Chinese Perspective of U.S. Foreign Policies and the Aftermaths
Recent trends in China's diplomacy
For China's diplomacy, 2020 will be a groundbreaking year. According to official statistics, Chinese leaders have intensively carried out heads of state diplomacy, met and called 84 times with foreign leaders and heads of international organizations through innovative methods of "cloud diplomacy," and attended 22 important diplomatic events to build global consensus fight against the epidemic. Guide the direction of China's diplomacy.
These actions have demonstrated to the world the determination and will of China, which is plagued by the epidemic, in advancing global governance, implementing multilateral cooperation and mutually beneficial diplomacy. Simultaneously, in the context of the acceleration of significant changes unseen in a century, the policies of many countries in the world have also quietly changed.
Time Magazine's take on the Year 2020
This year is not as creepy as the fictional end of the world. In addition to the painful life, it is also maddeningly monotonous. Every day is against us. "On the latest issue of Time magazine in the United States, the year 2020 was drawn in black on a white background with a red cross, along with the words "This is the worst year" (THE WORST YEAR EVER).
This year, with the spread of the new crown epidemic, the whole world is the same, regardless of gender, nationality, ethnicity, and belief. The epidemic has rewritten human crises and disasters and changed our theoretical understanding and historical experience of world politics. As of December 19, 2020, the cumulative number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide has exceeded 76 million, and the cumulative death toll has surpassed 1.68 million.
Bridging the "two Americas" is not easy.
The 2020 U.S. presidential election has attracted global attention as never before. As presidential candidates, Trump and Biden respectively represent the upcoming "two Americas": one in the United States that pursues populism and anti-globalism, and arrogantly promotes bullying and unilateral protectionism; the other is the philosophy of "it is necessary to regain the role of the United States as an international leader." Although hegemonic, the United States is gentle and pays attention to international coordination.
As early as April, Trump announced that the United States would stop paying the World Health Organization (WHO) and refused to join the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) led by him. In May, Freud, a black American man, died due to police violent law enforcement. People continued to protest and demonstrate. When Trump made remarks on this incident, he stood from his political interests and did not mention a word about the problem's root cause. The wave of protests that have triggered has not subsided.
Now that the U.S. epidemic faces its third wave, the cumulative number of confirmed cases exceeds 17 million. Still, Trump has repeatedly emphasized in the election that the U.S. epidemic is over.
Even after Biden took center stage, it would not be easy to bridge the "two Americas." First, the solidification of the American social class today has become a fact. More than 40% of Americans are in the lower-middle-income group, and 10% of financial and technological tycoons account for 70% of American wealth. Second, Americans cannot agree on the direction of the country in the future. Should they choose Western-style welfare capitalism that increases taxes for the decadent or American liberal capitalism that continues to reduce taxes? Third, Americans have formed "identity politics." Their judgment of politicians is not based on their character and political achievements, but more on whether they are "like" themselves. Biden cannot change this kind of "identity politics" solidified by class differences. Fourth, the epidemic has brought tremendous shock and pressure to the U.S. economy.
Although Trump lost the election, what Biden has to face is "Trumpism," which profoundly impacts the United States. The most labeled policy of Trumpism is anti-globalization: it treats the world as a "scapegoat," thinking that the world has taken advantage of America's loopholes, stole American technology, and took advantage of American market opening. Trump blamed America's social and political problems on America's international role and returned to America's priority policy. This will further increase the international community's division and conflict, and the possible catastrophic transformation in the future is worrying.
The Communist Party does not just exercise operational control over these propaganda entities, but it has full editorial control over their content.— David Stilwell, Senior U.S. diplomat for East Asia
In the United States, one step away from a new Cold War.
The more divided the United States is, the more profound it's domestic problems will be, and the more it will continue to suppress China's established strategy. Since May 2020, Sino-US relations have been declining, reaching their lowest point since Nixon's visit to China in 1972, only one step away from the new Cold War.
In the past year, the United States has continuously strengthened its military activities against China. From March to May, U.S. naval warships carried out four operations in the South China Sea, which challenged China's sovereignty, and carried out two operations on July 14 and August 27. The frequency of U.S. military aircraft flying over the South China Sea was also There has been a significant increase, reaching 2,000 sorties in the first half of 2020; in July alone, two U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups conducted two exercises in the South China Sea. The United States has also established a NATO-like "four-nation alliance" with Japan, Australia, and India. It has strengthened strategic cooperation with the Chinese Taiwan authorities and even arms sales to Taiwan.
