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Xi Jinping’s vision of building a community of common future for mankind

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China considered that improving people’s living standards, eliminating poverty, protecting the environment and improving the education system are an important part of promoting human rights issues both domestically and internationally. Therefore, China has tried to set an internal and international agenda at the level of the United Nations and its relevant agencies, in order to (support the developing countries of the South in development and the elimination of poverty, as one of the indicators of improving the human rights situation globally). Accordingly, we can evaluate the Chinese measures and policies related to the field of “global human rights governance as a common destiny of mankind”, according to the proposal of Chinese President Comrade “Xi Jinping”, as follows:

  Today, the Chinese leadership seeks, within the framework of an ambitious plan, to achieve a “well-off society” for all the Chinese people, by developing a “comprehensive and institutional reform plan” in a way that includes the structure and frameworks of legislative institutions, the Communist Party, and state government institutions, and supervising private institutions of an economic nature, development and services, while retaining the characteristics that distinguish Chinese socialism. It is expected that these changes will positively affect China and its relations with the outside world, especially major countries, neighboring countries and third world countries.

  In this context, after strengthening the environment for internal reform, China seeks to revive new Silk Roads. There is no doubt that the push towards a (coherent social construction), which is called the process of opening up to the outside smoothly, requires strict control over the implementation of laws, and a permanent development of political and administrative legislation at the same time.

  It should be noted that China has signed (26 international conventions on human rights).  China was one of the countries that proposed and supported the (Declaration on the Right to Development and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). It was also elected as a member of the (United Nations Human Rights Council) four times.

  In March 2017, the concept of “building a bond of a common future for mankind”, put forward by Chinese President “Xi Jinpin”, was included in two resolutions on the rights of economy, society, culture and the right to food of the Human Rights Council, and this concept was also adopted in (Security Council Resolution  United Nations) in 2017, during the 37th meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, in which China put forward the resolution “Strengthening Cooperation and Enjoying Win-win in the Protection of Human Rights”, and the resolution was adopted at the 39th session of the Human Rights Council in September  2018, and the representative of China, on behalf of some 140 countries, delivered the joint statement, entitled: “Eradicate poverty through cooperation and promote the development of human rights in the world”.

 In November 2018, China pledged to donate $800,000 each year to the Office of the (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) “OHCHR” for the next five years in order to support the work of the Office. In addition, China established the (South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund to help countries  other developing countries to eradicate poverty).

 The Chinese political leadership of President “Xi Jinping” began removing all political obstacles, which paved the way for China to enter a new era of economic reform and openness to the world, in line with strengthening and increasing the role of the market and planning “private cities”, while reducing government planning in the economy, to bring China more into the world economy.

  The leaders and comrades of the ruling Communist Party in China were keen to emphasize that (in terms of ideology) this was portrayed not as abandoning socialism, but as a better way towards achieving it, as the Communist Party announced that China was in the basic stage of socialism, according to which the capitalist economy was  Prosperity, as a prerequisite for the subsequent transition towards comprehensive reform.

 The number of employees and volunteers of the (non-governmental organizations) in China is more than one million, working in the fields of (charity, environmental protection and human rights protection), and other matters of interest to the Chinese citizen. These organizations are considered a platform to highlight the creative creative abilities of the masses, and play a positive role in improving the lives of citizens and addressing many social problems.  The Chinese government is currently exploring and experimenting with new approaches to managing NGOs.

 The Chinese President, Comrade “Xi Jinping”, and the ruling Communist Party comrades are keen to highlight (the relationship between the state and society as an important element in managing the political system and the Chinese state and working for the benefit of the people). During the era of President Comrade “Xi Jinping” China is carrying out continuous reforms at the party and governmental levels in order to (adjust the relationship between the state and society), which gives more opportunities for citizens to express their views.

 With the great economic openness during the era of the Chinese President, Comrade “Xi Jinping”, the freedom of the Chinese citizen has increased in the areas of movement, housing, treatment, study, entertainment and consumption, so the government no longer manages people’s lives directly. Chinese citizens’ criticism of government policies and the performance of government officials has become a regular occurrence.

