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Moscow and Beijing are global partners

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The Chinese leader confirmed his readiness to develop close strategic relations with Russia. The conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping on December 30 was the fourth substantive meeting of the leaders of the two countries in 2022, which in itself speaks about the level of partnership. They spoke on the phone several times. No other country can boast of such an intensity of contacts with the Chinese leader. Rumors about these negotiations have been going around for a long time, there were many different assumptions and speculations, but even after they took place, the situation did not completely clear up. Communication took place via closed videoconferencing channels. For obvious reasons, the content is disclosed very limited. Earlier, Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov outlined the range of topics in an extremely lapidary way: bilateral relations, including economic ones. As well as acute problems that concern China and Russia, including the conflict in Ukraine. At the end of the talks Dmitry Peskov said: "The President expressed confidence that through joint efforts it will be possible to bring cooperation between the countries to a new, even higher level for the benefit of the Russian and Chinese peoples, in the interests of strengthening stability and security on the regional and global dimensions." At the beginning of the meeting, President Putin said in general terms that it was devoted to summarizing the work and plans for the further development of Russian-Chinese relations, as well as exchanging views on the most pressing international issues. It is noted that "in the conditions of increasing geopolitical tension, the importance of the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership as a stabilizing factor is increasing. Our relations stand up to all tests with dignity, demonstrate maturity and stability, continue to expand dynamically, are the best in history, and represent a model of cooperation between major powers in the XXI century." The Russian President noted the increase in the volume of trade between the two countries, the strengthening of military and military-technical cooperation and the restoration of humanitarian exchanges. The Chinese leader confirmed all this in his response, expressing his satisfaction with the development of multifaceted relations with Russia. A version is actively circulating that the leaders of the two countries also discussed in the closed part of the conversation what was contained in the message of the President of the Russian Federation, which was delivered to Beijing on December 21 by Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. According to Dmitry Peskov, the message of the President of the Russian Federation to the President of the People's Republic of China again concerned bilateral relations, the international situation and partnership between Russia and China. There were few specifics. "The parties checked their watches on a number of significant international issues, noting the broad coincidence of Moscow and Beijing's approaches to the most pressing world problems, touched upon the subject of strategic foreign policy coordination, including within the UN and other multilateral platforms, including the SCO, BRICS and the Group of Twenty. "The situation in the post–Soviet space, including the Ukrainian crisis, was discussed," the secretariat of the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation reported. It is hardly by chance that Medvedev's trip coincided with the voyage of the President of Ukraine to the United States. "While Zelensky is visiting Washington, Putin is sending an assistant to Beijing. The Kremlin spread the news about the visit to China just a couple of hours after the information about the Ukrainian president's trip to the United States was made public," the American edition of Politico noted. Chinese media reported about the talks of the leader of the People's Republic of China not with the deputy chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, but with the chairman of the United Russia Party, who came to China at the invitation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Which was quite true. Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Beijing precisely as the leader of the ruling United Russia party and was accompanied by a party delegation, which included, in particular, the Secretary of the General Council of United Russia, Vice Speaker of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation Andrey Turchak and the head of the United Russia faction in the State Duma Vladimir Vasiliev. And in this sense, Dmitry Medvedev and Xi Jinping met on equal terms – as leaders of the leading political forces in their countries. Commenting on the talks, Dmitry Medvedev noted that, among other things, they discussed issues of interaction "between the two ruling parties" – the CPC and United Russia. This is all the more curious, since leadership in inter-party cooperation with a neighbor previously seemed to belong to the Communist Party. But recently, a different track of negotiations has appeared here. After receiving the message, the Chinese leader said that China is ready to move closer to Russia for the sake of more equitable global governance, and assured that the development of the Sino-Russian partnership is a long-term strategic choice made by both sides. It's worth a lot. However, with one caveat. On the one hand, the Chinese side makes it clear that it would like an early cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, on the other hand, it expresses understanding of the origins of the conflict and Russia's concerns in the sphere of ensuring its security. President Putin has put the closeness of views in such a formula: "You and I have the same view on the causes, course and logic of the ongoing transformation of the global geopolitical landscape, in the face of unprecedented pressure and provocations from the West, we defend principled positions and defend not only our interests, but also all those who stand for a truly democratic world order and the right of countries to freely determine their fate." Xi Jinping replied in the affirmative: "In the face of a difficult and far from unambiguous international situation, we are ready to increase strategic cooperation with Russia, provide each other with development opportunities, and be global partners for the benefit of the peoples of our countries and in the interests of stability throughout the world." The result is as follows. It is obvious that all attempts by the West to drive a wedge between Russia and China, to drag China "to the right side of history" have failed. And at the meeting, the leader of the People's Republic of China once again confirmed his principled position of support for Russia. Over the past year, Beijing has never voted for an anti-Russian resolution at the UN. The foreign ministries of the two countries continue to coordinate the policies of the two countries in the international arena. Cooperation has intensified within the framework of international organizations – BRICS, SCO, as well as the integration of the "One Belt, One Road" and Eurasian integration projects. The day before, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi scolded U.S. Secretary of State Blinken by phone, who tried to inquire about the content of President Xi's conversations with Dmitry Medvedev and made hints about Sino-Russian relations. And this is despite numerous warnings that this does not concern anyone except Russia and China, and even the United States – the global controller – is the third extra here. The strategic partnership between Russia and China also has an increasing military component. As the official representative of the Ministry of Defense of the People's Republic of China Tan Kefei stated on December 29, the Sino-Russian naval exercises of the fleets of the two countries held in the Far East in December 2022 "further deepened the comprehensive strategic cooperation between China and Russia in a new era." "The navies of both countries have demonstrated the determination and ability of China and Russia to strengthen the joint response to threats to maritime security, as well as to maintain peace and stability at the international and regional levels," Tan Kefei said. He also stressed that the exercises "further deepened the comprehensive strategic cooperation between China and Russia in a new era." By the way, this is already the 78th joint military exercises, which have become more frequent since 2014. That is, there is absolutely obvious progress in relations between Russia and China, even despite the military actions in Ukraine. There is also a fairly noticeable increase in trade turnover, which this year will be a record. However, this growth, still calculated in US dollars, is partly due to rising energy prices, as well as due to Russian exports to China. Chinese supplies to Russia so far leave much to be desired, especially in terms of high-tech products, in which Russia is interested after the departure of Western companies and the cessation of imports from unfriendly countries. Maybe the leaders of the two countries talked about this, too? Nevertheless, this year's trade turnover will probably amount to at least 180 billion dollars. And maybe more. That is, for the second year in a row, it has increased by a third, and, apparently, the task set by the leaders of the two countries – to reach the $ 200 billion mark in 2024 – will be successfully completed and even exceeded. The turn to the East took place completely. Although at the moment there are bottlenecks in the development of trade. In particular, problems with the transportation of goods, which, according to Chinese Ambassador Zhang Hanhui, arise, among other things, due to bureaucratic delays on the Chinese side. Sometimes these obstacles can be removed only during contacts at the highest level. Probably, this topic could also be raised by the President of Russia. Of course, we are still a long way from the United States, which trades with China annually for $ 750 billion. But in the wake of the deterioration of political relations, mutual criticism and sanctions, the growth in the volume of Sino-American trade in the first seven months of this year amounted to 9.5%, that is, the growth rate is inferior to the Russian-Chinese, and there is a tendency to strengthen this dynamic. But shouldn't we take a step back and look at the situation from a certain historical perspective? "Ten years have passed since President Xi Jinping was elected General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and President Putin was re-elected President of Russia. Over these ten years, socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, and Sino-Russian relations have also entered a new era." It is obvious that now we can sum up the results of the decade during which Russia and China radically converged and moved away from the undivided orientation of the two countries to the West. It is worth remembering that the first foreign country visited by Xi Jinping after taking office as President of the People's Republic of China was Russia (2013). In his speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Xi Jinping for the first time proposed to the world the concept of a "Community of the common Destiny of Mankind", presenting China's plan to cope with changes in the world. This was, in fact, the starting point of changing the vector of China's foreign policy. Over the decade, President Xi Jinping and President Putin have held about 40 detailed meetings, and their contacts by phone and correspondence have exceeded a hundred. The frequency, breadth, and depth of their interaction are unique for the leaders of major powers. This has determined a high level of political mutual trust, the dynamics of strategic cooperation, and the development of relations in all spheres. As a result, the volume of trade between the two countries has doubled from $88.16 billion in 2012. We sometimes predict that in the coming years China will completely sever its relations with the United States and reorient itself to Russia. Of course, China will not do this, it is governed by pragmatists, proceeding primarily from national interests. But Beijing will objectively push the US foreign policy, the general course of development of global processes. The deep contradictions between China and the United States, with all the versatility and depth of their relations, will increase, and this is already happening. The sanctions war, political and military pressure on China are forcing Beijing to reconsider its approaches in the field of foreign policy. Here, a reliable partnership with Russia will be of increasing importance for China. It is difficult to expect that in the coming years Russia will be able to replace the United States as one of China's main economic partners. But nevertheless the trend is on the face. Along with the reorientation to its own forces, to interaction with the countries of the "One Way", China will expand trade and economic relations with our country. The question here is even more, what can we offer our neighbor besides hydrocarbons and raw materials? During the meeting on December 30, an agreement was reached on the state visit of the President of the People's Republic of China to Russia, which is to take place in the spring. "This will demonstrate to the whole world the strength of Russian-Chinese ties on key issues, will become the main political event of the year in bilateral relations," the Russian president said on this occasion. It can be added that the upcoming visit will open a new decade of deepening and expanding Russian-Chinese cooperation. As the Chinese say, relations are in a "new era".

