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The Chinese idea of nations’ security for a shared future

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The general concepts of national security and human destiny complement each other and together form the path that countries should follow for a peaceful future. They have a close internal logic and jointly pursue the value and purpose of the “person” placed in the development that should be the priority of every government.

Therefore, the overall situation of both the national and foreign progress of each country should be coordinated to the benefit of the person’s wellbeing, placed beyond any State.

General national security must focus on the overall planning of external and internal security. International peace and order, as well as the common development of mankind are the strategic interests that should characterise the international community’s members.

As far as international security is concerned, instead, the idea of a community with a shared future for mankind can only be sustained through the creation of a universally secure world, in which the destiny of not just one country, but of all countries, is manifest.

In other words, a community with a shared future for mankind is the highest goal of the universal security concept. This means putting people at the centre.

In the context of globalisation, large-scale population flows bring new challenges to national security. They are bound to be faced at the highest level. In the shared future community, the word ‘destiny’ is not only the common, long-term destiny of all mankind, but also the destiny of each person. Personal security is the fundamental interest of every citizen. For this reason, the concept of national security clearly suggests to achieve the security of people as a goal, fully reflecting a different style from the one imposed so far by dint of bombs necessary to bring democracy and massacres by friendly and unfriendly fire.

A peace builder, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order must focus, first and foremost, on safeguarding the common interests of all peoples in the world, and not put one ‘first’ at the expense of all the others.

Economic development belongs to the category of economy, of structure. For a country, instead, national security belongs to the category of superstructures. Therefore, the general level of national security and the level of construction of a community with a shared future for mankind fundamentally depend on the equal progress of structure and superstructures that should go hand-in-hand.

The individual national forms of governance must consider the reasonable concerns of the other countries and promote the common development of all people according to their abilities, and without external impositions.

In the global vision of national security, the certainty of a valid policy, and of its serious interpreters, is another fundamental factor. In particular – whatever talk show politicians and pseudo-intellectuals, with whom unfortunately Italy sadly abounds, may say – the present world still sees the coexistence of two social systems, capitalism and socialism (China, first of all), with a strong capitalism based on motherlands and “colonies” and a weak socialism.

It is obvious that Western countries (i.e. USA+UK+”colonies”) will inevitably use any means to contain the rise of the People’s Republic of China by denigrating and attacking the socialist political system with Chinese characteristics.

If we think about it, one of the disastrous and fatal reasons for the disintegration of the Soviet Union at the time was the stupid idea initially developed by Khrushchev after de-Stalinisation, i.e. trying to imitate – without an adequate structure – the U.S. model both in defence and in an alleged consumerism, as well as watering down Marxism. Such an unthinkable and unwarlike era of long-term ‘peaceful evolution’ of the Soviet ideology and socialist system as to be ‘accepted’ by Western countries, which absurdly were called upon as guarantors of Socialism (Helsinki Accords of 1975). Later this led Gorbachev to be the first to abandon Socialism and invent the so-called perestroika (restructuring), which led to the well-known implosion – to the delight of the mediocre U.S. President, Ronald Reagan – and to the end of European scientific socialism. Under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin and his boyars, Russia barely did not turn into an American dépendance. As luck would have it, however, Russian vodka ran its course, and Vladimir Vladimirovič restored dignity to the country. China did not make that mistake and Deng Xiaoping prevented it from turning back into the country of unequal treaties.

The traditional view indicates that ‘security’ means the absence of internal threats, and national security means the absence of threats from foreign enemies. Today, the meaning of ‘security’ has expanded considerably. The international policy scholar, Yan Xuetong says: “The definition of ‘security’ is no fear, no threat, and no uncertainty”.

The meaning of national security in modern China is broader now than at any time in history.

Compared to the traditional concept of security, the word ‘global’ fully reflects the idea that today’s concept is more comprehensive and systematic. Consequently, the reason why the idea of communities with a shared future is recognised by all countries in the world is that this idea is an effective recipe for overcoming the phenomenon of global ‘fragmentation’ in today’s world.

However, it is all about interpreting the word ‘global’. The most significant difference between the Chinese international perspective and the liberal one is that socialism in itself has an ideological, historical and traditional content of integration and is dedicated to the search for cooperation and liberation of all peoples according to the five principles of the Bandung Conference (1955), on which China has always based its foreign policy.

The liberal international perspective, instead, pursues globalisation only apparently, but in reality it is driven by Western capitalist countries to serve their own interests and their own multinational corporations. At the moment, Western developed countries in U.S. tow appear as an anti-globalisation force, because they are finding that globalisation is deviating ever more from their own rule and domination.

