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Sino-US Ties: From Ping Pong Diplomacy to Tit-for-Tat Diplomacy

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In an unprecedented move and in the latest escalation of the on-going tensions between the US and China, the Donald Trump administration ordered China to shut down its Consulate in Houston. This unprecedented move in the steadily deteriorating ties between the world’s two largest economies drifts the world a bit closer to the precipice of a major crisis, the ramification of which could be perilous for the world.

The reasons for the Trump administration’s decision was for the alleged involvement of the consulate and other Chinese diplomatic missions in the country of economic espionage, visa fraud and attempted theft of scientific research. The US announced visa restrictions on students, imposed sanctions on Chinese officials over the new National Security Law passed recently on Hong Kong and considering a sweeping travel ban on the millions of members of China’s ruling Communist Party. China quickly denied the charges. Trump’s drastic measure to close the consulate also meant this was the first time a Chinese mission was ordered to be closed in the US since both countries normalised diplomatic relations in 1979. The US consulate is one of five in the US, not counting the embassy in Washington D.C.

China quickly reacted to the US decision as “political provocation”, rejecting the US justification that there was a need to protect American intellectual property and information from Chinese spying. The justification was premised that under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, nation states “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs” of the receiving state. Though no further details were issued, the US alleged that China has been engaging in massive spying and influence operations throughout the US for years and therefore justified its decision on ordering to shut down the Houston consulate.

The first indication to the Chinese retaliation was that it might order the US to close down its consulate in the city of Wuhan. While the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin attacked the US decision to order closing down the consulate in Houston as an “outrageous and unjustified move which will sabotage” China-US relations, he also warned of the proper and necessary response. This response came soon as a retaliatory measure when China ordered the closure of a US consulate in south-western China in Chengdu in Sichuan province, and ordered to cease all operations, a move that escalates tensions between the two countries to a new level. China was irked that it was given just 72 hours notice to shut down its Houston consulate office and therefore came up with commensurate “legitimate and necessary response”.

Though Beijing did not give a deadline for when the US must close the Chengdu consulate, the state-run Global Times noted that the consulate was also given 72 hours to close its operations, in a tit-for-tat countermeasure. Calling its measure “unprecedented” and “outrageous”, Beijing accused the US diplomats of “infiltration and interference activities”. This has taken bilateral ties to a new low. Defining diplomacy as about reciprocity, the mission in Chengdu was singled out because “some personnel were engaged in activities inconsistent with their status that interfered with China’s internal affairs and security interests”. Interestingly, the Chengdu mission is relatively small compared with other seven diplomatic missions that the US operates in China in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Wuhan, Shenyang, and Hong Kong and Macau. It is possible that Beijing resisted from raising the level of escalation high and therefore preferred to keep within manageable level.

This does not mean to suggest that the mission in Chengdu is seen to be less important. This mission oversees the Tibetan autonomous region where Chinese authorities have overseen a harsh crackdown on the Tibetan minority and banned diplomats and foreign journalists from entering the area. The US mission used to serve as key listening post for Tibet developments and ousting  the US diplomats from the capital of Sichuan province – a region with a population rivaling Germany –  could have a bigger impact than shutting  the US consulate in Wuhan, but less closing US missions in the key financial centres in Hong Kong and Shanghai. 

The closures of missions in Houston and Chengdu illustrate the alarming degree to which relations between the US and China have worsened in recent times, as China assumes a more assertive posture on the world stage and the US seeks to check its rise. Raising the temperature ahead of the presidential elections in November, Trump wants to consolidate his domestic constituency by deciding to pursue a robust response to Beijing’s brazen expansionist policies in many sectors – on Taiwan, South China Sea, and Hong Kong, with Japan over Senkaku islands and with India on border issue. The objective is to check the Chinese menace that has become a threat to not only the established global order but has challenged the institutional norms – regional and global – with a view to rewrite the rules on its own terms.

In short, China is being perceived as a new global bully that derives its new-found confidence from its accumulation of enormous economic strength and military muscle. That makes the world shaky and the US is the only power with the capability to address this new challenge. Trump and his aides, particularly Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have stepped up attacks on China and accused Beijing of spying, cyber theft and causing the coronavirus pandemic. When former President Richard Nixon decided to establish diplomatic relations with China in 1979, he had hoped to induce China into a democratic fold but instead, as it has transpired now, created a “Frankenstein monster” he had once feared.