Beijing will get oil and a new level of relations with the Arab world

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The official visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia is taking place on December 7-9. The trip goes far beyond the framework of bilateral relations. "At the kind invitation of the custodian of the two shrines (Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – Ed.), the President of the People's Republic of China will pay an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from December 7 to 9, 2022," the Saudi state news agency SPA said. It is reported that during this visit, a Saudi-Chinese summit will be held under the chairmanship of the leaders of the two countries. It is characteristic that this message appeared only on December 6, literally on the eve of the Chinese leader's arrival in the UAE. On the same day, the Chinese Foreign Ministry officially notified about the planned visit.  CNN, which "knows everything and about everyone," notified the world about this visit only on December 5. It is possible that the dates were kept secret until the last moment. And this is not surprising. The Chinese leader's trip was postponed several times and, apparently, carefully coordinated. It is possible that one of the reasons is the pressure on Riyadh and the entire Arab world from the United States, which actively put sticks in the wheels. Washington can be understood. After all, we are talking about the visit of the Chinese president to a country that was previously a key ally of the United States in the Middle East and led the entire Arab world into the "hedgehog embrace" of the United States. Now it's not like that. "Chinese President Xi Jinping intends to arrive in Saudi Arabia on a state visit amid high tensions between the United States and the two countries," CNN regretfully reports. – Xi Jinping's trip to Riyadh will begin on Wednesday and will include the "Saudi-Chinese summit", the Sino-Arab summit and the China-GCC (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Persian Gulf) summit. At least 14 Arab heads of state are expected to attend the Sino-Arab summit, according to an Arab diplomatic source, who called the trip a "milestone" for Arab-Chinese relations."  Some experts have already dubbed the visit historic. Perhaps it is. At least, we are talking not only about bringing Saudi-Chinese relations to a new level, but about a new stage of cooperation between China and the entire Arab world. The source of the US headache is obvious. "Reports of the long-awaited visit come amid disagreements between the United States and Beijing, as well as between the United States and Riyadh, and relations between China and the UAE have only strengthened in recent years, to the horror of Washington," CNN writes. – The United States and Saudi Arabia are still embroiled in a heated quarrel over oil production, which in October ended with harsh rhetoric and trade accusations, when the Saudi-led OPEC+ oil cartel cut production by two million barrels per day in an attempt to "stabilize" prices. The decision was made despite an active US campaign against him. Being a strong ally of the United States for eight long decades, Saudi Arabia has become embittered because, in its opinion, the US security presence in the region is weakening, especially against the background of growing threats from Iran and its armed Yemeni proxies." It is symptomatic that the Saudi agency SPA gave a "historical report" on 80 years of strengthening relations with China. Beijing now has close ties not only with the UAE, but also with the absolute majority of the 22 countries of the Arab League, regardless of their political system and ideological orientation. Huge foreign trade turnover is complemented by Chinese investments in infrastructure facilities in the region. And for oil, China can already offer not only a high price, but also advanced technologies, including military ones. On the contrary, all of President Biden's attempts to save US-UAE relations, including his summer visit to Riyadh, were unsuccessful. The carrot and stick policy did not work. Moreover, Saudi Arabia, like China, refrained from approving sanctions against Russia, and Riyadh has repeatedly argued that Moscow is a key partner in energy production, which should be consulted on OPEC+ decisions. After the massive reduction in oil prices last month, some US officials accused Saudi Arabia of siding with Russia and helping President Putin in his special operation against Ukraine. So, 80 years of cloudless relations between the UAE and the United States are coming to an end, and with China, on the contrary, they are reaching a strategic level. Moreover, taking into account the PRC-Arab League summit and the participation of numerous Arab leaders, it seems that we are talking not only about oil prices and the stability of its supplies, but about a new format of relations and the new role of the PRC in the region. This will most likely be fixed in the relevant documents. As for purely oil, even here, according to leaks and forecasts, something epoch-making is expected, for example, the rejection of the dollar in calculations. China is a world leader in the introduction of digital currency and blockchain settlement system. His People's Bank (Central Bank – approx. Auth.) succeeded in promoting the digital yuan much more than the leaders of the Western financial world in promoting the digital dollar. So it may be extremely interesting to the Arabs in an era of international turbulence and trade restrictions. Russia may also be interested in all this. Our country shares first or second place with the Saudis in terms of oil supplies to China. Stability in this market, in which China's position is strengthening and the United States is weakening, is also in our interests. There will be less politics and military provocations to manipulate prices. Well, as for the displacement of the dollar from the system of payments for oil, there is nothing to say. Beijing's position on Arab countries is close to Russia's on many points. China does not pretend to be the gendarme of the region, which was performed by the United States. But the growing influence of the PRC in the Arab world will contribute to strengthening the economic independence of this region, closer political interaction in the realization of their interests in spite of the United States. Of course, the United States will not leave the region. Their numerous military bases, close ties with many countries, and dependence on supplies from the United States, including the military, remain there. But the process went much faster than could have been expected.