When it becomes clear that the old masters of Africa, on the leash of the White House, can no longer do whatever they want on that continent, the aforementioned talk show politicians and pseudo-intellectuals set in, saying that the Chinese are bad and do not respect human rights. Because the Chinese want to take oil, diamonds, biofuels, water, etc. away (from the former masters of Africa), while until yesterday Great Britain, France and the U.S. and Belgian multinationals, etc., stole as much as they could. Today China has come with its treaties of equal dignity, and the Western “colonies” are getting hysterical.

Against this background, China holds high the banner of a type of globalisation it has always respected through the strict dictates of the five Bandung principles:

(i) mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity;

(ii) non-aggression against each other;

(iii) mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs;

(iv) equality and mutual benefit;

(v) peaceful coexistence.

If you read them carefully, they are exactly the opposite of the infamous European colonialism (19th-20th centuries). This is the reason why China continuously receives great support, not only from a vast number of developing countries, but also from well-established European countries such as Germany, Sweden, etc. While in Italy the orders of the clumsy U.S: President make it possible for a Chinese dignitary to be received in Rome by one of our lower ranks.

In Italy we do not want to understand that an international community with a shared future for mankind is first and foremost a community of interests, especially when the countries in the world have not yet emerged from the quagmire of financial crisis and global economic growth is slow.

The countries in the world must first solve the problems of development and  poverty, as well as reduce frictions. Non-traditional global security issues such as food security, scarce resources, population explosions, environmental pollution, prevention and control of infectious diseases, pandemics and transnational crimes can only be tackled with everybody’s agreement.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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East Asia

Importance of peace in Afghanistan is vital for China

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image source: chinamission.be

There are multiple passages from Afghanistan to China, like Wakhan Corridor that is 92 km long, stretching to Xinjiang in China. It was formed in 1893 as a result of an agreement between the British Empire and Afghanistan. Another is Chalachigu valley that shares the border with Tajikistan to the north, Pakistan to the south, and Afghanistan to the west. It is referred to as the Chinese part of the Wakhan Corridor. However, the Chinese side of the valley is closed to the public and only local shepherds are allowed. Then there is Wakhjir Pass on the eastern side of the Wakhan corridor but is not accessible to the general public. The terrain is rough on the Afghan side. There are no roads along the Wakhjir Pass, most of the terrain is a dirt track. Like other passages, it can only be accessed via either animals or SUVs, and also due to extreme weather it is open for only seven months throughout the year. North Wakhjir Pass, also called Tegermansu Pass, is mountainous on the border of China and Afghanistan. It stretches from Tegermansu valley on the east and Chalachigu Valley in Xinjiang. All of these passages are extremely uncertain and rough which makes them too risky to be used for trade purposes. For example, the Chalagigu valley and Wakhjir Pass are an engineering nightmare to develop, let alone make them viable.

Similarly, the Pamir mountain range is also unstable and prone to landslides. Both of these routes also experience extreme weather conditions. Alternatives: Since most of the passages are risky for travel, alternatively, trade activities can be routed via Pakistan. For example, there is an access road at the North Wakhjir that connects to Karakoram Highway.

By expanding the road network from Taxkorgan in Xinjiang to Gilgit, using the Karakoram Highway is a probable option. Land routes in Pakistan are already being developed for better connectivity between Islamabad and Beijing as part of CPEC. These routes stretch from Gwadar up to the North.

The Motorway M-1, which runs from Islamabad to Peshawar can be used to link Afghanistan via Landi Kotal. Although the Karakoram highway also suffers from extreme weather and landslides, it is easier for engineers to handle as compared to those in Afghanistan.

China is the first door neighbor of Afghanistan having a common border. If anything happens in Afghanistan will have a direct impact on China. China has a declared policy of peaceful developments and has abandoned all disputes and adversaries for the time being and focused only on economic developments. For economic developments, social stability and security is a pre-requisite. So China emphasizes peace and stability in Afghanistan. It is China’s requirement that its border with Afghanistan should be secured, and restrict movements of any unwanted individuals or groups. China is compelled by any government in Afghanistan to ensure the safety of its borders in the region.

Taliban has ensured china that, its territory will not use against China and will never support any insurgency in China. Based on this confidence, China is cooperating with the Taliban in all possible manners. On the other hand, China is a responsible nation and obliged to extend humanitarian assistance to starving Afghans. While, the US is coercing and exerting pressures on the Taliban Government to collapse, by freezing their assets, and cutting all economic assistance, and lobbying with its Western allies, for exerting economic pressures on the Taliban, irrespective of human catastrophe in Afghanistan. China is generously assisting in saving human lives in Afghanistan. Whereas, the US is preferring politics over human lives in Afghanistan.