Other members of the party too saw the activities of the Houston consulate suspiciously. Senator Marco Rubio saw the consulate as the “central node of the Communist Party’s vast network of spies and influence operations in the United States”. China rejected the allegations as “malicious slander”.

Going further, Pompeo in a provocative speech urged the Chinese citizens to work with the US to change the direction of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Though he avoided mentioning regime change, he reminded the Chinese people that the Chinese leadership is authoritarian at home and aggressive in its hostility to freedom everywhere else. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman retaliated by comparing Pompeo’s remarks with an ant trying to shake a tree, similar to the words exchanged between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un not long ago that lacked civility and any semblance of diplomatic niceties.   

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin described Pompeo’s speech in which he highlighted the Chinese leadership of attempting to “tyrannize inside and outside China forever” in pursuit of global hegemony as a “malicious” and “groundless attack” on the Communist party and its domestic and foreign policies and that those were full of “ideological prejudice and a cold war mindset”.

For record, a total of roughly 700 diplomats are assigned to the US embassy and five consulates in China. The Chengdu mission opened in 1985 and covers Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan, as well as Sichuan, besides overseeing developments in Tibet, where Beijing is trying to impose restrictions. Cutting off the US in Chengdu also means shutting down America’s links to Tibet and therefore a political blow to Washington. 

This furious week of cold war-style diplomacy is going to do more harm to the world economy and geopolitical landscape than to US-China ties. The consulate closure issue is not the only one to be seen in isolation. There was a plethora of issues, including China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the efforts to squash a democracy movement in Hong Kong by announcing the new national security law. Both sides are unlikely to change their respective hard-line stances until at least the November elections. In the process, bilateral ties are likely to worsen further rather than inching towards any resolution. 

Though it is not difficult to decipher what triggered this unprecedented move by either side, the first time in their 41 years of diplomatic ties, it clearly amounted to a downgrading of the relationship that could cause lasting damage. It was also rumoured that the decision to order closure of the Houston consulate was linked to the dispute over the delay in American diplomats being allowed to return to their embassies and consulates in China as a result of the travel restrictions and quarantine rules introduced by Beijing to contain the spread of Covid-19.

There is also an opinion that Beijing did not honour the principle of reciprocity since it declined the US request to open a consulate in western China, which the US saw as a violation of the terms and conditions at the time of establishing diplomatic relations in 1979. The US lawmakers were keen to establish a consular in Lhasa (the Tibetan capital) and made a prerequisite for granting China’s request to open new missions in Atlanta and Boston. Here, interpretation on the issue of reciprocity comes as another bottleneck. While China sees reciprocity as both sides having the same number of diplomatic representations in each other’s country, for the US it means both numbers and locations. Since there seems to have been no prior communication on the closure issue, the logical conclusion one can deduce that ties were downgraded.

But things are not so simplistic. Bilateral ties have nosedived over a host of issues, ranging from the origins of Covid-19, China’s perceived influence over the WHO, human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, Taiwan, South China Sea, expulsion of journalists from each others’ countries, etc. and therefore the consulate closure issue was an explosion of these accumulation of differences and may not be read in isolation as a single event. Be that as it may, given that both sides have so many stakes economically and otherwise, bilateral ties may not be expected to head towards comprehensive collapse.   What is driving both sides seems to be both legal and political compulsions, which will be tested over time. There could be sudden turnaround should Trump loses the elections in November and yield space to Joe Biden. 

Like other wolf warriors, Chinese ambassador in the US Cui Tiankai remarked that it is up to Washington to decide if it is ready to accept China’s rise and if the two strategic rivals can live together having their own independent space.

While the downward spiral in Sino-US relations is bad news for the entire world, it is no longer only about differences over trade and technology issues but now has snowballed into a larger geopolitical contest between the two powers. Though one might find flaws in some of Trump’s impetuous decisions on global issues, his taking China head-on for defending established global order that has come under assault by China’s unilateral actions could have merit. The Hindu very objectively observed in an editorial thus: “This is a cyclical trap — measures and countermeasures keep taking ties to new lows with no possibility of an exit. If this deterioration is not arrested immediately, the U.S. and China risk a total breakdown in diplomatic relations. That is bad news for the whole world.” The world needs to wait for the outcome how far Sino-Us ties swing from Ping Pong diplomacy to Tit-for-Tat diplomacy. 