At the same time, Trump is thoroughly provoking an "ideological" confrontation with China. Since February this year, five Chinese media organizations in the United States were listed as "foreign missions" by the United States. In a teleconference with reporters, David Stilwell, the senior U.S. diplomat for East Asia, said, "The Communist Party does not just exercise operational control over these propaganda entities, but it has full editorial control over their content."
In June and October, 4 and 6 Chinese media organizations in the United States were listed as "foreign missions" respectively; On August 13, the Confucius Institute was designated by the U.S. State Department as a "foreign mission" because it "used Chinese government funds to engage in the external propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party."
One of the biggest reasons for the complete and confrontational qualitative change in Sino-U.S. relations in just a few months is Trump's character. He not only sees China as the target of the United States' failure to fight the epidemic but also Because of his indispensable personality, he must regard China as the target of "retaliation for the epidemic." The U.S. political hawks and the Trump administration's stance on China are relatively consistent. Based on stabilizing the U.S. hegemony, they want to take advantage of the epidemic to suppress China and prevent the outbreak from changing the balance of power between China and the U.S. in a direction that is beneficial to China.
It should be noted that no matter how fierce strategic competition there is in the current Sino-US relationship, both sides have a relationship of "continuous chaos and chaos" in the business, social, economic, security, political, and strategic fields. Therefore, we will look forward to the emergence of a U.S. leader who understands Sino-US relations and has a strategic perspective.
This is not to say that we have extravagant hope that Biden will bring considerable improvements to Sino-US relations. It can still get bilateral ties back to the track of dialogue, contact, and negotiation. After Bi came to power, although Sino-US links are unlikely to improve substantially in the short term, they can at least explore and find areas of cooperation far more feasible and credible than the Trump administration.
The global economic center of Asia's turn positive shift
Under the epidemic, China-EU relations have also been tested. In early June 2020, representatives of the Western multinational parliaments established the "Transnational Parliamentary Alliance for China Policy" to suppress China's commercial ties with these countries and market cooperation that should be normal and mutually beneficial.
In the trilateral relationship between China, the United States, and Europe, can the United States pull Europe to its side and establish a so-called anti-China alliance? This is simply impossible. Today's China-EU relations are extensive and close, with cooperation at all levels and in all fields. Although the China issue is controversial, the partnership between China and Europe is complicated for most European countries to give up. Under such circumstances, China needs to further clarify its position and attitude regarding Sino-US strategic competition.
The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) not long ago reflects the desire of Asian countries to strengthen economic and trade cooperation further. It also shows that a peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous Asia is the common aspiration of all Asian countries. RCEP is an agreement and commitment between the signatories. Although its implementation needs to be further discussed, it is a clear signal that the global economic center is shifting to Asia.
The Asian region is already one of the three major sectors of the global economy. Asian countries should have firm beliefs to promote further the process of regional economic integration in the region.
On November 20 not long ago, when Chinese leaders attended the 27th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting via video, they said: "China welcomes the completion of the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and will also actively Consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)."
This positive attitude has attracted significant attention from the world. As one of the essential multilateral mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific region, CPTPP has higher thresholds, more substantial tax cuts, and more significant market opening. In my opinion, China's statement has three implications: first, we are not sticking to this framework after signing the RCEP but are willing to expand regional cooperation further; second, the threshold of CPTPP is higher than that of RCEP, which shows that China is ready also to strengthen the reform of the domestic market mechanism and expand the degree of openness to foreign commodities. Third, to those Western countries that still refuse to recognize China as a market economy, the statement of joining the CPTPP is a clear answer.
China-Japan-Korea JointRemarkable anti-epidemic effect
What deserves attention in the past year is the cooperation between China, Japan, and South Korea during the epidemic. The new crown epidemic poses a significant threat to the economic growth of East Asia. Still, it also brings fresh impetus to countries to establish a regional cooperation mechanism for public health and safety and jointly respond to the new crown virus.
Since February of this year, China, Japan, and South Korea have not only exchanged the diagnosis and treatment experience of epidemic prevention and control and treatment of the new crown virus through video conferences or telephone conversations but also provided support and assistance within their capacity through free service, including giving medical masks, protective clothing and nucleic acids Testing kits and other scarce medical supplies. China, Japan, and South Korea have also carried out a series of anti-epidemic cooperation within the ASEAN "10+3 framework", such as establishing a China-Japan-Korea meeting of foreign ministers and the sharing of relevant medical and health data. China, Japan, and South Korea recognized the importance of uniting in the fight against the epidemic and quickly initiated regional cooperation, which became an influential driving force for promoting the local public health cooperation mechanism in East Asia.
In East Asia, North Korea has also been hit hard by the epidemic. At the military-civilian joint rally held in October this year, North Korea called for the "80-day battle" of epidemic prevention and control and post-disaster reconstruction.