 The Chinese President, Comrade “Xi Jinping” has given a lot of credit for the successful implementation of economic reforms, as he was on the right political line, in addition to taking political reforms even further, by working with a number of (new think tanks, founded in the universities and research institutes at Beijing and all other provinces and cities). We found out that some new research groups and think tanks have been formed to discuss and formally central discussion on all issues of political reform in the Chinese state, and the blessing was later given to studies of bold political changes, and the citizens of China continued to consider (liberation  politics, criticizing policies, expressing their political opinions), and other matters, as valid topics for public discussion.

  According to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision, if China is to continue to advance in a rapidly changing world, it must safely manage the major social and economic transformation, and most importantly to (improve state governance).  In order to ensure the long-term survival of China’s one-party system, the reform of state and party institutions has been initiated. Indeed, for President “Xi Jinping”, political reform was a prerequisite for economic reform.

  Chinese President “Xi Jinping” did not try to follow the pattern of modernity in the manner of the West, that is, to establish China as a superpower on an equal footing with the United States of America. On the contrary, President Comrade “Xi Jinping” believes that his current challenge is internal and his message is domestic in the first place. He knows that success in this will determine his place in history. This is his main concern.

  ChineseLeader “Xi Jinping” has become the most powerful leader in China today since the era of Deng Xiaoping, and has been able to shape his legacy according to his own vision, relying on sufficient political capital to carry out the necessary political reforms. China has followed a positive path in improving education, judiciary on poverty, increasing development and prosperity, and taking measures to raise development rates in all provinces and cities, as well as adopting economically advanced strategies to deepen the necessary reforms alongside political reforms.

 Education has helped in (developing innovative capacity and strengthening competitiveness), with attention to developing skilled manpower from the top to the bottom, as manpower skills have become the main competitive weapon for China at the present time.

  The reforms and measures undertaken by the Chinese state have led to progress in all aspects of public servant management, which (reflected on economic performance, improvement of the investment climate, success in reducing the size of institutions and the number of employees, strengthening the separation between party leadership and government functions, and separating government tasks from administration  companies), has reduced the number of government employees in the framework of the reform of the State Council by almost half, as well as transferring and transforming government jobs, separating government functions from project management, strengthening the power of companies in management and decision-making, reducing administrative procedures and approvals, and stimulating initiative in local governments through administrative decentralization through  Giving these local governments more power in making decisions in the areas of finance, taxes and employees, and giving more autonomy to individuals and society.

  China has formulated and implemented (three action plans on human rights) since 2009.  During this period, the Chinese people’s living standards have improved, their rights are better protected, policies and legal procedures protecting the rights of certain groups have been improved, and legal guarantees for human rights have been strengthened, according to the action plan.  China has also fully shared its experience in the global governance of human rights, and made a great contribution to the international human rights cause.

  The (Recent Action Plan for Human Rights in China, through a set of goals for the period 2021-2025) was drawn up, and this latest plan for Chinese human rights affirmed that China will promote the free, comprehensive and common development of all its citizens as a general goal. According to the plan, China will strengthen equal protection of the rights and interests of certain groups, especially in minority autonomous regions, by providing them with additional assistance to ensure that everyone gets an equal share of the fruits of development, and providing political support for the comprehensive development of all the Chinese people.

  The Chinese leadership was keen to conduct continuous research, as well as improve education and training levels and build awareness, to create a social environment that respects and protects human rights.

 The adoption of the United Nations Human Rights Council in its (third periodic review) has received a report submitted by China in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 15, 2019, with the participation of representatives of more than 120 countries, who delivered speeches at the Council’s meeting to support human rights in China, praising China’s achievements in developing  human rights. The representatives of the countries at the meeting also referred to China’s positive role in alleviating poverty and promoting economic, social and cultural rights, emphasizing the importance of China’s contributions to (promoting the common development of various countries).