Professor (Dr.) Rajaram Panda, former Senior Fellow at IDSA and ICCR India Chair Professor at Reitaku University, Japan is currently Lok Sabha Research Fellow, Parliament of India, and Member of Governing Council, Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi.

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Latin America – Russia: An Agenda for Constructive Cooperation in the Post-COVID-19 Era

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On Tuesday, August 4, the outstanding video-conference “Latin America – Russia: an Agenda for Constructive Cooperation in the Post-COVID-19 Era” was held organized by the Valdai Club , the Russian Embassy in Guatemala, the American Chamber of commerce  (AmCham), the Central American Parliament  (Parlacen) the SIECA(Central American Secretariat for Economic Integration), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the CRIES of Argentina (Regional Coordination of Economic and Social Research).

The video conference was attended by Alexis Rodzianko as moderator (president of AmCham Russia). And an outstanding panel of speakers with:

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov; Nadia de León (chairman of PARLACEN) Melvin Redondo (general secretary of the SIECA); Yaroslav Lissovolik (programme director at Valdai Club); Richard Kozul Wright (director of division on globalization and development strategies UNCTAD);  Daniel Russell (Ceo of USRBC) and Lila Roldan Vásquez (head of the CARI –Argentina- Eurasian studies group)

After a brief presentation and comments by the moderator Alexis Rodzianko (president of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce) on the nature of the video-conference and the panelists in it, Russian Deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ryabkov started the dialogue expressing his satisfaction with the existence of this kind of spaces for reflection in such difficult global times. We quote some of his more outstanding phrases:

Russia and the United States continue their dialogue on joint efforts to combat the pandemic, and this is good news”.

Washington, however, does not abandon its claims for global hegemony. This poses a threat to international stability and security.”.

He stated the need to increase channels of cooperation when the coronavirus is ravaging the entire planet, for the first time in humanity, it faces a threat that affects the entire planet, this poses a dramatic challenge, the frustrating statistics of Covid- 19 have the same effects as a war, this era requires the consolidation of international efforts together and that Russia hopes that large-scale cooperation can act as a vector for a more multipolar world.

He also denounced international actors, the countries that privilege self-interest over those of the international community in times of crisis due to the pandemic. He cataloged irresponsible and short-sighted countries that ignoring the UN declarations, mainly the western powers, continue with sanctions measures to other countries, sanctions that hinder the acquisition of medical supplies and assistance, including Latin American countries, without even foreseeing the lifting of sanctions even for the time of the pandemic.

He was also very critical of the attitude of the United States in various multilateral fields such as its withdrawal from the Open Skies treaties; missile weapons treaties such as INF and START II; the North-American withdrawal from the World Health Organization.

On the cooperation agenda of Latin America – Russia, he highlighted the negative factors that Latin America faces in its current situation:

Latin America continues to face dramatic social inequalities and political de-stabilizations: The US continues its efforts to redraw the political map of Latin America to serve its interests.”

He stressed that:

From Russia with much disappointment and concern some time ago we observed how the Monroe Doctrine and all the ideology linked to it was officially reintroduced by the United States.”.

As positive factors he pondered that for Russia, Latin America has always been a region of political tolerance, economic opportunities and cultural affinity:

  • For Russia, the relationship with Latin America is a value in itself of its foreign policy and bases its cooperation agenda in the region based on a pragmatic and de-ideological vision, Russia does not seek to engage its partners in geopolitical dilemmas where they must choose between friends and enemies”.
  • And these links have always had a positive dynamic in energy, communications, technology, medicine, logistics and transportation. We seek technological and commercial alliances, diversifying their bases”.
  • “A paramount of Russian cooperation with Latin America was the activation in 2019 of the Latin American Institute of Biotechnology (in Managua, Nicaragua) that produces, insulin and interferon and vaccines for Latin American consumption”.

Despite the delicate situation worldwide, the deputy-minister remained optimistic that crises improve prospects for international cooperation, and that Russia-Latin America cooperation will continue to consolidate.

 “During this pandemic, Russian assistance has been received by: Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, in testing teams and personal health protection, in addition to humanitarian aid.”

