Diplomacy. Xi Jinping dreams of a “lovable China”

The sentence is infinite. T-shirts, umbrellas, tote bags, water bottles, smartphone cases… and everything that capitalism counts on ephemeral. “The United States is not qualified to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength” : the award of the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yang Jiechi, sent to his US counterpart Antony Blink during their meeting in Alaska in March, is matched, on the various subjects, with a call for an end to interference in Chinese affairs.

The stiffness of the diplomat, known for his nationalist leanings, contrasts with the tone used last week by the president Xi Jinping. In front of the political bureau, he called on the leaders to reflect on China a more “Reliable, kind and respectable” so that she “(Widen) his circle of friends”.It must be said that neither the Covid-19, nor the trade war accompanied by unfriendly sentences from Donald Trump, nor the outings of the “warrior wolves”, these Chinese ambassadors who oscillate between aggressiveness and fake news, have contributed to making the China truly “Kind”.

So much so that, on both sides of the Pacific, the tensions arising from the battle for world leadership gave credence to the idea of ​​a climate of a new cold war forcing the rest of the countries to choose their camp. The situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, used at will by successive American administrations, and the strong territorial rivalries with its neighbors in the China Sea have completed the straining of relations. Finally, the emergence of demonstrators in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Burma under the banner of the “milk tea alliance” (1) expresses a growing criticism of the real or supposed influence of China or of its links with authoritarian governments. “It is necessary to make friends, to unite and gain the confidence of the majority and to continually expand the circle of our friends” , thus supported Xi Jinping before putting forward the idea of ​​a change in strategy.

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Haro on the new silk roads

Since 19 e Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress in 2017, it is time to assert power on the external scene. Far from the recommendations of former president Deng Xiaoping in 1991: “Let’s watch calmly, secure our positions, manage affairs with composure, hide our abilities and bide our time. “ The new Silk Roads, which contribute to China’s springboard and were presented as a win-win project, that is to say beneficial to the development of the countries crossed, are now accused of helping to increase the debt of Already fragile states and being the false nose of a certain neocolonialism.

Some countries, including Malaysia, have suspended the infrastructure program in recent years. A terrible blow for Beijing, which, after the Covid-19 crisis, needs more opportunities and growth drivers than ever. In this political battle, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not left out and has thus repeatedly fired red balls on Chinese land and sea routes. Because the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which finances the Silk Roads construction sites, was indeed thought of as an alternative instrument to the IMF, the World Bank and the world financial architecture dominated by Washington since the agreements. of Bretton Woods in 1944.

Encourage adherence to the “Chinese dream”

To ensure economic recovery and continued development, Xi Jinping now explains that his country must become “Open and sure (of himself), but also modest and humble in his communication with the outside world”. Moreover, the idea of ​​internal dissension cannot be ruled out before the 2022 congress.

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Initiated by the United States, the trade battle has certainly reinforced China’s thirst for technological self-sufficiency, but the counter-offensive it has generated has contributed to worsening worldwide. However, as the 100 e anniversary of the CCP in July and the Winter Olympics next year, for which there are increasing calls for boycott, Beijing has an interest in calming things down if it wants to pursue the “Chinese dream” and gain support . Clearly, gain influence through soft power and not just through investments.

In addition, remarks Wang Wen, dean of Renmin University of China, the leaders note that the misunderstandings related to the Chinese designs “Have had negative effects on fundamental interests”.To remedy this, China has for several years been investing in content-sharing agreements between national media, including the Xinhua news agency and the English-language daily. China Daily, and foreign organs. The Italian news agency Ansa publishes fifty Xinhua dispatches daily. The Chinese government is also promoting press trips for foreign journalists. And, ultimately, generate support and regain control of the story.

(1) The name refers to the way these territories drink tea, as opposed to China, which consumes it plain.

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