  The “Beijing Human Rights Forum” was also held in September 2018, entitled: “Eradication of Poverty: Building the Bond of a Common Future for Humanity Without Poverty and Seeking Common Development”, with the international praise from well-known officials and experts, regionally and internationally, representing more than fifty countries and international organizations, the human rights conditions in China.

 The Chinese government’s emphasis, during its development of the last plan for human rights until 2025, came on (China’s participation in the global governance of human rights), as well as its participation in all work related to the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, and pushing the international community towards establishing a more governance system  Justice, equity, reasonableness and inclusiveness, and working together to build a (community with a shared future for humanity).

 Here, we found out that “Michelle Bachelet”, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, opened the meeting of the Human Rights Council in its (forty-seventh session) in June 2021, which was attended by representatives of 47 UN member states around the world, with accusations against the Beijing government.

 But the representative of the Chinese mission to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, “Liu Yuen”, rejected all accusations from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, assuring him that China would not allow any outside forces to interfere in what he described as the inalienable parts of China’s territory, and Liu Yuen issued a warning.  Strongly worded to “Michelle Bachelet”, in order to work to “respect the facts and stop making false statements about China”.

  In my personal analysis, what stopped me the most about the strict Chinese position to ensure her election to the (United Nations Human Rights Council), despite all the American and Western criticism directed at her in this context, is (the extent to which the Chinese government is officially keen to represent the largest number of people from the United Nations by its Chinese nationals in all major UN agencies). Which reflects Beijing’s smart diplomacy as a rising power, and its position as the second largest economy in the world.

  Therefore, US President Joe Biden’s objection to all the leadership positions held by China in the United Nations and its relevant agencies, emphasizing that: “the time has come for Western allies to unite to confront China’s growing influence at the level of multilateral relations and policies”. Over the past few years, China has provided or supported candidates for some key positions in United Nations agencies and international organizations, such as:

The International Telecommunication Union and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the World “ITU & FAO”

 Based on the previous analysis of the Egyptian researcher, we conclude that China relies on following the pattern of development internally and externally, in order to reach the best models and ways to achieve them globally away from this narrow concept of human rights. Therefore, China resorts to solving emerging issues through development, considering that this is the main experience of China that  to the world, especially emerging and small countries. With this unprecedented state of great changes and adjustments in the whole world, China here faces opportunities and challenges unparalleled in history, and China still adheres to development as a major topic, and pushes peace and development forward with visions, ideas and solutions for development constantly, especially in the face of new topics and tests.

Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit

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East Asia

Tension prevails after Pelosi’s Visit

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Image tweeted by @SpeakerPelosi

Already tense geopolitics are boiling and making the whole world more nervous. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has damaged International politics and heated the tension around the globe. Her visit was opposed by more than 100 countries and equally criticized domestically. Many scholars, intellects, politicians, and civil society is criticizing her visit.

Looking at her profile and past, she was a rigid, hardliner, and non-flexible personality. Her role in American politics is also the same tough. She is not willing to accept others’ point of view and always insist on her opinion, or precisely described – imposing her ideology on others.

The same happened in the case of her Taiwan visit, although there was opposition from within the US as well as globally, in addition to strong warnings from China, yet, she made her visit. It was her deliberate attempt to offend public opinion and spoil the international political environment. Certainly, it has created a lot of adverse impacts, on the global economy, security, and peace.

One-China policy is well recognized and a pre-condition to establishing diplomatic relations with China. There are only 13 countries, that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. It means the rest of the whole world recognizes China only and sticks to the One-China policy. Her visit was totally against the One-China policy.

1.4 Billion People in China are offended and public sentiments were ignored. There is tremendous pressure on the Chinese government from the public to protect its sovereignty. Although, China has made tremendous developments on the economic front, technological advancement, and defense capacities. China possesses the ability to capture Taiwan by force. Yet, Beijing has never used military options. China is a responsible state, and very mature in its international affairs. It always kept on convincing for the peaceful reunification of Taiwan with Main Land through dialogue. China has introduced “One Country, Two Systems” to manage Hong Kong and Taiwan, and is always willing to offer a similar option to Taiwan, even a high degree of autonomy.  If Taiwan thinks smartly, can bargain more concessions and favors from China, but, ultimately have to reunify with the mainland.