The possibility of assistance to other countries in the region such as Paraguay, Colombia, and Peru has been addressed.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund announced the signing of an agreement under which 150,000 Avifavir packages will be sent to seven Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay and Uruguay. In addition, Russia will also send supplies of the antiviral drug to South Africa and transfer the technology to Bolivian firm Sigma Corp SRL in order for it to be produced locally.

Closing of the presentation

The deputy-minister Ryabkov cerró su presentación marcando que en las difíciles circunstancias actuales es fundamental evitar la politización de la situación de la pandemia, un verdadero desafío global, que requiere esfuerzos conjuntos entre todos los Estados, y que Rusia está preparada para hacer su aporte y que lo está haciendo.

The deputy-minister Ryabkov closed his presentation by stating that in the current difficult circumstances it is essential to avoid politicizing the situation of the pandemic, a true global challenge, which requires joint efforts between all States, and that Russia is ready to make its contribution, and it’s doing it.

Questions and Answers Section

In the questions and answers section of the dialogue, he answered a question about the role of Russia in the binomial-dilemma that would appear to present itself to Latin America in the strategic competition between the US and China:

Russia won’t be part of that geopolitical game” 

He made it clear that Russia will surely not be part of a possible geopolitical triangular game with the US and China in Latin America, since it does not have the same capabilities as the other two actors (US-China) and that from the strategic vision of Russia relations with Latin America should be characterized by a cooperative logic of mutual benefit (win-win) and pragmatism, the relationship with this region should not emulate previous models of relations between center and periphery and he highlighted the Russian-Argentine relationship as an example of a link of mutual benefit.

Russia will not act for Latin America as an actor to support itself in a counterbalance, to offset the competition between Beijing and Washington in the region, but it will continue to maintain cooperative relations with Latin America, although he clarified that trilateral cooperation, as in the case of the Covid-19 pandemic should not be ruled out.

 “Those practices go against the core elements and principles of international law and the United Nations Charter.”

It was his answer to the question about Russia’s position on the persistent US policies of imposing economic sanctions unilaterally (such as in the blockades against Cuba and Venezuela) that impede the fluidity of international cooperation (in times of pandemic, necessary international aid) and that Russia has also been suffering the same extortionary measures since the referendums that consecrated the return of the Crimean territories to Russia in 2014, and in which in this aspect Russia has not found a “common ground” with the United States for dialogue.

“We have to find ways to ensure relief to the countries most in need and with the fewest resources” 

He argued that it is the responsibility of institutions such as those of the Breton Woods system, the G20, the Club de Paris, the economic powerhouses to find coherent strategies to achieve this objective. Macroeconomic policies of expansion, not austerity, should be promoted globally.

My own questions

As an observer-participant of the digital event, I was able to ask the Deputy-Minister two questions:

 “is there any prospect from Russia to collaborate with South American efforts to “catch up” with the latest technology?”

In this response, he expressed his wish that such cooperation be carried out, since Russia has a lot to contribute, he said regarding the digitization of public services, of special interest today in public health services, other axes of technological cooperation could include biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and he stated that Russia is not exaggerating by claiming that it has made important advances in the development of drugs that help combat Covid-19 in the near future. Regarding this, he highlighted the observations of his presentation, where he mentioned that Russia has significantly promoted the installation of technology in Central America (the Latin American Institute of Biotechnology).Other areas of cooperation of interest mentioned were telecommunications and the peaceful use of nuclear power, agricultural technology.

These cooperation dynamics, he argued, will always be guided by pragmatic visions; Russia will not subject its partners to geopolitical dilemmas.

 is there any interest from Russia to improve Argentina’s naval capabilities in fishing, hydrocarbons, naval surveillance, etc?

In this regard, he pointed out that initial contacts had taken place in the Macri administration and that he is sure that under the administration of President Alberto Fernández these contacts would continue.

He quoted the slogan: “it is the economy, stupid” when explaining the interest that exists between both governments and their respective businessmen to associate in relation to the naval field, but the contacts are still distant.

Regarding fishing exploitation, he acknowledged his lack of knowledge about any Russian-Argentine association project on the subject, but he stressed that this doesn’t mean that it is not an interesting area of cooperation to continue advancing the in the bilateral agenda.

For the last, he emphasized that when travel and contacts will be reestablished, all those axes of cooperation can be discussed further, without major impediments.