Gaps in the Great Anti-Chinese Wall

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The visit of the German Chancellor to China is just one of the evidences of the strengthening of Beijing and the fallacy of US policy. Olaf Scholz's trip to China caused outright irritation in the United States. The media space controlled by the Americans is full of cartoons in which Scholz goes to bow to the "Chinese emperor" or crawls half-bent like a dog to his "Chinese master". The press writes: the visit outlined a clear split in the ranks of the "anti-totalitarian" Western coalition. They assure that the Chinese leadership will not fail to take full advantage of it. The authoritative Chinese newspaper "Huangqiu Shibao" on this occasion noted: "Of course, this is definitely not the scheme of Sino-European relations that the United States wants to see, stuck in a vicious circle of containing China." According to the publication, before Scholz's visit to China, the hype in Germany around Chinese companies acquiring shares in the terminal in the port of Hamburg "undoubtedly brought "sinophobia" (not to be confused with "Russophobia" – approx. the author) to a new climax." "In Germany, the system of Sino-German cooperation and strategic partnership carefully built up over generations has become an "original sin." Speaking about Sino-German cooperation, some politicians are forced to call it a "threat to national security," writes Huanqiu Shibao. The wave of indignation in Europe is summed up by the French Le Figaro, which claims that the allies criticized German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for "acting contrary to the common European line." The author of the article is sure that "Berlin's policy towards Beijing can be successful only in one case if it is combined with the European one." In France, the visit of the German Chancellor caused particular offense due to the fact that the Chancellor personally refused to take President Macron with him to China, although in 2019, the French president, receiving Xi Jinping at the Elysee Palace, invited then German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to a meeting. But those were different times… Scholz, as if justifying himself, published an article in the American edition of Politico, in which he explains, among other things, that his trip to China is inaugural – the first after Xi Jinping's re-election to the post of CPC Secretary General, and is also timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of German-Chinese diplomatic relations. What does it have to do with Macron, they say? But the split, apparently, is still there. Germany, cut off from Russian energy resources and the Russian market, does not want to die quietly, putting ideology and politics ahead of economic interests, repeating a similar "circumcision" with China. This reluctance is evidenced by the numerous team of German business captains who accompanied Scholz in Beijing. It is characteristic that the visit was undertaken despite the shouts from Washington and the continuation of the US sanctions war against China. As you know, since mid-October, the Biden administration has actually banned trade with China in advanced semiconductor technologies, equipment for the production of microchips. A ban was also imposed on US citizens and green card holders to work with Chinese companies in this area. Commenting on these measures, the American press wrote that "overnight, the Chinese microchip industry was torn to shreds," and President Biden inflicted such damage on the Chinese economy as the customs and tariff war unleashed by his predecessor Trump did not cause. However, since then there has been no horrifying information about the mass flight of American top managers from Chinese high-tech companies. Although the American media claimed that at least 43 senior managers in 16 Chinese semiconductor companies holding positions from CEO to vice president are from the United States. Almost all of them moved to the Chinese chip industry after several years of working in Silicon Valley for American chip manufacturers or semiconductor equipment manufacturers. This was the result of purposeful actions of the Chinese leadership to attract foreign highly qualified specialists who received high salaries and ample opportunities for implementation in China. Some of them were attracted by such Chinese initiatives as the national program "Thousand Talents", which was put into effect by the Chinese government back in 2008. There is no data on the "collapse" of the Chinese semiconductor industry due to the ban on exports from the United States. Firstly, because besides the USA there are other leaders in this industry, in particular, the Netherlands and Japan. For example, chip manufacturing equipment currently accounts for more than 4% of Japan's total exports. Of these, about 970 billion yen is accounted for in China, equipment exports to China have grown by more than 600% over the decade. Will the Japanese agree to lose profits easily? There is also Taiwan, whose natives are happy to work in their historical homeland. In addition, the light did not come together with a wedge on American specialists. Some of them, under the threat of losing their citizenship, biting their elbows, will decide to quit a high-paying job, but techies from other countries and Chinese specialists will come to these places. The choice is this: with US citizenship, but without money and work. So far, there is no data on mass flight from China. In China, over half a million people work in this industry, many of whom studied in the West, but have been working in China for a long time, using the acquired knowledge and experience. A huge high-tech industry has been created in China, which is able to develop independently. Since 2014, 110 manufacturing associations producing semiconductor products have been opened in China. Now 38 more factories are being built. In 2020 alone, 22,800 startups were created in China that have some kind of relation to the semiconductor industry. So the measures taken by Biden are somewhat late. China has been preparing for their introduction for a long time. Now, according to the same Western media, the Chinese leadership is preparing additional answers. One of the steps is the creation of private–state enterprises, the entry of the state into the shareholders of private companies operating in this strategic area. For control and additional investment, if necessary. So American assessments of China are far from ideal, and actions to contain the PRC are unlikely to be as effective as they are presented in the West, and will achieve their goals. But they contribute to the consolidation of Chinese society, the growth of anti-Western sentiments, strengthen the determination of the Chinese people to prevent the humiliations that had to be accepted from the West in previous centuries and to give a worthy rebuff. This, by the way, also concerns the problem of Taiwan. Betting only on confrontation instead of the civilized competition offered by China can play a cruel joke with the United States and its allies. In the West, it is mistakenly believed that the re-election of Xi Jinping leads to the degradation of power and management systems in the PRC. Based on the ideas of democracy, again in its Western sense, they believe that Comrade Xi, as has already happened in China and other countries, will be mired in a cult of personality and will not be able to govern the country, and the PRC will slow down and rot. In general, this is an old song about China's "braking" in new ways. In fact, a strong leader, exposed to great powers and the trust of society, will be able to take such steps that no Western democracy is capable of. In addition, there will be no cult of personality in the previous sense. But it's not just about Xi Jinping. In the coming years, China expects an explosive effect from the huge investments that were made in previous decades in physical infrastructure and human capital. China is on the verge of a rapid flourishing of talents in science and technology, where huge investments have also been made. Since 2019, China has been conducting more research and development than the United States and Europe combined, and spending more money on it. A higher percentage of Chinese studies ranked among the top 1% of articles by citation in the world. China has long registered the largest number of patents in the world. Comparisons with the USSR of the 60s-70s are appropriate here, when investments in economic recovery, the creation of a modern industry affected, as a result, a breakthrough into space, an atomic project and rapid economic development took place. But these are not the last trump cards of the PRC in the confrontation that the Americans impose on the country. In general, the US trade restrictions on China are also late. On January 1, 2022, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's largest free trade agreement, began operating. It includes ASEAN (the first Chinese trading partner – Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines), as well as 5 states with which ASEAN has already signed free trade agreements (Australia, China, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and Japan). that it is not the US, but China that will soon determine the rules, open or close markets. And there is also the Chinese formula of "two circulations", which is mysterious for foreigners – a combination of domestic and foreign markets with an emphasis on the first. It led to the rapid growth of China's retail market, which increased from $2.3 trillion (much less than $3.9 trillion in America) in 2010 to $6 trillion in 2020 (exceeding $5.6 trillion in the United States). China has become a self-sufficient country, where sellers, investors, specialists, and capitals strive. So efforts to contain China will have the opposite effect. Perhaps Chancellor Scholz, going to Beijing, realized this. It is possible that he wants to try to adhere to the policy of "equal distance" from Washington and Beijing. And although it is too early to talk about a split in the Western coalition, as well as about the formation of the Beijing-Moscow-Berlin axis, it is nevertheless obvious that the rivalry between the United States and China is reaching a new level, and Washington's positions here are not as firm as it seems to him.

When will the "Pakistani stream" flow?

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text Moscow and Islamabad, despite the machinations of the West, are putting pressure on gas. Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif recently rushed to Beijing. He became the second foreign guest (after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz) who met with President Xi Jinping at the end of the Twentieth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. They agreed that China and Pakistan "will further strengthen communication, coordination and cooperation on regional and international affairs, defend true multilateralism, international honesty and justice, and contribute to the promotion of peace, development and prosperity." "The two countries have supported each other in recent years amid unstable changes in the international landscape, demonstrating their iron friendship," Xi added. Among other important issues, the negotiators discussed the "Afghan case". Pakistan is looking for a common language with the Taliban* in order to open a vital path for economic (and, first of all, energy) cooperation with Russia and the countries of Central Asia. This year Islamabad finally managed to establish a relatively stable transport corridor in this direction, through which Pakistani trucks were able to deliver hundreds of tons of cargo to our country. However, the Taliban do not control the whole of Afghanistan. In the north, the Uzbek-Tajik opposition, supported by the West, dominates, in the south and in a number of central regions, the influence of Daesh is still strong*. Islamabad's plan is to attract to this project such a key player as China, which has a special influence not only on the Taliban, but also on other Afghan players. And who is able to change the rules of the game in the region, giving guarantees of the safety of this transport artery. In this case, Pakistan will be able to safely proceed with the implementation of the "Pakistan Stream", through which Russian gas, so necessary for this country, will flow. It is noteworthy that Prime Minister Sharif decided to leave the country for a meeting with the Chinese leader at an alarming time – after the assassination attempt on his predecessor and political opponent Imran Khan, who in April of this year was given a vote of no confidence for the first time in Pakistani history. A few days ago, ex-Prime Minister Khan was seriously injured in both legs after the car he was in was fired at a protest march of his party demanding early elections. In total, seven people were injured and one killed as a result of the attack. Its participants planned to reach Islamabad from Lahore by November 11. After the assassination attempt on Khan, they said they would continue the action. By the way, such crimes, when scores are settled with undesirable politicians by force, are in the order of things in Pakistan. In 1996, Benazir Bhutto, the first female prime minister of this Muslim country, was killed at a rally of supporters. Her predecessor, Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, also did not die a natural death: the plane he was on board lost control as a result of the terrorist attack and crashed to the ground. However, let's return to Imran Khan, who has not left us yet. He underwent surgery, doctors assess his condition as stable. So, his official visit to Moscow as acting prime Minister fell on February 23-24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a special military operation in Ukraine. The guest not only refused to negotiate, but also defiantly laid flowers at the grave of the Unknown Soldier at the Kremlin Wall. It turned out that the speech in the Russian capital was just about the construction of the "Pakistani Stream". At that time, this topic was not officially advertised, since there were many "pitfalls" (not least Western sanctions against the Russian Federation) that prevented the implementation of this extremely important project for both participants. What is the loud statement of US President John Biden, who called nuclear-armed Russia and Pakistan "the most dangerous countries in the world". Khan, by the way, after his resignation, directly accused Washington of plotting to overthrow his government, calling on the Pakistani people to revolt against the United States. I will especially note that a vote of no confidence was announced to him shortly after his trip to Moscow. Fusing together? We still have to figure out where he "flew" from. The arrest of one of the attackers is reported. He claims that he acted alone, at the behest of his heart. Agree that it is hard to believe in this. Now about the "Pakistani Stream", which is being looked at with curiosity in the East and with irritation across the ocean. This is a "remake" of the American project of Unocal, which in the mid–1990s was going to build a gas pipeline from Central Asia to Pakistan, and then to Mumbai (India). But then the United States recklessly introduced its troops into Afghanistan in 2001 and had to forget about the implementation of the project. Later it reappeared, but as a Russian one. In 2015, the governments of Russia and Pakistan signed an agreement on the construction of a gas pipeline. It was planned that our side would own a controlling stake, assume 85% of the costs and manage it for 25 years. For information: the projected capacity of the "Stream" is 12.4 billion cubic meters per year with the possibility of increasing to 16 billion cubic meters. The approximate cost is 2-2.5 billion dollars. In November 2020, Moscow and Islamabad revised the terms of the agreement. The share of Pakistani companies increased to 74%, while Russian companies decreased accordingly. In short: everyone seemed to be in favor, but the process progressed very slowly. The Pakistanis were clearly in no hurry to implement the project. The country lived off imports of liquefied natural gas, but recently suppliers broke long-term contracts and sent LNG to Europe, ready to pay any money for energy. Guard! And that's when President Putin took up the case. The Russian leader has already communicated with Pakistani prime ministers three times this year: in addition to the February meeting with Khan, in September he met Sharif twice (in Samarkand "on the sidelines" of the SCO summit, and then in Astana, where the VI summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence–building Measures in Asia was held. And everywhere the main theme was "The Pakistani stream". The result is as follows: a few days ago, the Pakistani Ambassador in Moscow Shafqat Ali said that "the implementation of the project (read – the beginning of construction. – Ed.) may begin next year." Looks like the ice has broken. * Terrorist organizations banned in the Russian Federation.