The implication of her visit and its consequences must be serious, but, to describe it precisely, may not be possible at this stage, the immediate actions taken by Beijing are as:-

1. Canceling China-U.S. Theater Commanders Talk.

2. Canceling China-U.S. Defense Policy Coordination Talks (DPCT).

3. Canceling China-U.S. Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) meetings

4. Suspending China-U.S. cooperation on the repatriation of illegal immigrants.

5. Suspending China-U.S. cooperation on legal assistance in criminal matters.

6. Suspending China-U.S. cooperation against transnational crimes.

7. Suspending China-U.S. counter-narcotics cooperation.

8. Suspending China-U.S. talks on climate change.

The big Military exercise is ongoing in the Strait of Taiwan, where China is using live ammunition and using all three forces, Land, Air, and Navy, very close to Taiwan. In fact, surrounds Taiwan closely.

What other measures or reactions will China take, is not known yet. As China is an inward society and does not reveal what they are planning or thinking, so one may not guess precisely. China believes in doing more but beating the drum less (Less Shouting). It is well understood that Taiwan is a very sensitive issue for the Chinese nation and the reaction must be very serious.

The adverse impact of the Ukraine war is already harming the global economy and if something goes wrong in this region, the price has to be paid by the whole world. China is a World Factory and provides almost 70% of consumer products to the rest of the world. The price offered by China is incompatible and meets the needs of a majority of the middle and lower middle class of the whole world. Only filthy rich people can afford expensive products, but, China caters to the absolute majority.

In case of crisis, the developing and underdeveloped nations will suffer severely. Poverty will jump globally and the masses will be deprived of consumer products. The world will be divided into more blocks. China will be more close to Russia and the cold war may revive once again.

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BRICS – How Will the Organisation Get a ‘Second Wind’?

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BRICS, which was rapidly gaining momentum in the first decade of its operation, has, expectedly, over the past few years faced a certain crisis in its development (this crisis is understood not as a decline, but as a turning point, a transitional situation). At the level of official discourse, the word “crisis” was never used; the rhetoric continued to be predominantly optimistic, however, the expert community has increasingly called for a rethinking of the role of the association, overcoming the mounting internal contradictions. The very logic of the development of any association implies that periods of growth, expansion of the agenda, the predominance of centripetal forces, and crises will alternate, and that it is necessary to look for new foundations for rapprochement. The reasons for slippage, as is always the case, have been both external and internal. On the one hand, a fundamental transformation of the globalisation process has begun (and this process is only gaining momentum); there are calls for the basic principles and mechanisms which bring the BRICS countries together to undergo reform. This challenge is facing all global multilateral organisations today; BRICS is not unique here: the WTO, the G7, the G20, and even the UN and its structures — all of them are faced with the loss of their status as universal platforms for overseeing the global rules of the game. For BRICS, on the one hand, this is a problem of self-identification, since the countries have advocated the transformation of global mechanisms imposed by developed countries. At the same time, it is also an opportunity to “rebuild” the association, turning it into an alternative, new platform for uniting the entire developing world. The latter scenario inevitably implies the expansion of the union, both by accepting new members (which is already happening), and in the BRICS+ format that has become a permanent issue for the current Chinese presidency in 2022.