From our partner International Affairs

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Hiroshima and the Peace of the Bomb

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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Seventy five years ago this week, the world witnessed a cataclysm that was to change the nature of war forever:  The atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and worse — while the Japanese argued among themselves about whether and how to surrender — a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later on August 9th.  Now there was no other rational choice, and the Japanese gave up.

If anything good ever came out of a war, it was the generous peace.  The US helped in the reconstruction of the defeated nations.  As a teenaged student in London, I remember visiting Germany a dozen years after the war ended.  Major centers had been flattened by the bombing.  In Hamburg, one would see a few residential buildings and then ruins as far as the eye could see as if a massive earthquake had hit.  A never ending horror across all major cities and a shortage of labor.  So the Turks came … and stayed.  Welcome then, not so much now.   

The Germans were humble — a humility that would gradually diminish with the country’s resurgence as one observed over succeeding decades.  Cleanliness and order are part of the national psyche, particularly the latter.  Everything in order — ‘Alles in ordnung‘.  It even applies on a personal level as someone might ask exactly that if you appear disturbed.  It then means, ‘Everything okay?’

A grease spot on the otherwise fresh tablecloth at breakfast, my fastidious six-year old daughter complained.  It was whisked away with apologies and immediately replaced.  Order restored.  Ordnung muss sein says the German proverb.

In dollar terms, Germany is now the world’s fourth largest economy, Japan the third.  The world has not ended despite economic interests being often cited as a cause of war.  In fact, we are grateful for their products judging by the numbers of their automobile names in the US.  Japan appears to have eclipsed the famed auto giants of the past, GM, Ford and Chrysler and UK icons long forgotten.  And Donald J. Trump has a beef with both countries and is busy pulling out troops from Germany.   Of course the giant dragon of exporters to the US, namely China, is for President Trump our public enemy number one.

The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not the end, merely the beginning, and at the back of our minds remains the terrifying hope that it is not the beginning of the end.

Following the US, there soon were other nuclear powers:  the UK and the Soviet Union followed by France, then China.  After China, India was not to be left behind, and after India the same logic applied to Pakistan.  Then there is Israel seeking external security while like diseased fruit, it rots from the inside.  And let us not forget nutty North Korea.

When the US and the Soviet Union faced off with thousands of nuclear weapons, the strategists produced the theory of mutually assured destruction.  Its acronym MAD was closer to the truth than its Pentagon proponents could ever have imagined for they would have destroyed not just each other but the world.

Even India and Pakistan with 100-plus weapons each could cause a nuclear winter from the fall-out and the dust covered skies.  The subsequent crop losses and famines would kill many more across the world than the devastation wrought by the bombs.  It is just one more reason why nation states could eventually become obsolete.

Fortunately, for the human race, nuclear war is more potent in the threat than in the execution; the latter  would certainly certify MAD.  The response to a military threat carrying the phrase ‘by all means necessary’ is enough to cool things down quickly.  It was Pakistan’s reply to India’s threat to expand an incident in the disputed Kashmir region with an attack on mainland Pakistan.  In that sense, nuclear weapons have become a sort of insurance policy.  Pakistan and India have fought several major wars but none since both sides acquired nuclear weapons.  The cost is unthinkable, and one hopes will remain so in the minds of strategists.

Such is the world my generation is leaving to you:  flawed but holding together all the same.

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China Replacing Russia as the Boogeyman in the U.S. Presidential Campaign

Danil Bochkov

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During the 2016 U.S. Presidential bid, Russia was picked as a scapegoat to justify the loss endured by the Democratic party candidate. Moscow was vilified for interfering in the election via the dissemination of false information. After the election, a judicial investigation was launched, ending with no evidence of the collusion.

Despite that fact, in 2017 and 2018, the U.S. imposed economic sanctions against Russian entities. This led to the further aggravation of already sour ties undermined by the Ukrainian crisis in 2014. As an act of reprisal for Moscow’s alleged meddling into the conflict, U.S. Congress initiated new economic sanctions.

Russia became what can be regarded as a boogeyman to be reprimanded for whatever misfortune happens — be it ex-spy Sergei Skripal’s poisoning in 2018 or Russia’s alleged bombings of peaceful residents in eastern Aleppo. Russia got blamed for everything, even though the evidence was missing.

