When you see an affable and smiling Xi Jinping meeting a tired Blinken — after all the
Secretary of State had been through six hours of negotiations — why is it that Xi gives one the distInct impression of a cat that has just gobbled the canary?
We are told of understandings and agreements to avoid any conflict between the superpowers, of future meetings at the highest levels to resolve issues that might arise. However, China withheld the contacts between the militaries that used to take place when problems arose. These were canceled by Biden after the Chinese spy balloon incident in February this year. So the game of one upmanship continues … like the dance of a pair of scorpions; they seek to measure each other up.
Biden is attempting to restrict the leak of sensitive technology except the leak is more in the nature of a flood. American companies like to take advantage of lower costs, and so if, for example, Apple manufactures cell phones in China, the Chinese naturally have access to some of Apple’s technology and methods.
China appears to be moving fast in several directions. Friendship with Iran means easier access to the Gulf. Through its old ally Pakistan and its excellent roads (courtesy of the US and its materiel needs during the Afghan war) its exports have a road link through Pakistan supplementing the laborious sea route down the Pacific and across the Indian ocean. From the modern Pakistan port of Gwadar, built by China needless to say, it has close access to the Arabian peninsula and the eastern seaboard of Africa. Remembering of course, that where goods go, arms can also flow thus supplementing economic influence with political leverage.
Mr. Xi Jinping has successfully managed China into a position where it is exceedingly well prepared for the world stage. For, in addition to all of the above, it has just signed an agreement with Russia that will bring the two even closer together.
And, of course, through Russia, China will have a road link to Europe avoiding the circuitous journey through several oceans and seas. Will that make its exports even more competitive and will Europe face another onslaught on its auto industry from Asia? A reminder that China is making a substantial investment in electric vehicles is a trifle unnecessary.
China’s horizon is global and as a member of BRICS, it has ties with Brazil, India and South Africa. And then there is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which embraces the four Central Asian countries plus Russia, India, Pakistan and China comprising the current eight members. That number is likely to increase to ten when the applications of Iran and Belarus, currently under consideration, are approved.
At the recent Foreign Ministers meetings (May 4, 5) of the SCO in Panaji, Goa designed to set the agenda for the July summit in New Delhi, the Chinese representative Qin Gang talked to the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers on the sidelines about the two countries settling their major differences . Both have been noticeably close-mouthed since. Imagine China playing peacemaker to two countries comprising almost a quarter of the world’s population.
And the US has been busy trying to set up India as a bulwark against China! Who is kidding whom? The answer is as usual … ‘Follow the money.’