Violent games in Korea. For what and against whom?

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The US is provoking Pyongyang again, preparing the "death of the regime". On November 4, all Western and non-Western news agencies reported that the DPRK had lifted into the air about 180 military aircraft that were conducting maneuvers near the border with South Korea. South Korea, of course, reacted immediately – about 80 combat aircraft, including F-35 stealth aircraft, took off on alarm. Another round of high tension on the Korean peninsula has taken place. Now that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, this is fraught with unpredictable consequences. And near the borders of Russia. At the same time, in the West, of course, few people ask the question: what forces Pyongyang to conduct such military activity and what goal are the North Koreans pursuing at the same time? Meanwhile, the restoration of the chronology of events makes it easy to answer this question and explain the "inexplicable and unprovoked" actions of the DPRK. In particular, the demonstration of the capabilities of the North Korean air force on the night of November 4 is a response to the next large-scale US–South Korean maneuvers in close proximity to the borders of the DPRK. By the way, Pyongyang warned in advance that it could take decisive measures in response to the exercises. About 240 aircraft were simultaneously involved in these American-South Korean games under the conditional name "Vigilant Storm". Including 140 aircraft of the South Korean Air Force: F-35A, F-15K, KF-16 fighters, KC-330 tanker aircraft. On the American side – about a hundred aircraft, including F-35B fighters, EA-18 electronic intelligence aircraft, U-2 spy plane. For the first time, an Australian Air Force KC-30A tanker aircraft and an F-35B stealth fighter from Iwakuni Air Base in Japan were connected to the exercises in South Korea. On the ground, units of the Marines and ground forces of the United States and the Republic of Korea participated in the maneuvers. Moreover, the scenario of these exercises openly involves practicing strikes on decision-making centers in the DPRK and destroying infrastructure. And against this background, statements are being made from Washington and Seoul that they are preparing the death of the North Korean regime. Isn't this a blatant provocation and a direct threat that requires a reaction? By the way, 10-11 large-scale military exercises are held annually near the borders of the DPRK, which are directed against this country. One of them, held this year, which is literally called the "Butcher's Knife", was aimed at working out the destruction of the top military and political leadership of the DPRK. The logic of the United States and its allies in the region is as follows: the military exercises they conduct are "good", they should not be afraid, even if at any moment they can escalate into hostilities. We must sit quietly and wait for missiles and bombs to fall on Pyongyang, without even declaring an air alert. But the North Koreans are not ready to die quietly, so they demonstrate their determination to fight back against the aggressor and their readiness to defend their country with all available means. In particular, they are rehearsing an air force response. In the West, in turn, they say that they are forced to allegedly respond to North Korean missile launches and even a possible nuclear weapons test. But again, Pyongyang's actions are provoked by the inability of the United States and its allies and their veiled desire to hide their aggressive plans. After talks between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in 2018, Pyongyang unilaterally refused to test nuclear weapons and their means of delivery in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions and the "new policy" of the United States towards the DPRK, the rejection of hostility. North Korea has even destroyed its nuclear warhead test site. But in fact, it turned out to be another American trick, the purpose of which was unilateral disarmament on the part of the DPRK. There has been no lifting of sanctions, as well as changes in Washington's attitude towards Pyongyang. The United States continued to equip South Korea with modern weapons and conduct large-scale military exercises near the borders of the DPRK, preparing for the physical elimination of the North Korean regime. During this period, new sanctions were also imposed against the DPRK (about 20). This once again showed Pyongyang (and those in the world who are able to reflect) that it is impossible to trust the leaders of the United States and South Korea, and the only way to protect the country or at least raise the threshold for aggression is to possess nuclear weapons and their means of delivery to the United States. This explains the frequent test launches of North Korean missiles in recent years, which usually coincide in time with the military maneuvers of the United States and its allies or are carried out in response to other unfriendly actions. It should be noted that the United States has repeatedly "thrown" Pyongyang, not fulfilling its obligations given during the negotiations. The North Korean nuclear weapons program itself arose at the end of the last century after the refusal of the next American administration from the so-called nuclear deal, according to which the United States pledged to build nuclear power plants in the DPRK. And also after Washington's refusal to withdraw nuclear weapons from the south of the Korean peninsula and give security guarantees to the DPRK. Do not forget that formally the DPRK and the United States are at war, the hot phase of which was on the Korean peninsula in 1950-1953. A few years ago, due to the hostile actions of the United States, as well as the refusal to sign a peace treaty, the DPRK announced that it did not consider itself bound even by a temporary armistice agreement. And why, if the United States does not withdraw its 30,000-strong military contingent from the south of the peninsula (possibly with nuclear warheads) and constantly conducts military maneuvers near the borders, threatening to eliminate the North Korean regime? After another escalation of tension caused by the US-South Korean "Vigilant Storm" maneuvers, on November 4, Washington invited Pyongyang to sit down at the negotiating table without any preconditions and discuss the nuclear-free status of the Korean peninsula. But this is nothing but a return to the well-forgotten old. And it is unlikely that the DPRK will accept such a proposal, which means the unilateral disarmament of the republic in the face of an impudent aggressor. Pyongyang remembers well how the flirtation with the West of such leaders as Gaddafi in Libya and Hussein in Iraq ended. And their own experience of communicating with the United States speaks of the insidiousness and incompetence of Washington, which understands only the language of force. In this situation, we can regretfully recall that Russia in previous years supported almost all the sanctions against the DPRK that were imposed by the UN. Thus, for the first time, our relations with a country with which Russia has an Agreement on friendship and cooperation were under international (and in fact – American) control. We have to account for every unit of goods delivered to the DPRK. Speaking out against the DPRK on international platforms, Russia was actually speaking out against its natural ally, a country created with our direct participation. In addition, we must also be aware that if the DPRK had not stood up against the United States in this endless war, which has lasted for more than 70 years, American troops would already be standing on the current border of the DPRK with Russia (albeit not very long). Now we ourselves have found ourselves under sanctions and have fully experienced the treachery and hypocrisy of the Western allies, who have actually unleashed a war against Russia. The DPRK leadership, in response to President Putin's congratulatory telegram on the day of the liberation of Korea from Japanese invaders on August 15, stated that this country and Russia are now on the same side of the front in the fight "against the military threat, provocations and self-will on the part of hostile forces." Recently, we have increasingly heard statements about the need to restore trade relations with the DPRK, despite all the sanctions imposed against this country. Not so long ago, a decision was made to resume railway communication with Pyongyang. Russia is taking cautious steps towards the DPRK. But what exactly needs to be done is to stop replicating Western assessments of this country and its actions in our media space. After all, we are talking about our natural ally, albeit a rather peculiar one. Everything that is being done against the DPRK is ultimately being done against Russia and China.