In 2017 the U.S. and Russia crossed swords in a diplomatic row by cutting staff numbers and closing each other’s consulates. Since then, both countries have been experiencing alienation from one another, culminating in the recent cancellation of several arms control agreements (i.e., INF, Open Skies).

By the same token, the U.S. has recently upped the ante in handling thorny issues with China, which came under the spotlight during the American presidential campaign. Both candidates — J. Biden and D. Trump — appeal to their supporters using China, competing for the reputation of leaders with the toughest stance towards Beijing.

China is an obvious target of criticism for the U.S. President, who is adamant about securing his second term in office. It is hard to find any other positive agenda as soon as he failed to deliver an efficacious response to the pandemic, which has already put the country’s economy at risk of recession with a gloomy long-term economic outlook.

Russia can no longer alone serve as a scapegoat for misdoings of U.S. politicians. Such rhetoric has been present in American media for such a long time that it has eventually lost some of its appeal to the U.S. audience.

Following a blueprint tailored for Russia, the U.S. has resorted to a maximum pressure campaign against China. In 2018 a full-scale trade war erupted and was followed by sanctions introduced against the most vital industry for China’s global rise — the hi-tech sector. Huawei and ZTE were swiped from the U.S. market. The U.S. also has been widely applying its longer-used instrument of sanctions not solemnly limited to hi-tech giants. Chinese officials in Xinjiang and foreigners doing business in Hong Kong also fell under various restrictions.

As for now, the pendulum has swung from economic agenda to geopolitics and ideology — with the latter being a novelty for U.S. policy towards China. Despite that, China and Russia were already labelled “rival powers … that seek to challenge American values” in 2017, Trump’s national strategy.

In January 2020, Secretary of State M. Pompeo called the Communist Party of China (CPC) the “central threat of our times.” As for Russian ideology, the country was already eloquently described as an “evil state” during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. In July 2020, Mr. Pompeo called on the Chinese people to help “change the behavior” of their government. Thus, he designated CPC as an ideological and independent entity separate from Chinese citizens.

In order to sharpen the rhetoric, U.S. politicians stopped addressing Xi Jinping as “president,” calling him “general secretary” instead — an act which deprives Mr. Xi of political legitimacy usually bestowed upon the elected leader. Another menacing sign is that the U.S. is reportedly reviewing a proposal to ban CPC members from traveling to the U.S., which would basically mean the start of an active phase of ideological confrontation.

Similar to the 2017 Russian-American diplomatic row, today the U.S. and China are also exchanging attacks on each other’s diplomatic missions. For example, from geostrategic perception, in mid-July, the U.S. officially recognized China’s claims in the South China Sea as “unlawful” and made it clear that its strengthening of the policy with regard to SCS is aimed at halting China’s use of coercion.

Both countries do not want to play alone in a tit-for-tat game. The U.S. has already summoned its allies to form a group of democratic countries to oppose the CPC. France and Britain have recently bowed to long-term U.S. pressure to convince allies to steer clear of the Chinese 5G technology.

China is also gearing up by upholding contacts with its tried and tested partners — namely Russia. Despite a minuscule slide in bilateral trade (a 4% decline compared to 2019) amid COVID-19, political cooperation has been developing. In early July, both countries demonstrated close coordination in high-level international organizations by vetoing extension of cross-border aid in Syria. During a telephone call to Vladimir Putin on July 8, President Xi vowed to intensify coordination with Russia internationally, including in the UN.

Russia and China currently maintain close and regular cooperation. According to the Russian ambassador to China A. Denisov, up to now, both presidents have held four telephone conversations and are currently working on preparation for a state visit of the Russian President to China, as well as on the participation of Xi Jinping in SCO and BRICS forums in Russia with open dates.

A new trend in China-Russia cooperation can be noted in the sphere of coordination of bilateral actions to oppose Western ideological pressure in the media. On July 24, spokespeople of the Ministries of foreign affairs held a video-conference on the information agenda. The parties recognized Western powers’ attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of China and Russia by disseminating fake news and placing restrictions on journalists’ work.

U.S. attempts to alienate and isolate China provide Beijing with no other choice but to seek further expansion of cooperation with like-minded states, be it Russia or any other country open for cooperation.

From our partner RIAC

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