The US has destroyed Afghanistan during the last two decades, infrastructure was damaged completely, Agriculture was destroyed, Industry was destroyed, and the economy was a total disaster. While, China is assisting Afghanistan to rebuild its infrastructure, revive agriculture, industrialization is on its way. Chinese mega initiative, Belt and Road (BRI) is hope for Afghanistan.

A peaceful Afghanistan is a guarantee for peace and stability in China, especially in the bordering areas. The importance of Afghan peace is well conceived by China and practically, China is supporting peace and stability in Afghanistan. In fact, all the neighboring countries, and regional countries, are agreed upon by consensus that peace and stability in Afghanistan is a must and prerequisite for whole regions’ development and prosperity.

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Shared Territorial Concern, Opposition to US Intervention Prompt Russia’s Support to China on Taiwan Question

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image credit: kremlin.ru

The situation around the island of Taiwan is raising concerns not only in Chinese mainland, Taiwan island or in the US, but also in the whole world. Nobody would like to see a large-scale military clash between China and the US in the East Pacific. Potential repercussions of such a clash, even if it does not escalate to the nuclear level, might be catastrophic for the global economy and strategic stability, not to mention huge losses in blood and treasure for both sides in this conflict.

Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Moscow continued to firmly support Beijing’s position on Taiwan as an integral part of China. Moreover, he also underlined that Moscow would support Beijing in its legitimate efforts to reunite the breakaway province with the rest of the country. A number of foreign media outlets paid particular attention not to what Lavrov actually said, but omitted his other remarks: the Russian official did not add that Moscow expects reunification to be peaceful and gradual in a way that is similar to China’s repossession of Hong Kong. Many observers of the new Taiwan Straits crisis unfolding concluded that Lavrov’s statement was a clear signal to all parties of the crisis: Russia would likely back even Beijing’s military takeover of the island.

Of course, diplomacy is an art of ambiguity. Lavrov clearly did not call for a military solution to the Taiwan problem. Still, his remarks were more blunt and more supportive of Beijing than the standard Russia’s rhetoric on the issue. Why? One possible explanation is that the Russian official simply wanted to sound nice to China as Russia’s major strategic partner. As they say, “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” Another explanation is that Lavrov recalled the Russian experience with Chechnya some time ago, when Moscow had to fight two bloody wars to suppress secessionism in the North Caucasus. Territorial integrity means a lot for the Russian leadership. This is something that is worth spilling blood for.

However, one can also imagine that in Russia they simply do not believe that if things go really bad for Taiwan island, the US would dare to come to its rescue and that in the end of the day Taipei would have to yield to Beijing without a single shot fired. Therefore, the risks of a large-scale military conflict in the East Pacific are perceived as relatively low, no matter what apocalyptic scenarios various military experts might come up with.

Indeed, over last 10 or 15 years the US has developed a pretty nasty habit of inciting its friends and partners to take risky and even reckless decisions and of letting these friends and partners down, when the latter had to foot the bill for these decisions. In 2008, the Bush administration explicitly or implicitly encouraged Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili to launch a military operation against South Ossetia including killing some Russian peacekeepers stationed there. But when Russia interfered to stop and to roll back the Georgian offensive, unfortunate Saakashvili was de-facto abandoned by Washington.

During the Ukrainian conflicts of 2013-14, the Obama administration enthusiastically supported the overthrow of the legitimate president in Kiev. However, it later preferred to delegate the management of the crisis to Berlin and to Paris, abstaining from taking part in the Normandy process and from signing the Minsk Agreements. In 2019, President Donald Trump promised his full support to Juan Guaidó, Head of the National Assembly in Venezuela, in his crusade against President Nicolas when the government of Maduro demonstrated its spectacular resilience. Juan Guaido very soon almost completely disappeared from Washington’s political radar screens.

Earlier this year the Biden administration stated its firm commitment to shouldering President Ashraf Ghani in Afghanistan in his resistance to Taliban advancements. But when push came to shove, the US easily abandoned its local allies, evacuated its military personal in a rush and left President Ghani to seek political asylum in the United Arab Emirates.

Again and again, Washington gives reasons to conclude that its partners, clients and even allies can no longer consider it as a credible security provider. Would the US make an exception for the Taiwan island? Of course, one can argue that the Taiwan island is more important for the US than Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ukraine and Georgia taken together. But the price for supporting the Taiwan island could also be much higher for the US than the price it would have paid in many other crisis situations. The chances of the US losing to China over Taiwan island, even if Washington mobilizes all of its available military power against Beijing, are also very high. Still, we do not see such a mobilization taking place now. It appears that the Biden administration is not ready for a real showdown with Beijing over the Taiwan question.