The twentieth CPC Congress: will global challenges affect the country?

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text It will be possible to draw conclusions about the decisions of the twentieth CPC Congress only after the elections of the Central Committee, the Politburo, the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee and the publication of the full texts of the forum documents. All this will happen after the end of the congress on October 22. But preliminary results can already be summed up. The main thing is that the congress (contrary to the hopes of the USA) did not become sensational. China will continue to develop, following the strategy of building "socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era" and "the revival of the Chinese nation." Judging by the report of the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping (unusually short – only 2 hours), the PRC will focus on ensuring security, accelerating the modernization of the armed forces. The PLA should "protect the dignity and basic interests of China," Xi stressed. "We will modernize our military theory, personnel and weapons faster," Xi said to the applause of the congress. "We will strengthen the strategic potential." By the way, Reuters calculated that Xi uttered the words "security" and "defense" 73 times – against 55 at the previous XIX Congress in 2017. Relying on military and economic power, China intends to continue its peaceful foreign policy, advocate for a multipolar world without dictate and violence. "We comprehensively promote the diplomacy of a major power with Chinese characteristics, resolutely defend impartiality and justice in international relations, advocate for genuine multilateralism and practice it, take a clear position against hegemonism and the policy of brute force," Xi said in his report to the congress. Focusing on achievements, Xi Jinping made it clear that the country is developing and will develop according to plan, and global challenges do not affect it. From the words of the Secretary General, it becomes clear that the line will continue to ensure the economic and technological sovereignty of China, which relies on a self-sufficient market and appropriate resources. The development will be a combination of two circulations: the domestic market and foreign trade with an emphasis on the former. Goal: to improve the quality of consumption and life and ensure the growth of the welfare of the population. Xi did not say anything about his re-election for a third term. But the calmness in the ranks of the members of the Central Committee and some other signs indicate that this matter is resolved. He simply has no competitors, he is supported by colleagues in the politburo, who are also afraid of the beginning of a struggle for leadership in the CPC. The presence in the front row, next to Xi, of his predecessor as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Hu Jintao, as well as former Premier of the State Council Wen Jiabao and a 105-year veteran of the CPC (who helped Xi at the beginning of his career) speaks of a consensus on this issue in the ranks of the party. By the way, according to the US scenarios, it was the old guard of the CPC, the former leaders had to "start an internal party revolt against Xi." But the performance did not take place and, most likely, was a stillborn invention of American political strategists. In this context, it is impossible not to turn to the article in the American Washington Post, which was published exactly on the day of the start of the congress and is clearly timed to it. The newspaper calls the re-election of the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee for a third term "an inevitability that should never have happened." Because according to the American establishment (the article is editorial, reflects the spirit and approaches in the American beau monde), this allegedly leads to dictatorship and the strangulation of human rights in China. "The dictatorship, not global cooperation and human rights, are its guiding stars," the newspaper laments. What follows is a confession: Xi's reappointment does not justify American "optimistic" expectations, but will correspond to the conviction of the Chinese leader and his party colleagues that the political and economic openness that destroyed the Soviet Union can destroy China if the party does not double what Lenin called democratic centralism. Frank recognition and accurate knowledge of Chinese realities. That is, firstly, the United States did everything to prevent Xi from going for a third term, and tried to destabilize the country as much as possible. But, it didn't work out. And secondly, Xi will be reassigned already on the grounds that the Chinese elite fears the arrival of a "hidden Gorbachev" with the support of the United States, who will ruin the country and plunge it into chaos. And this is the absolute truth. Moreover, so that this does not happen again on Chinese soil, there are entire scientific centers in China that study the experience of the USSR and Russia in order not to repeat it. The newspaper could not avoid propaganda cliches about the strangulation of dissent, the "subjugation of Tibet, Xinjiang" and the "slave labor" of the national minorities there. This is about how the US is going to continue to put pressure on China in an attempt to provoke internal instability. At the same time, the Washington Post rightly draws attention to those points in the report of the CPC Secretary General at the congress, where he talks about strengthening the army and ensuring the security of the country, coupled with the provisions of the policy towards Taiwan. And Xi expressed himself quite clearly about Taiwan: we will do everything to return the province to the bosom of the motherland peacefully, but we do not refuse the military option. Translated from Chinese, this means that there will be no deviations from the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the security law. And there are situations in which military force can be used: the declaration of independence by the local administration and the intervention of a third party. And Washington should know about it. Since this article was published simultaneously with the beginning of the twentieth CPC Congress, it is curious that it refers to the US National Security Strategy just signed by the US president, where China is called "the only competitor that intends to change the international order and has economic, diplomatic, military and technological power for this." (No offense to Russia will be said) CPC congresses usually do not condescend to specifics in domestic and foreign policy, they determine the strategy. Naturally, Xi Jinping did not mention Russia and Ukraine in his report. But the Washington Post writes in this context, reflecting the spirit of the congress: "Mr. Xi has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin more often than with any other world leader. He called the author of the aggressive war in Ukraine his "best friend and colleague", with whom he is "similar in character." China condoned the Russian invasion from the very beginning in February and has not done anything significant to curb it since then." That's right. And the main thing is that the congress will not change this situation, but, perhaps, will lead to the activation of China in foreign policy. So the Americans' fears are not in vain. As for the rest of the posts in the top leadership of the CPC, the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, which is fond of quoting in the West, writes that more significant changes may occur here than previously thought. But this is quite understandable if Xi goes to a new term and forms a team of younger nominees capable of solving difficult development tasks. Now the second position in the power structure of the People's Republic of China is occupied by Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Li Keqiang (67 years old), the third is the chairman of the National People's Congress (Parliament of the country) Li Zhanshu (72 years old), the fourth – chairman of the National Committee of the People's Political Consultative Council Wang Yang (67 years old), the fifth – chairman of the CPC Central Committee for the management of activities in the field of strengthening spiritual culture Wang Huning (67 years old), the sixth – secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Zhao Leji (65 years old), the seventh – First Vice Premier of the State Council Han Zheng (68 years old). These people make up the standing committee of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee. Who of them will leave and who will stay will be determined after the congress forms a new composition of the Central Committee on October 22, which in turn will hold its first plenary session to approve the composition of the politburo of 25 members and the standing committee of the politburo of seven members – the highest decision-making body. But the Hong Kong newspaper makes a forecast, relying on its sources and reminding that in Chinese politics everything is discussed in advance, decisions are made through consultations and not overnight. So: it is assumed that the chairman of the National People's Congress Li Zhanshu and Vice Premier Han Zheng, who have already reached retirement age, can resign from their posts. The second person in the Chinese hierarchy, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Li Keqiang is one year younger, and he can stay for now. By the way, the Americans assigned him the role of the main oppositionist. The new Prime Minister of the State Council will be officially presented only at the annual parliamentary session in March next year, but it will be possible to assume who will take this post when the new composition of the Politburo standing committee becomes known. They are likely to be the second person in the party hierarchy. Among those who can join the standing committee of the politburo, the Hong Kong newspaper calls the secretary of the CPC City Committee of Chongqing Chen Miner, the head of the office of the CPC Central Committee Ding Xuexiang, who is a trusted assistant to the Chinese leader, the head of the party committee of Guangdong Province Li Xi and the head of the CPC City Committee of Shanghai Li Qiang. But this, in fact, is not so important, because with the change in the composition of the politburo and its standing committee, China's domestic and foreign policy will not change radically. It is only obvious that Xi Jinping will remain the "core of the party" after the congress, and he will have free hands to carry out reforms and more active actions abroad.

