China’s foreign policy review 2021: An expert opinion
THE People’s Republic of China outperformed the West and especially the US in many fronts of engagements, conflicts resolution, peaceful persuasions of soft image projection and last but not the least cultural diplomacy in which its dynamic foreign ministry played very important role to mitigate false and fake propaganda of the US and its regional allies as well as international supporters. Foreign Ministry of China constantly defused unjust escalations of the US and the West alike through logic, wisdom and rational dissemination of facts. It successfully mitigated the Western paramount hoopla against its mega project of One Belt One Road Initiative (BRI) and even outclassed in case of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
It successfully countered corporate, technology, economic and social sanctions scenarios through pragmatic media projections. It even succeeded to disdain the West and the US on the issue of origin of COVID-19 virus, Beijing Winter Olympics boycott, Hong Kong democracy, Taiwan succession, Lithuania provocations, South China Sea demography, and last but not the least minorities issues. In addition to this it discredited the Western whoopla against so-called superiority of their democratic norms and rightly projected the unlimited blessings and socio-economic dividends of its socialist economy and people’s friendly governance.
Most recently, while delivering a keynote speech during the opening ceremony of a Beijing-based annual symposium on international relations, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi rigorously reviewed China’s diplomacy in 2021, and strongly defended China’s principled stance on various issues and termed it right side of history. Wang Yi shared that year 2021 opened a new window of opportunities which changed global crises into opportunities and steadfastly forged ahead through struggle as well as cooperation. The Chinese Foreign Minister appreciated President Xi Jinping diversified but integrated diplomatic efforts in terms of building a community with a shared future for mankind, leading role of the Chinese people and the CPC with remarkable feature to adapt to changes properly and keep breaking new ground. He showcased Chinese policy essence consisting of serve national rejuvenation amidst a complex situation and advance peaceful development in a fast-changing world.
Wang highlighted holistic anti-COVID policies of China during the pandemic which fulfilled the responsibility of a major country. He urged the international community to enhance cooperation against the pandemic. In this regard, China has set a good example of COVID response through a “dynamic zero-COVID” strategy as well as a good example of solidarity against the pandemic through greater international cooperation. With concrete actions, we have spearheaded the path to emerging from the darkest hour of the pandemic and kept moving forward, he added.
He termed current vaccine divide as the biggest impediment to ending the pandemic, with only five percent of the populationin low-income countries fully vaccinated. In this connection, President Xi Jinping has pledged another one billion doses of vaccines to Africa, including 600 million doses as donation, to support the African Union’s goal of vaccinating 60 percent of the African population. It has injected new impetus into economic recovery and created new opportunities for common development.
Wang highlighted Chinese development-oriented solutions and dedicated efforts toward more robust, green and balanced global development. President Xi Jinping has officially put forth a Global Development Initiative aimed at enhancing all people’s well-being and realizing all-round human development he added. The Chinese President prioritized the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and stressed the need to have cooperation on poverty reduction, food security, COVID response and vaccines, development financing, climate change, green development, industrialization, digital economy and connectivity.
While talking on China’s macro-economy, he shared that his country strongly boosted the global economic recovery. China has been actively participating in the World Trade Organization, the Boao Forum for Asia, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the China International Fair for Trade in Services and the China International Import Expo (CIIE) during which President Xi announced a series of new measures such as a shorter negative list, a more business-friendly environment and greater institutional opening-up, to open wider to the world and share China’s development opportunities with other countries thus China remained hope of the last resort for regional socio-economic integration and global recovery. On the other hand, world has been divided and swinging between true and false multilateralism, however, China held high the torch of true multilateralism, and firmly upheld the authority of the UN and a stable international order and thus instrumental to discourage unilateralism.
China and the United States have explored a new mode of interaction based on mutual respect and equality. Since the beginning of this year, President Xi Jinping has had two requested telephone conversations with President Joe Biden, and the two presidents also held their first virtual meeting recently. President Xi Jinping gave comprehensive exposition of China’s principled position on China-US relations. China and the European Union have overcome challenges and made new progress in their comprehensive strategic partnership. President Xi Jinping has attended two video summits with French and German leaders. A China-CEEC Summit has been held successfully via video link. The China-EU agreement on geographical indications has come into force. President Xi Jinping highlighted the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, spelt out four proposals for building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, and announced nine programs for cooperation with Africa.
Moreover, the strategic partnership between China and Arab states has scaled a new height. China has maintained close communication with Arab states at the leaders’ level, and had interactions with the entire Arab world at the foreign-minister level. In this connection, China has proposed a five-point initiative on achieving security and stability in the Middle East, a four-point proposal for the political settlement of the Syrian issue, and a three-point vision for the implementation of the two-state solution, contributing positive energy to peace and stability in the Middle East. To conclude, China tried to stop the Cold War mentality, provoking division, confrontation and creating blocs and advocated solidarity and cooperation for the common well-being of mankind, win-win cooperation, equality and respect.
Despite constant indoctrination of the US and the West, China stood on the right side of history and worked for human progress, international equity and justice and promoted befitting proposition for all the developing countries. Moreover, China choose cooperation over confrontation, coordination over contradiction, collaboration over conspiracy, openness over isolation, mutual benefit over zero-sum game and equality over power politics and bullying. China has selected the path of peaceful co-existence, concept of shared prosperity, socio-economic prosperity, socio-economic integration and greater regional connectivity.
This scribe highly appreciates China’s leading role in fighting COVID-19, fragile economic recovery, promoting multilateralism, multiculturalism, equitable international order, accountable global governance system, nurturing and supporting of South-South cooperation and safeguarding regional peace and stability. This scribe suggests that China should take all possible measures to ensure success of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, initiation of positive, productive and participatory steps to tackle challenges in the post-COVID era, implementation of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and expansion of deepened global partnership in the days to come.
—The writer is Director, Geopolitics/Economics, Regional geopolitical expert of China, CPEC & BRI.