Can Xi Jinping Assume Decade Long International Role?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 27, 2013
Summary: The first country Mainland Chinese President Xi Jinping visited upon taking office was Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin is only one year older than Xi Jinping. Putin's 11 year term largely overlaps Xi Jinping's 10 year term. Both men hope they can be long-term friends, and maintain long-term relations with Taipei.
Full text below:
The first country Mainland Chinese President Xi Jinping visited upon taking office was Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin is only one year older than Xi Jinping. Putin's 11 year term largely overlaps Xi Jinping's 10 year term. Both men hope they can be long-term friends, and maintain long-term relations with Taipei.
This trip is the start of a decade long interaction between Xi Jinping and Putin. It is Xi Jinping's first step as the leader of Mainland China's global diplomacy.
Moscow has concluded that the United States planned the color revolutions in neighboring countries. Beijing has concluded that the United States' return to Asia" is intended to contain China. Objectively speaking, Mainland China and Russia need an alliance. But a close relationship between Mainland China and Russia does not necessarily mean that Mainland China and Russia will become allies against a third country.
Mainland China and Russia have formed alliances in the past. They have also had confrontations. Neither were ideal. As Beijing has said, it will not form alliances with other countries. It will maintain an independent foreign policy. This is probably in the nation's best interest. Outsiders have speculated about a Sino-Russian alliance. But the PRC Foreign Ministry in Beijing has repeatedly stressed that relations between Mainland China and Russia do not constitute an alliance, and are not directed against any third country.
In recent years, Mainland China and Russia have adopted similar stances in the United Nations. They have often joined forces and vetoed motions from the United States. For example, they vetoed the sending of UN troops to Iraq and military intervention in Libya and Syria. But that does not mean that Mainland China is anti-American. Before Xi Jinping became general secretary, he paid an important visit to the United States. When he took over as President, his first meeting with foreign dignitaries was with the United States' Secretary of the Treasury.
Similarly, the joint statement by Mainland China and Russia states that the two parties firmly support each other's sovereignty, territorial integrity, security, and core interests. The highly sensitive Japanese media concluded that the Northern Territories issue between Japan and Russia and the Diaoyutai Islands issue between Japan and China motivated Mainland China and Russia to join forces against Japan. But Xi Jinping appointed Japanese expert Wang Yi as foreign minister. Also, the Japanese economic and trade delegation which recently visited Beijing was met by none other than Vice Chairman Li Yuanchao. Mainland China has reportedly invited Japan's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso to visit the Mainland. This too, appears to be a goodwill gesture.
Mainland China is not preparing to form an alliance with Russia at the moment. But inner attitudes often change in response to outer circumstances. If the United States truly attempts to contain Mainland China, the latter may be forced to form an alliance with Russia in response.
Since taking office, Xi Jinping has attempted to establish a new type of relationship between the major powers. This relationship would include something new, but also something old. The CCP 18th National Congress Political Report declared that Mainland China would "Never claim hegemony, never seek hegemony," It reaffirmed Deng Xiaoping's "Maintain a low profile, remain calm, never take the lead." foreign strategy. It continued the Mainland's past foreign policy. But the new international environment requires a flexible response. It requires increased international cooperation. It requires increased responsibility. In global emissions, arms exports, and the global financial crisis, the world looks to Beijing, as a major power, to assume greater responsibility. Beijing should expect the same of itself.
Xi Jinping will visit three African countries. Reportedly they will receive a great deal of aid, including 20 billion US over the next three years. This continues Mainland China's "Third World" foreign policy. Past investments in Africa led to charges that it was plundering Africa's natural resources. But the African countries welcomed Mainland China. Mainland China's policy is clearly different from past Western colonial policy. Just how should one assist other countries? Xi Jinping discussed this issue with other BRIC leaders in South Africa. The BRIC countries have become synonymous with emerging economies. They have the same voice in the G20 that G7 members have in the G7. The theme of the current summit is "BRIC-African Partnership." A dozen leaders from African countries will participate in the dialogue. Africa has long been diplomatically important to Beijing.
Cross-Strait relations are unique. Beijing's diplomacy has an impact on Taipei. The relationship between the United States, Mainland China, and Russia was a large triangle. The relationship between Mainland China, the US, and Taiwan was a small triangle. The large triangle imposed constraints on the small triangle. The United States and Mainland China once established diplomatic relations to counter the Soviet Union. Mainland China and Russia now appear to be countering the United States. Either way, their actions indirectly affect relations between Mainland China, the US, and Taiwan.
Xi Jinping will be in power for 10 years. During these 10 years, Mainland China will "maintain a low profile." It will be a mature player on the international stage. As Xi Jinping noted on the 23rd, in his speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, mankind is now a "You include me, I include you" community of interests. In an era of globalization, the world hopes Mainland China will assume global responsibilities and agree that national interests can coexist.
2013.03.27 04:14 am