The difficulties of the BRICS were also caused by internal reasons. The test for BRICS was 2020, when the association, contrary to expectations, did hardly anything to assist in countering the COVID-19 pandemic. While initially considered a club of the most dynamic economies, the union of five countries has become internally highly heterogeneous. China and India continue to vie with each other as leaders of economic growth, while Brazil, South Africa and Russia have witnessed a systemic crisis since the mid-2010s, when the fall in GDP alternates with stagnant growth. Economic difficulties in Brazil and South Africa have led to a change of elites. The new leaders have sought to critically rethink their goals and priorities in unification. However, today BRICS is no longer a club of growth leaders, and the ability of the candidate countries to effectively participate in solving the most acute current problems facing the developing world — the energy and food crises — is coming to the fore. In many respects, these considerations have dictated China’s desire to include Argentina and Iran in the union, despite all the well-known problems facing the economies of these countries.

The aggravation of contradictions between China and India, and along the China-Brazil line, has also led to a slowdown in active work in the BRICS. The rise of China, securing for it the role of the “main sponsor” of the BRICS (primarily as the main founder of the New Development Bank) presents a kind of challenge for Beijing, since the line between leadership and dominance, as the experience of other associations shows, is usually very thin. The accumulated dissatisfaction with the real results of the decade-long work of the association has also made its contribution: many initiatives, including the task of strengthening the voice of developing countries and reforming the global regulatory institutions, still remain only slogans.

To understand the prospects for BRICS, it makes sense to look at the evolution of approaches to unify the current government in Brazil. The victory of Jair Bolsonaro in 2018 was perceived by some experts as a moment of risk for the five, as the new elites in power made no secret of their desire to place their main stake on rapprochement with the United States. The negative scenarios did not materialise. However, Brasilia did significantly rethink its priorities, goals and objectives. Unlike his predecessors from the leftist camp (Presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff), Bolsonaro was not close to the idea of uniting the Global South under the banner of reshaping the world order. However, more pragmatic, technocratic areas that are objectively beneficial to the country (technological cooperation, the fight against organised crime, digitalisation and the Development Bank) were chosen as priorities in the year of Brazil’s chairmanship in 2019. Paradoxically, such a narrowing of the agenda played a rather constructive role in the development of BRICS, since the quality of the elaboration of joint decisions was so high that Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, Sherpa of the Russian Federation in the BRICS, even commended the brilliant organisation of the work, saying that there were far more specifics than general declarations. Paraphrasing the famous phrase of Alexander Gorchakov, one can say that the Brazilian presidency allowed BRICS to focus, to replace the extensive growth of the agenda of previous years with intensive progress in really important and compromise-driven areas.

The arrival of the Joe Biden administration in Washington in 2021 has led to a cooling of the enthusiasm among the Brazilian elites regarding the prospects for rapprochement with the United States. In Brasilia the incumbent American President’s threats, made during the election campaign, were well-heard: to impose sanctions against the Tropical Giant if it does not reconsider its policy toward the Amazon River. Bolsonaro is also worried about the inclusion of environmental issues in the NATO agenda. That is, the increased attention of the military alliance in the Amazon region is not ruled out, which is traditionally an extremely sensitive topic for Brazilians. In this context, the Brazilian leader is revisiting his previously restrained approach to the BRICS, recognising its importance and strategic significance for the country as a tool to counter isolation in the event that the risks of worsening relations with the US and the EU materialise. Following this logic, Bolsonaro today advocates expanding the association, including within the framework of BRICS +, and in official speeches he speaks of the need to reform the World Bank, IMF and the UN Security Council, which was difficult to imagine a few years ago.

Geographic expansion

Expansion through the inclusion of new full members has been talked about since the first years of the BRICS. Since the concept of BRICS as an alliance of civilizations initially prevailed, where each macro-region is represented by one leader, the inclusion of a large Islamic country was most likely. Indonesia, as the world’s largest Islamic country in terms of population, and Egypt were usually considered. The recent application for the entry of Shiite Iran alters this logic, since, apparently, when inviting Tehran to the recent 14th Summit, China was guided by the exceptional importance of the country precisely from the point of view of its energy potential as one of the leaders in hydrocarbon reserves.