USA: we want to fly and float wherever we want

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text Washington continues to escalate the situation around Taiwan. The aggravation that arose after the visit in the Taiwan Strait does not weaken. Following a series of military maneuvers conducted by the Armed forces of the People's Republic of China off the coast of the rebellious island, US Navy warships passed through the Taiwan Strait. The American strike group headed by the largest aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan continues to remain in the region. In this regard, the Chinese Armed Forces were put on alert. This is how it looks from the point of view of White House Press Secretary Karin Jean-Pierre: "Indeed, on August 28, our ships made a routine call into the Taiwan Strait, which fully complied with international law and demonstrated our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region… We intend to continue flying, sailing and passing wherever international law allows, in accordance with the principles of freedom of navigation." According to Jean Pierre and, accordingly, the US president, this line of behavior meets Washington's goals – to protect the security and stability of the region. That is, security protection, according to their ideas, consists in balancing on the verge of a military conflict with the largest nuclear power. At the same time, Jean-Pierre cynically added that Washington does not abandon the "one China" policy, but will protect Taiwan's security interests. It turns out that in words Washington considers Taiwan to be part of China, but in fact supports the separatism of the island. Moreover, it supports visually, with the help of military equipment. It is not only about the passage of American warships through the Taiwan Strait – actually the territorial waters of the PRC – but also about the ongoing supply of weapons to Taipei. As Politico newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources, US President Joe Biden intends to soon appeal to Congress with a request to approve the sale of American weapons to Taiwan in the amount of about $ 1.1 billion. According to the publication, we are talking about 60 AGM-84K Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles and 100 AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. Where is the USA and where is Taiwan? And why do Americans consider it a zone of their immediate interests? Is Washington seriously ready to sacrifice the island's 23 million population to defend the notorious independence? At the same time, risking entering into a full-scale war with China, which is not going to give up its province. Obviously, high democratic ideals have nothing to do with it. The United States has long despised the principle of "one China". We are talking about creating a hotbed of instability, or even better, a war in order to weaken its main global competitor. China, of course, once again demanded that the United States stop selling weapons to Taiwan and abandon military contacts with Taipei in order to avoid further escalation of tensions in the region. "The sale of weapons by the United States to Taiwan seriously violates the principle of "one China" and the provisions of the three joint Sino-American communiques, encourages separatist forces advocating Taiwan independence, and leads to an escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait," said Liu Pengyu, a representative of the Chinese Embassy in Washington. But where there! The coordinator for Strategic Communications at the White House National Security Council, John Kirby, confirmed Washington's firm intention to "continue to provide security assistance to Taiwan," adding that the United States still does not support the idea of gaining independence. That is, the United States is preparing to blow up the region, fighting, if necessary, with China "to the last Taiwanese." The situation around the island increasingly resembles Ukraine. China is no longer limited to warnings, demonstrations of military power and sanctions against Taiwan. In response to Pelosi's visit, Beijing terminated cooperation with the United States in eight key areas: contacts of defense departments, repatriation of illegal immigrants, legal assistance in criminal cases, combating transnational crime, combating drugs and on the topic of climate. All these are very sensitive areas for the United States. The ink on the official statement of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on this occasion did not have time to dry, and the US Department of Defense, trying to regain what it had lost, hastened to declare that America does not support the "movement of the island to independence." But this did not affect the decision of the PRC. Serious hype arose in the United States about the refusal of China to cooperate on climate issues, without which the Paris Climate Agreement would have been impossible in principle. The US President's Special Envoy on Climate Issues, John Kerry, expressed deep disappointment: "From the first day, the US made it clear that our climate cooperation with China should stay away from other difficult issues that our countries face. There is a simple reason for this: we are the two largest economies and the largest sources of emissions, and the whole world will suffer the consequences if we cannot play a leading role in climate action together. The climate crisis is not a bilateral problem, but a universal one. This is not about geopolitics or ideology, and no country should hold back progress in solving existential transnational problems because of bilateral differences. The suspension of cooperation does not punish the United States – it punishes the world, especially the developing world. The human and financial costs will be catastrophic if the international community cannot put aside its differences and unite to fight the climate threat that we all face," he said. Beautifully articulates. Well, that is, the "Washington regional committee" has finally disconnected from reality and moved into its own special world, in which the United States does whatever it pleases, and everyone else must walk in formation and keep alignment with Washington to the detriment of their interests. The White House invites to put aside differences, ideology, and even geopolitics in the name of combating the climate threat, but its inhabitants themselves are not ready for this and reserve the right to act in their own narrow-minded interests. In fact, the reason for the suspension of cooperation on climate, which the Biden administration considered key in the Chinese direction, was not only Pelosi's visit. The point here is in shifting responsibility for climate change to other countries, and in the inaction of the United States itself. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and U.S. Ambassador to Beijing Nicholas Burns even argued on Twitter on this topic. The Foreign Ministry, explaining the termination of the climate dialogue, called on Washington to stop doing nothing, and Burns asked to return to cooperation. The official representative of the ministry, Wang Wenbin, noted: "The United States must seriously take responsibility and fulfill its duty in the field of climate change, and also stop looking for excuses for its inaction." Burns, justifying himself, said that Washington was taking measures "on climate change issues" and said that Congress had approved a draft law on climate investment and the American authorities would be able to "reduce emissions in the United States by about 40% by 2030." Under this law, the US government will allocate $370 billion for clean energy and achieving climate goals. "China should pay attention to this and reconsider its decision to suspend cooperation with the United States in the field of climate," Burns pleaded. The Chinese Foreign Ministry praised the United States for passing the law, but questioned its implementation. In fact, the United States, as a country vulnerable to the risks of climate change, is much more interested in such cooperation than China. China and the US contribute the most to pollution. China accounts for 27% of emissions, and the United States for 11%. That is, without China, all efforts to counter climate change are meaningless. But China has clarified its position, which is that refusing to cooperate with the United States does not mean refusing to cooperate with other countries. It's just that Beijing is tired of following Washington's lead on this and other issues. "The United States is far from the whole world," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said ironically about this. An even more hysterical reaction was caused in Washington by Beijing's decision to suspend anti-drug cooperation. The fact is that historically China has been a sphere of drug distribution and, due to its geographical location, remains a transit territory for drug trafficking. Nearby, the so–called "golden triangle" (a zone located in the mountainous regions of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos) is a traditional center of drug production. And, of course, Afghanistan, which the United States has turned into a global drug den. Huge trade flows from China to the United States are an extremely attractive route for the transit of drugs to America. For their part, the Chinese authorities are conducting a comprehensive fight against the importation, production and distribution of drugs. This fight is supervised by a special State Committee for the Fight against Drugs. The death penalty and long prison terms are imposed for drug trafficking in China. In 2021, 54 thousand drug-related crimes were solved, 77,000 suspected of committing such crimes were arrested and 326,000 people were brought to justice. And over the past five years, 451,000 drug-related crimes have been solved in the country, 588,000 suspected of committing crimes have been arrested, 305 tons of drugs have been seized. The number of drug-related cases decreased from 140,000 in 2017 to 54,000 in 2021. At the same time, the average annual decline is more than 20% for five consecutive years. The USA cannot boast of such successes. But the refusal to cooperate is a good reason to accuse China of pandering to the drug mafia. But there is something more important. The termination of cooperation in this area with the competent authorities of the People's Republic of China, which detected smuggling under the guise of trade supplies to the United States, means an increase in drug trafficking. Americans were particularly interested in the drug fentanyl, which is included in the list of drug substances in China, but not in the United States. It is also produced in clandestine laboratories in China and imported into the United States. As a result of an overdose of fentanyl, 100,000 people died in America last year alone. And so the PRC refused to catch smugglers who trade in fentanyl. This caused a storm of emotions from the head of the US National Drug Enforcement Administration, who accused China of "trying to poison US citizens." This topic is now being used in the United States, including in the election campaign, as well as in whipping up anti-Chinese propaganda, exaggerating the thesis about the alleged refusal of the PRC to fight the drug mafia. This is very similar to the accusations against the PRC in the artificial spread of the new coronavirus. But they are already pretty fed up with Beijing. In this regard, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that the termination of drug control cooperation is "justified, appropriate and reasonable." If the United States wants its interests to be taken into account, it is once again proposed to take into account the concerns of other countries, at least in the field of their life security.

