level, the words of Chinese Professor Wang Ewei, director of the Institute of International Studies at Renmin University, i.e. the Chinese people, stopped me for a long time, saying: “The Saudi-Iranian deal confirms the fact that Chinese mediation solves problems that Western mediation cannot solve”.
Hence, we increasingly understand the new approach of Chinese diplomacy towards foreign policy issues, especially in light of the Beijing government’s current endeavor to redraw maps of its political influence, by activating economic and political tools to expand and acquire more new geopolitical spaces. So, in line with the increasing breadth and depth of Beijing’s foreign policy agenda, Chinese policymakers expanded their thinking beyond geopolitical understanding of foreign affairs, and therefore many central government institutions specialized in economic policies and domestic industry are now involved in setting China’s foreign policy agenda.
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