The possibility of Argentina joining the BRICS was also discussed for a long time, but Brazil was interested in maintaining its role as a regional leader, representing all of Latin America. The possibility of competition from Buenos Aires did not rouse enthusiasm among the authorities of the Tropical Giant, even during the reign of the left, despite the friendly relations between the countries at that time. Argentina then did not yet face the economic problems that it is experiencing today; the country’s economy was one of the most dynamic in the region. At present, the countries are going through a difficult period in the history of their bilateral relations; the leaders have no trusting, friendly contact. In BRICS, any decision on the admission of new members is made by consensus, but how easy it will be to get the support of the Brazilian authorities for the entry of Argentina remains a big question. Argentina’s entry into the association will not only exacerbate political rivalry; the countries are the largest food producers, competing in many markets. The appearance of a second country from one continent in BRICS will finally move the organisation away from its original concept of uniting the political and economic leaders of their continents (or civilizations). However, these challenges also present opportunities. The new global situation requires developing countries to push old grievances to the background, so that they may work on the task of increasing the representative nature of the BRICS, expanding its potential in addressing the food and energy crises.

Without Argentina, achieving this goal will be much more difficult, since together the two Latin American countries are able to provide food for more than 1 billion people. Participation in the BRICS of another state of the region, especially a partner in Mercosur, despite the competition, creates more opportunities to convey the Latin American agenda and priorities.

At the time of writing, Jair Bolsonaro had not officially commented on his decision to support or not support the entry of Argentina, while the statements were limited to the words of the Minister of Economy Paulo Guedes about the possibility of connecting Buenos Aires to the New Development Bank. However, the mere fact of the official application for membership may indicate that there may be some informal arrangements between Brasilia and Buenos Aires.

The inclusion of new full members of the BRICS is a long process, which, even with the consent of all participants, could take several years. The Chinese approach to foreign policy is traditionally characterised by flexibility and action on several tracks at once. It is this “second track” that BRICS+ is intended to become. There are two approaches to the implementation of cooperation within the framework of this format. The approach of Russia is known, which promoted the concept of “integration of integrations”, which implies the cooperation of integration projects, where the participating countries are leaders (EAEU, Mercosur, South African Customs Union). China could participate through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. If to consider the concept of “integration” precisely as a formalized process of trade liberalisation, then at present individual regional integration blocs would really be interested in implementing deep forms of integration, for example, through the signing of free trade agreements (FTAs). Mercosur, having signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the EAEU, consistently offers the Eurasian bloc the opportunity to start trade negotiations. China would also be interested in rapprochement with all associations, but many countries see significant risks from such agreements for their producers. It may seem paradoxical that the “integration of integrations” format was promoted by Moscow, whose foreign trade policy is conservative; the EAEU has only a few FTAs with third countries. Despite the optimism of many experts about the prospects for establishing such a network of trade agreements between integration blocs, the author sees such breakthroughs as unlikely in the medium term. Today, in many countries or associations, there is a growing demand for closeness and the protection of national producers in order to achieve greater industrial and technological independence. The willingness to actively cooperate in creating a common financial or logistics infrastructure does not mean the willingness of Brazil, Russia or perhaps Argentina to open their markets and increase competition with imports from China.

China’s approach to the implementation of the BRICS+ format implies rather a “union of regionalisms”, when not trade blocs, but regional associations (SCO, CELAC, African Union) participate in the dialogue. China has established a dialogue with all these organisations (or being a member); there is a broad agenda of cooperation related to economic, political, scientific and technological areas and other topics. Obviously, the advantage of the Chinese approach is flexibility, as there is no need to talk about trade agreements by imposing rigid standards. The only formal obstacle to the implementation of the model today is the non-participation of Brazil (by Bolsonaro’s decision) in CELAC since 2019, the return of the country to the organisation has not yet been discussed. However, it is possible to expect that the position of the Brazilian leader in a reasonable perspective will change amid disappointment in the stalled rapprochement with the United States. A softening of the position is also noticeable in relations with the left-wing radical governments of Latin America, primarily Venezuela (it was precisely the preservation of this country’s participation in CELAC that became the reason for Brazil’s withdrawal). In any case, the decision on the possible resumption of participation in the regional union, if it is made, looks most likely after the elections in October 2022. If the left-wing politician Lula da Silva wins, the country’s return to CELAC can be considered a foregone conclusion. Therefore, Beijing is ready to bide its time. Chinese approaches to diplomacy and international politics are known for their strategic vision for the long term, the current formal obstacles to the implementation of their plans are perceived as temporary, and simply to be waited out. When communicating with our Chinese colleagues dealing with the topic of BRICS, one can feel a similar conviction in the objective mutual benefit and usefulness of the format for all participants.