Pelosi's Mistake

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The congresswoman's visit to Taiwan, which demonstrated contempt for the sovereignty of the PRC, will cost the United States and its allies dearly. After the brief visit of the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Congress Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, the island and the patrons of its "independence" seem to have faced a new reality. After actually a series of PLA military maneuvers off the coast of Taiwan, on August 9, the PRC military announced that their navy and air force would continue joint exercises in the waters and airspace around Taiwan. That is, the four-day unprecedented live-fire exercises, during which the blockade of the island and the landing of troops were practiced, and dozens of Chinese Air Force combat aircraft were deployed in Taiwan's air defense zone, seem to grow into a permanent large-scale military presence of the PLA off the coast of the rebellious island. Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the Chinese edition of the Global Times, called what is happening in the Taiwan Strait a "new reality": "The isolation of the island has become a reality that can be implemented at any time, and the life force of Taiwan is clearly in the hands of mainland China. Taiwan's independence leads to a dead end, and there is no force that could stop reunification. After what happened last week, the whole world sees it more clearly." According to Hu, the exercises rejected the concept of Taiwan-controlled waters and airspace, as well as the middle line in the Taiwan Strait, the de facto border between the island and mainland China, which Beijing has not officially recognized, but both sides have mostly observed for decades. Apparently, Beijing is still going to tighten and loosen the noose around the neck of the Taiwanese separatists as necessary. But the exercises at any moment can escalate into fighting and landing in Taiwan. With military measures, China supports economic sanctions, in particular, restrictions on trade with the island, which are already yielding results. That is, Pelosi's ill-considered visit to Taiwan launched the process of Taiwan's accelerated return "to the bosom of the motherland" and unleashed Beijing's hands in terms of the use of forceful methods of influence. Counting on the immediate deployment of the PRC's military operations against Taiwan, the United States received an asymmetric response. Now Washington and Taipei will be in a state of constant tension and the need to save the "sinking" island. "I am concerned that they are moving with the force with which they are moving. But I don't think they're going to do anything else," is how President Biden reacted to China's actions. Whether China will "do something else" depends on Washington's further provocations and Taipei's reaction. So far, the Americans prefer to keep their carrier groups, which were aimed at this region, away from the Taiwan Strait. Meanwhile, opponents of Taiwan's peaceful reunification with the mainland are beginning to realize the consequences of Beijing's already imposed sanctions and are preparing for new ones. "The increase in tension in the Taiwan Strait may lead to a complication of the situation on the global semiconductor market," Taiwan's official representative in France Francois Chin Chun Wu said on August 8. "The semiconductor production chain is a complex process; if any conflict affects the production of at least one component of this technologically complex product, the entire system will cease to function. This will be a big problem for the entire global market," said Chin Chun Wu. He hints first of all at the ban imposed by the PRC on supplying fossil sand to Taiwan – raw materials for the manufacture of quartz and semiconductors. First of all, Beijing's anger is dangerous for Taiwan, for which China is the main trading partner. Taiwan sells $ 150 billion worth of microchips and semiconductors to China alone and buys $ 23 billion worth of them. The situation around Taiwan will affect the entire region, including US allies. Japan has already been shocked by the refusal of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi from the planned talks with his Japanese counterpart because of the country's position on Taiwan. And this is only a minor signal, which can be followed by real steps. And Japan's trade turnover with China is huge. China may also break off normal relations with other countries that reject the "one China" policy or align themselves with Washington on this issue. "A storm is gathering around us," Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Xianlong said. – Relations between the US and China are deteriorating: unsolvable problems, deep suspicions and limited interaction. The situation is unlikely to improve in the near future. Moreover, miscalculations or overlays can easily aggravate the situation." Lee said that "Singapore's prospects have significantly clouded" and promised to take additional measures in the coming months to help people cope with rising prices. We can also say that the United States provoked the beginning of a gradual rupture of the entire system of Sino-American relations. On August 5, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China announced eight countermeasures in response to the visit of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. So far, they concern bilateral cooperation in the political sphere, but they give a signal not only to Washington, but also to its allies, as well as sympathizers. Countermeasures include the suspension of bilateral cooperation in the field of repatriation of illegal immigrants, legal assistance in criminal cases, as well as cooperation in combating transnational crime and in the fight against drugs. Cooperation between the military departments of the two countries is sharply limited. The US Department of Defense hastened to declare that it does not support the "movement of the island towards independence." But this did not affect the decision of the PRC. We are also talking about the suspension of cooperation on the climate issue, a key topic of bilateral relations, without which the Paris Climate Agreement would have been impossible. Huang Jin, deputy head of the Law Society of China, explained Beijing's actions as follows: "Pelosi's visit to Taiwan undermined the foundations of Sino-American cooperation in these areas, which hindered its further development. The suspension of cooperation is justified on the basis of the protection of China's national sovereignty." We are talking about a gap in the most sensitive areas for the United States, in which Americans are primarily interested. But this is just the beginning. Since last year, China has reduced its investments in American debt obligations from 1.1 trillion US dollars to 900 billion, and the process continues, threatening to bring down the entire American financial system based on debt and printing dollars. At the same time, China is reducing its foreign exchange reserves in US dollars. This process began after the announcement of the trade war unleashed against China by the Trump administration, but accelerated after the freezing of Russia's foreign exchange assets in the West. Other countries are also following this trend. Even Japanese investments in the US Federal Reserve's IOUS have fallen to a historic low of $1.2 trillion. In addition to China and Japan, Saudi Arabia and Brazil are reducing investments in American debt. Experts note that foreign investments in the US national debt have been declining as rapidly over the past six months as after the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and since the beginning of the pandemic. And next up is China's gigantic trade turnover with the United States, which reached $ 750 billion last year. Depending on Washington's behavior and the speed of the implementation of the "double circulation" policy in China (reliance on the domestic market), China will refuse to trade with the United States with an increasingly wide range of goods, ruining American farmers and leaving consumers in the United States without cheap Chinese consumer goods. As they say, the jokes are over. China has used some pre-conceived strategic plans that confuse the cards of opponents. Following the rules of the "Art of War" of the great Sun Tzu, Beijing is leading the case to seize the initiative, to victory without battles. And if the West believes that China will be afraid of retaliatory sanctions, it is cruelly mistaken. Chinese society, hardened by many crises and experiments, is much more resistant to temporary inconveniences than Western society. Trust in the ruling class in China is much higher than in the West. Disrespect for the sovereignty of the People's Republic of China, interference in China's internal affairs, demonstrated by Washington, will cost the United States and its allies dearly, literally and figuratively.