If the US does not put its whole weight behind the Taiwan island, the latter will have to seek some kind of accommodation with the mainland on terms abandoning its pipe-dreams of self-determination and independence. This is clear to politicians not only in East Asia, but all over the place, including Moscow. Therefore, Sergey Lavrov has reasons to firmly align himself with the Chinese position. The assumption in the Kremlin is that Uncle Sam will not dare to challenge militarily the Middle Kingdom. Not this time.

From our partner RIAC

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Russia-Japan Relations: Were Abe’s Efforts In Vain?

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Expanding the modest elements of trust in the Japan-Russia relationship, talking through reciprocal concerns before they lead to conflict, avoiding bilateral incidents, and engaging in mutually beneficial economic cooperation is the way forward.

One year after the end of Shinzo Abe’s long period of leadership, Japan has a new prime minister once again. The greatest foreign policy challenge the new Japanese government led by Fumio Kishida is facing is the intensifying confrontation between its large neighbor China and its main ally America. In addition to moves to energize the Quad group to which Japan belongs alongside Australia, India, and the United States, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has concluded a deal with Canberra and London to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines which in future could patrol the Western Pacific close to Chinese shores. The geopolitical fault lines in the Indo-Pacific region are fast turning into frontlines.

In this context, does anything remain of the eight-year-long effort by former prime minister Abe to improve relations with Russia on the basis of greater economic engagement tailored to Moscow’s needs? Russia’s relations with China continue to develop, including in the military domain; Russia’s constitutional amendments passed last year prohibit the handover of Russian territory, which doesn’t bode well for the long-running territorial dispute with Japan over the South Kuril Islands; and Russian officials and state-run media have been remembering and condemning the Japanese military’s conduct during World War II, something they chose to play down in the past. True, Moscow has invited Tokyo to participate in economic projects on the South Kuril Islands, but on Russian terms and without an exclusive status.

To many, the answer to the above question is clear, and it is negative. Yet that attitude amounts to de facto resignation, a questionable approach. Despite the oft-cited but erroneous Cold War analogy, the present Sino-American confrontation has created two poles in the global system, but not—at least, not yet—two blocs. Again, despite the popular and equally incorrect interpretation, Moscow is not Beijing’s follower or vassal. As a power that is particularly sensitive about its own sovereignty, Russia seeks to maintain an equilibrium—which is not the same as equidistance—between its prime partner and its main adversary. Tokyo would do well to understand that and take it into account as it structures its foreign relations.

The territorial dispute with Russia is considered to be very important for the Japanese people, but it is more symbolic than substantive. In practical terms, the biggest achievement of the Abe era in Japan-Russia relations was the founding of a format for high-level security and foreign policy consultations between the two countries. With security issues topping the agenda in the Indo-Pacific, maintaining the channel for private direct exchanges with a neighboring great power that the “2+2” formula offers is of high value. Such a format is a trademark of Abe’s foreign policy which, while being loyal to Japan’s American ally, prided itself on pursuing Japanese national interests rather than solely relying on others to take them into account.

Kishida, who for five years served as Abe’s foreign minister, will now have a chance to put his own stamp on the country’s foreign policy. Yet it makes sense for him to build on the accomplishments of his predecessor, such as using the unique consultation mechanism mentioned above to address geopolitical and security issues in the Indo-Pacific region, from North Korea to Afghanistan. Even under Abe, Japan’s economic engagement with Russia was by no means charity. The Russian leadership’s recent initiatives to shift more resources to eastern Siberia offer new opportunities to Japanese companies, just like Russia’s early plans for energy transition in response to climate change, and the ongoing development projects in the Arctic. In September 2021, the annual Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok did not feature top-level Japanese participation, but that should be an exception, not the rule.

Japan will remain a trusted ally of the United States for the foreseeable future. It is also safe to predict that at least in the medium term, and possibly longer, the Russo-Chinese partnership will continue to grow. That is no reason for Moscow and Tokyo to regard each other as adversaries, however. Moreover, since an armed conflict between America and China would spell a global calamity and have a high chance of turning nuclear, other major powers, including Russia and Japan, have a vital interest in preventing such a collision. Expanding the still very modest elements of trust in the Japan-Russia relationship, talking through reciprocal concerns before they lead to conflict, avoiding bilateral incidents, and engaging in mutually beneficial economic cooperation is the way forward. The absence of a peace treaty between the two countries more than seventy-five years after the end of the war is abnormal, yet that same unfinished business should serve as a stimulus to persevere. Giving up is an option, but not a good one.

From our partner RIAC

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