New realities — new agenda

In the year of its presidency, China was noted not only for initiatives to expand the BRICS; it also significantly developed the agenda, including 23 priorities in 5 areas. There have not been such a number of initiatives within the BRICS for a long time, although most areas of work continue to develop the previous priorities. However, attention is drawn to the surprising similarity of the agenda of all major international forums in 2022. For example, within the framework of the 9th Summit of the Americas, held in early June under the chairmanship of the United States, Washington promoted an agenda that included the problems of post-pandemic recovery, combating the food and energy crises, cooperation in the field of healthcare, innovation, security, ecology, and trade. The intersections with China’s priorities in BRICS are significant. Washington’s main message during the Summit can be formulated as a desire to limit the presence of external players in the zone of their traditional interests. China, which did not participate in any way at the Summit of the Americas and was not mentioned by US officials in speeches, was in fact invisibly present. During his keynote speech at the opening of the forum on June 6, Joe Biden, after the announcement of new proposals for cooperation, emphasised, clearly in defiance of China, that the Western Hemisphere has enough of its own resources to solve all its main problems. The competition of the main financial development instruments is also obvious. For example, the United States promised to capitalise the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) as it is concerned about the growing presence of the Chinese New Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS New Development Bank, financed mainly by Beijing.

Certain signs of rivalry with China can also be seen on the agenda of the 48th G7 summit at the end of June. Developed countries, largely in opposition to the Chinese Belt and Road project, announced their own infrastructure development project in developing countries. There was also talk about the food crisis and assistance to poor countries in counteracting rising prices, where Argentina was also invited to participate. The Western countries and China are entering into intense competition for the developing world, where aid and development programmes will become the main tool, and the developed world is playing the role of catching up in many respects.

For Russia, such a transformation and expansion (geographical and thematic) of the BRICS is obviously beneficial. The intensification of work on the creation of independent financial mechanisms (a new international currency, a pool of reserve currencies, the BRICS Pay payment system) is of interest not only to Moscow, which seeks to reduce its dependence on the monetary infrastructure of the West. The possible inclusion of new members, like Argentina and Iran, demonstrates the failure of the policy of isolating Russia. The Kremlin is ready to move away from the previous logic of the BRICS, when the association was emphatically positioned neither as an alternative to the West, nor as a coalition against it. Today, such positioning is no longer relevant for Russia and China. The latter confirmed this by inviting Iran to participate in the Summit, a country that is in a long-standing conflict with the US, but at the same time has almost 9% of the world’s oil reserves and 17% of its natural gas.

However, such an anti-Western projection of the BRICS is not beneficial to all its participants. Significantly, India, as well as candidate Argentina, took part in the G7 Summit. Argentina depends on the position of the IMF because of its debt problem; it discusses the possibility of obtaining assistance from developed countries. India seeks to pursue a multi-vector policy by participating with the US, Japan and Australia in the Quadripartite Security Dialogue (QUAD). Its interest in achieving the common goals of improving global regulation and interaction for the sake of development does not mean that all BRICS members are ready to oppose the countries of the West. Realising the positive chances from the emerging new period of growth of the association, all countries need to remain diplomatic in promoting their priorities, and seek a delicate balance that will give the BRICS the required stability in the next development cycle.

from our partner RIAC

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A Game of Brinkmanship: Pelosi’s Taiwan visit and what China is likely to do

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Image tweeted by @SpeakerPelosi

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan could not have come at a more interesting juncture- Pelosi greeted flashing cameras at the Taipei airport just hours after a US drone shot down Al-Qaeda leader and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks Ayman al-Zawahiri and days after China tested its hypersonic missile Dong Feng-17, claimed to be powerful enough to render all US missile systems in East Asia obsolete, to  ward off the possibility of her visit. Despite warnings from an enraged Beijing, Pelosi successfully landed on the Taiwanese tarmac marking a clear win for America. It is now China’s response that is being closely speculated.