It is clear that when Trump is about to step down, the North Korean nuclear issue is completely failing. Trump thought that the US-North Korea summit would persuade North Korea's top leader Kim Jong-un to give up atomic weapons following U.S. ideas. This became a significant failure of Trump's diplomacy.
In the future, the process of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula must be advanced step by step. First, the multilateral talks mechanism needs to be restarted. This is a measure that has been proven to be effective. For North Korea to commit to global denuclearization, other countries also need to give North Korea economic assistance and government encouragement. This will help further the reconciliation of inter-Korean relations. China can provide conditions for the resumption of active contacts, dialogue, and cooperation between the DPRK and the ROK.
In the past year, Japan's political situation has also undergone dramatic changes: the eight-year-old Abe regime is coming to an end. With the opening of the post-Abe era, the Yoshihide Suga government entered the public eye.
Sino-Japanese relations have also been a dramatic year. On the one hand, the Chinese people are very grateful to the Japanese people for providing medical supplies to China after the Wuhan outbreak. During the assistance process, the familiar phrase "Mountains and rivers are different, the sun and the moon are in the same sky" reminds us of the 2,000-year history of exchanges between China and Japan. It also draws closer the feelings of the people of the two countries. However, with the dispute over the maritime police ship in the Diaoyu Islands' waters, a new wave of "China threat theory" has emerged in Japan, and this territorial dispute is tearing the old wound of Sino-Japanese relations.
In late November, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid official visits to Japan and South Korea. During his visit to Japan, China and Japan reached five consensuses and six results, including the launch of the "fast track" for necessary personnel exchanges between the two countries; the launch of preparations for the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan in 2022; Air contact mechanism, direct telephone, etc.
Wang Yi's visit to South Korea also received significant attention and reached ten consensuses, including the launch of the China-South Korea diplomatic and security "2+2" dialogue and maritime affairs discussion; the launch of the "China-South Korea Year of Cultural Exchange" activities in 2021 and 2022. Prepare to commemorate the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between China and South Korea; reach an agreement on the second phase of the China-South Korea Free Trade Agreement as soon as possible.
During the visit, the Japanese and Korean governments made positive statements on promoting the early entry into force of RCEP and advancing the China-Japan-Korea Free Trade Agreement's negotiation process. The RCEP framework will encourage the acceleration of China-Japan-Korea FTA negotiations. It will help the long-term stability and peaceful development of Northeast Asia through shared prosperity.
The epidemic of Global Collaboration at speed
In fighting the epidemic, China has achieved substantial phased results and is one of the most outstanding countries. This is due to the governance mechanism with Chinese characteristics and its outstanding actionability, execution ability, and extensive organizational mobilization power from society.
But at the same time, the consequence of the epidemic on the international community is still evolving, and we must remain highly vigilant about this. In the future, it may form four stages of "shock effects": public health crisis, economic and people's livelihood crisis, social crisis, and political crisis that may appear in some countries. The current shock is in the first and second stages, and it is transitioning to the third stage, and the fourth stage has not yet appeared.
The epidemic has also brought two changes to the global economic landscape. First, the total poverty population in the world has rebounded. The fourth annual "Goal Guardian Report" recently released by the Gates Foundation shows that 37 million people worldwide are returning to extreme poverty. The number of this population has increased by 7% after experiencing 20 consecutive years of decline. Second, the game of significant powers under the epidemic will impact the global supply chain, industrial chain, and value chain. Once it continues to get out of control, the new confrontation will cause more intense fluctuations and turbulence in the world economy, and dealing with these needs global collaboration. On September 21, 2020, Chinese leaders called at the commemorative summit for the 75th anniversary of the United Nations' founding: "The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century. The sudden new crown pneumonia epidemic is a severe test for the world. Humankind has entered the Internet. In the new era of intercommunication, all countries' interests are closely related, and their destinies are closely linked. Global threats and challenges require a global response."
At the twelfth meeting of the Ball countries' leaders' interests, the Chinese leaders also emphasized in their speeches: "Using the epidemic to engage in de-globalization' will only harm the common parts of the country and other countries." It is necessary to "replace differences with unity, eliminate prejudice with rationality, and gather all countries' most fantastic synergy to fight the epidemic. Since the resumption of manufacturing, China has established "fast & green channels" for both goods and human resource exchanges to ensure the industrial and supply chain's stability and smooth function. These measures have helped to recover and develop the domestic economy and society.
China has joined the "Global Vaccine Action Plan," which actively promotes drug and vaccine research and development cooperation and international joint prevention and control, strengthens global public health governance, and encourages the construction of a human health community.