Beijing has bitterly criticised the visit as a violation of its ‘One China Policy’ and the three communiqués agreed upon between China and the US. The Chinese Defense Ministry is said to be on high alert and preparing for “targeted military actions”. While tensions between the two simmer to the highest, a war is not likely to be on the cards for several reasons.

Both United States and China being nuclear powers would act as a deterrence for if a war erupts, there is no guarantee that nuclear weapons would not be used which would be unimaginably disastrous for not just the two but the region at large.

With their economies being closely intertwined, a war would prove to be highly disastrous specifically as both countries struggle to kickstart their economies after the recent surges of the Coronavirus. Military weakness is another concern for China. While its People’s Liberation Army is rapidly modernising towards the goal of becoming a ‘world class military’ by 2049 when Communist China turns 100, it lags behind the American military in both experience and technological prowess. If a war erupts, it is highly likely that China would lose, an embarrassment which would not just blot Xi Jinping’s legacy as he seeks a re-election at the upcoming 20th Party Congress but also threaten the legitimacy of the Communist Party rule.

However, the PLA possesses the capability of inflicting enough damages to make it a pyrrhic victory for the US which Washington would neither be interested in nor have the capability to sustain as reflected in the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The close occurence of al-Zawahiri’s killing and Pelosi’s visit speaks volumes about Biden’s goal of restoring Washington’s place as the global leader and enhancing his domestic approval ratings which had recently fallen down to 36%. A war with China involving heavy investments in terms of both human lives and material resources would dampen what he has managed to gain. Moreover, as the case of Russia shows, Washington’s allies such as South Korea might not come out in its support for  they have more to lose in a conflict with China than they had with Russia. Moscow too has promised to support Beijing if its claims over Taiwan are violated which would further complicate the matter. Even if Washington manages to minimise the damages and win, Beijing is likely to make the defeat a rallying point domestically and recuperate at some point to hit back. A war would thus not end the conflict.

Though Pelosi was escorted by American air force jets, she is neither associated with the Biden administration nor was  accompanied by any of his ministers which technically does not record as a state visit and hence does not result in a violation of the ‘One China Policy’. Her visit, though memorable for its boldness,is not a reason grave enough to call for war. 

Nevertheless, the upcoming 20th Party Congress would demand Xi to take a major action, for mere verbal attack would appear as a sign of weakness vis à vis Washington to his large nationalist domestic audience. Apart from diplomatic criticism and sanctioning Pelosi and American firms, China is likely to carry out a massive  psychological warfare where it would focus on elevating tensions to the brink while not letting a full fledged war erupt. Cyber attacks against Washington and Taipei are also likely. This might include naval operations near Taiwan, a more aggressive stance in the South China Sea, sending off fighter jets to violate Taiwanese airspace, continued and intensified scuffles with American allies such as Canada and Australia over patrolling jurisdictions in sea and air, imposing sanctions or writing off trade deals with American allies who come out in its support and even possible missile tests near Taiwanese territory as done in the 1995-96 crisis. Beijing is also likely to launch a more aggressive foreign policy against Washington where it might seek help from its allies and Washington’s adversaries- Russia, North Korea and Iran. Moreover, the risks of having to choose a side have gone up for many nations in the Indo-Pacific region and the option of maintaining neutrality might not come easily.

The whole episode appears to be a game of brinkmanship where the focus would be  on elevating tensions as a way of unsettling the other. Dialogue would be the only way to ensure a peaceful way out.

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