In the future, China should show a more low-key and pragmatic attitude so that the turbulent world that has been hit by the epidemic will deepen its understanding and expectations of us. This can also make U.S. allies realize that there will be a more profound demand and dependence on China's constructive role in the process of global stability, peace, and prosperity; for China's rise as a constraint on U.S. unilateralism, protectionism, and bullying The indispensable role of ism will be more empathetic.
Be alert to the concept of "Asian NATO."
When the United States launched various provocative acts against China, Australia also actively cooperated with the United States' anti-China policy and acted as a pawn.
In April 2020, Australia called for an independent international investigation into the origin and spread of the new crown epidemic; in July, it unilaterally announced the suspension of the Agreement on the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders signed with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and announced that it would invest an additional A$270 billion (approximately) in the next ten years. (US$190 billion) in defense, funding to develop long-range weapons and equipment, and enhance the ability to "fight against enemies" in the Asia-Pacific region.
The critical background for the escalation of the Sino-Australian conflict is that Australia wants to consolidate its military alliance with the United States and turn itself into a "Western-centrism" (Note: A western civilization that takes capitalist freedom, democracy, and human rights as its core values is the best of humankind Civilization and determine the development direction of human society) an essential member of the international order. Therefore, it has followed the United States diplomatically, and it has dealt a heavy blow to China-Australia relations.
However, Australia is facing a prosperous, diverse, and closely connected Asia-Pacific region. To improve relations with China, the Australian government needs to accept this fact, show sincerity and strategic vision, and contribute to the Asia-Pacific region.
The relationship between China and India this year is also regrettable. In mid-June 2020, fierce physical clashes occurred between the two sides in the Kalwan River Valley area on the China-India border, causing casualties. In early September, Chinese and Indian troops clashed near Pangong Lake, during which the first shooting incident occurred in 45 years.
Regarding the border issue, China and India's special representatives on the border issue have met 22 times. The two sides should have found a standard solution to the border conflict within the scope of political mutual trust and maneuverability. Still, the performance of New Delhi this time was disappointing. It overturned the consensus reached in the border negotiations between the two countries in the past 20 years, narrowly interpreting the Sino-Indian border issue as China's desire to expand the actual combat zone, disregarding the progress of the Sino-Indian negotiations in the past.
India's aggressive countermeasures on the border issue are directly related to the difficulty of controlling the domestic epidemic. The Modi government is a government with strong nationalist sentiment and wants to use the Sino-Indian border conflict to "shove the pot" to China. What makes people sad is that after the Sino-Indian border conflict, the Modi government failed to seek negotiation to ease the situation and instead adopted strict retaliatory measures at home.
By the end of 2020, India had blocked more than 200 Chinese mobile phone applications (APP) for four consecutive times on endangering national security, causing blows to many Chinese Internet companies going overseas. Today, India is full of prejudice and hatred against Chinese business people. They raised the threshold for foreign investors to invest in India and introduced relevant policies to no longer allow Chinese companies to participate in India's road construction. These policies adopted by India affect India's stability and development and leave a heavy shadow on future cooperation in Asia.
At the same time, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegan played up the threats of great powers at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum and stated that the U.S. intends to form an "Asian version of NATO" based on the "Quadruple Security Dialogue Mechanism" between the United States, Japan, India, and Australia.
In the past 20 years, the "Asian version of NATO" in the United States has been unable to progress substantially. After the outbreak, the U.S. government frantically suppressed China, and the geopolitical situation in Asia has become more complicated. This may revive the "Asian version of NATO." We need to be highly vigilant about this.
American strategic elites know that to establish an "Asian version of NATO," relevant countries in the region need to recognize the United States' rejection and a smear of China from the perspective of hegemonic protection. For a certain period, whether Secretary of State Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Esper, or National Security Affairs Assistant O'Brien, the principal Trump administration officials have done everything to "demonize" China. Australia, India, Japan, and other countries have also shown enthusiasm for escalating military security cooperation due to domestic nationalism or territorial disputes with China.
In recent years, the U.S. has openly pressured its Asian allies and security partners to blacklist Chinese investment companies and have them withdraw their investments in China on a large scale. These actions are intended to initiate the process of "de-sinicization" of the regional economy and serve the establishment of a multilateral alliance system centered on the United States.
But the United States made the wrong calculation. These allies are opposed to the new Sino-US Cold War and are unwilling to choose sides between China and the United States. Even more, countries do not want to cede economic and trade ties with China for the sake of security. The attempt to establish an "Asian version of NATO" severely undermines Asia's economic cooperation and will bring about a split between geopolitical and economic territory.