The Island of bad Luck

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The visit of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan may be a turning point in Sino-American relations So, Pelosi went to Taiwan. Now many commentators are puzzling over why this visit was needed. As it turns out, there is no use from him to Taiwan: no additional weapons, no money, only moral support for the so-called "independence". At first glance, the visit was intended primarily for domestic consumption: on the eve of the midterm congressional elections, to correct the image of the Democratic Party. Also– to show the allies, and the whole world, that the United States is still "doing what they want", despite the risks, warnings and persuasions. A kind of gesture of a decrepit ruler, striving to retain power by any means. Of course, Washington would very much like to provoke China into a war with its blood brothers on the other side of the Taiwan Strait, which would undermine the image of the PRC as a peacemaker offering the world a negotiated solution to problems and the concept of a "common destiny of mankind." However, it is unlikely that the US secret services, the defense department and analysts have weakened so much that they do not calculate that China will not succumb to provocation. The Americans cannot fail to calculate how sensitive the Taiwan issue is for the Chinese and what a slap in the face they are inflicting on the leadership of the PRC, with whom, as follows from official statements, they would like to maintain stable, business relations. But, apparently, this staged provocation has much more far-reaching plans. Washington's childish references to the separation of powers should not be taken seriously: the visit was long and carefully planned with the participation of President Biden, who, as Commander-in-chief, of course, could have stopped it. Apparently, the White House and the surrounding area decided that it was time for more decisive action in the Chinese direction. Judging by Beijing's first reaction, it can be assumed that the visit will be a watershed in Sino-American relations: before and after. Actually, it was clear before that the separation of these two superpowers is inevitable and will precede their clash in one form or another. There was only one question– when? All of Beijing's policies and official statements were aimed at at least delaying this process, and at most – to carry out as much as possible with the least possible losses. And Americans see their interest in the opposite. For them, conflicts are a way to maintain their global dominance, and a conflict involving China also allows them to create problems for their main competitor. Ideally, another "proxy war". But if it doesn't work out, then there is a global divorce and a hybrid war in all directions. And where the curve of confrontation will steer. A hot war will also do, because, from Washington's point of view, we are talking about world domination, including an American-centric system of peace built on the power of the dollar and American bayonets. Putting a billion or two lives on the line is worth it. According to the idea of the United States, if there is a conflict, the sooner the better, until China has turned into such a dragon that even American superheroes cannot cope with. And so Biden decided to start first. Strictly speaking, the first was Trump, who unleashed a trade and economic war with China. Biden transferred it to the military-political and ideological plane. Judging by the signals from Beijing, there are no illusions left about Washington's sincerity and the correspondence of his words and real policy. This is evidenced by the consistency of the statements of various Chinese departments and their tone. "This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three Sino-American joint communiques, a serious undermining of the political foundation of Sino-American relations, a gross encroachment on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, which will harm peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait area, sends a purely erroneous signal to separatist forces advocating the so-called "Taiwan independence", – said the Chinese Foreign Ministry. And here is what is said in the official statement of the Office for International Affairs of the CPC Central Committee: "The attempt of separatist forces to achieve "Taiwan independence" is the biggest obstacle to the reunification of the Motherland and a serious potential danger to the revival of the Chinese nation. The administration of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) stubbornly defends the erroneous position aimed at "Taiwan independence", voluntarily serves as an instrument of anti-Chinese forces in the United States to contain China and even more brazenly commits provocations in an effort to achieve "independence". This is an absolutely incorrect judgment about the situation and a miscalculation in its relation. In its selfish interests, this administration stubbornly defies the "one China" principle, refuses to recognize the 1992 Consensus, foments confrontation between both sides of the Taiwan Strait, fixating on achieving so-called "independence" based on the United States. The actions of the DPP administration aimed at achieving "Taiwan independence" and its collusion with the United States, betraying China's national interests, will only plunge Taiwan into the abyss of disasters and bring deep suffering to Taiwanese compatriots. The reunification of the Motherland and the great revival of the Chinese nation have entered an irreversible historical process. The motherland must be and will certainly be reunited." Just a few days before Pelosi's visit, Biden once again swore to Xi Jinping in a telephone conversation that he was committed to the "one China" policy. But the visit itself showed the opposite. In fact, Pelosi visited one of the provinces of China without Beijing's knowledge, and this is about the same as if Vladimir Putin, without Washington's consent, came to the American Indians demanding the return of their ancestral lands. Now the Taiwanese are not to be envied. They and their desire for American democracy will become a bargaining chip and a starting point in this disengagement. It is on them that Beijing's anger will be primarily directed. "The People's Liberation Army of China, being on high alert, will take a number of targeted military actions to counteract this, will resolutely defend state sovereignty and territorial integrity, resolutely prevent interference by external forces and attempts by separatist forces advocating "Taiwan independence," the official representative of the Ministry of Defense of China said. Since August 3, a large-scale battle has unfolded around Taiwan, so far a training one: the People's Liberation Army of China is conducting maneuvers, the scenario of which is very similar to a naval and air blockade. Chinese warships, including aircraft carriers, practice combat maneuvers near the Taiwanese coast, and combat aircraft patrol in Taiwan's air defense zone. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi canceled scheduled talks with his Japanese counterpart because of Japan's position on Taiwan. And these are just the first flashes of this battle. Against this background, hardly anyone paid serious attention to the message that, as a first step of influencing separatist forces in Taiwan, the PRC banned the supply of ordinary fossil sand to the rebellious island. Despite its apparent simplicity, this news shows how serious the consequences of the visit are and how firm Beijing's intentions are. After all, 90% of the sand, without which the entire construction industry will stand up, is supplied to Taiwan, as well as to Hong Kong and Macau, from mainland China. There is no concrete without sand, and without concrete you cannot build high-rise buildings that prevail on an island with a population of 23 million people, an area equal to one of our small regions. But this is not as painful as the possible shutdown of the famous Taiwanese semiconductor industry, which provides almost half the world with its products. After all, the basis of semiconductors is silicon, which is also extracted from ordinary sand. And fiber optic cables and many other things that can not do without silicon. Of course, sand can be brought, for example, from the USA, if there is no blockade of the island. But then the sand will become golden, and semiconductors are even more expensive… And this is just the beginning. The total trade turnover of China with Taiwan is about 380 million US dollars, twice as much as with Russia. There are thousands of Taiwanese companies operating in China, using cheaper Chinese labor and China's simplified tax regimes. For many years, China has been building close economic ties with the island, hoping thus to return Taiwan "to the bosom of the motherland." But now that it has become clear that, despite all the warnings, Taipei likes American democracy, which, in fact, offers nothing but war with the mainland, the Taiwanese will have to overestimate the benefits of ties with the PRC, and perhaps find out their real cost. Author: Mikhail Morozov, columnist of the newspaper "Trud"

At the Taiwanese line

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The last days have become the point of the highest tension between China and the United States since, perhaps, the Korean War. Beijing responded to the intention of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to pay a visit to Taiwan extremely harshly, showing that in this way Washington crosses the red line. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that in the event of Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, Beijing will take all measures to protect the state sovereignty and integrity of the country. The classic phrase preceding the use of force was deciphered by the official speaker of the Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian: "China has recently repeatedly expressed serious concern to the United States and stated its firm position, which is that Beijing strongly opposes the visit of Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan." "The responsibility for all the serious consequences arising from this will be fully borne by the United States," the diplomat stressed. The Ministry of Defense of the People's Republic of China promised to fight separatism on the island "by all means" and "not to sit idly by" if the trip takes place. According to the representative of the Chinese defense ministry Tan Kefei, Pelosi's visit will seriously violate the principle of "one China" and the provisions of the three joint Sino-American communiques. Despite this, a US Navy carrier strike group led by the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, armed with 90 aircraft and helicopters, entered the South China Sea, and China began military exercises with live firing in nearby areas. Missile units were additionally deployed to Fujian Province. For greater clarity, the Chinese conducted a demonstration launch of a DF-17 ballistic missile with a hypersonic warhead. The fact that the post "Preparing for war" in the account of the 80th army of the PLA, responsible for the defense of this region, caused a strong approving reaction in Chinese social networks speaks about the intensity of passions: "PLA soldiers, fight! We support you guys!". And army veterans in social networks have massively stated that they are ready to return to service if the Motherland demands it. Chinese military experts predicted the introduction of a no-fly zone over Taiwan to prevent the visit. This development, according to CNN, was also seen by Biden's closest advisers in the White House. And the former editor-in-chief of the Chinese English-language Global Times, Hu Xijin, known for radical views, in his account even suggested shooting down a plane with Pelosi on approach to Taiwan, as an aircraft that violated the state border. All this took place against the background of preparations for the celebration of the 95th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army of China. At a solemn meeting of the CPC Central Committee, Chinese President Xi Jinping paraphrased a catch phrase from Confucius: only those who are ready to fight can stop the battle, and those who are ready for war should not start it. And he called for strenuously continuing the modernization of the PLA in accordance with the international situation. In this very environment, Pelosi classified the program of her tour. With reference to anonymous sources, there were reports about the cancellation of a trip to Taiwan. Then it came from Taiwan: Pelosi is still coming. Sources in Beijing are inclined to believe that the visit to Taiwan will still be canceled. The stakes are too high and the risk is too high. It remains to wait a few days, and we will find out how events will unfold. Let's hope that it won't come to an armed conflict. But there are plenty of signs that the American provocation was prepared in advance and that such things will be repeated until the goal is achieved – to force China to start hostilities against its blood brothers on the other side of the Taiwan Strait, actually against the province belonging to the PRC. Firstly, Pelosi's visit was originally planned for April and did not take place due to her illness, read - the beginning of a special operation in Ukraine, when all Washington's attention was switched to anti–Russian sanctions and assistance to Kiev. Despite the fact that Beijing warned Washington through all possible channels that this time the matter could go very far, the Americans did not stop preparing for a provocation. At the same time, Biden personally tried to reduce the heat or show that he was not ready for war. "The military thinks it's not a good idea right now," he said last week about the possibility of Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. Even when Pelosi's visit was announced, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Biden had a telephone conversation. "We strongly oppose separatism – "Taiwan independence", as well as interference by external forces, and we will never leave room for Taiwan independence forces in any form. The position of the Chinese Government and the Chinese people on the "Taiwan issue" has been consistent and more than 1.4 billion Chinese are determined to resolutely defend China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity. You can't go against public opinion. Playing with fire, you will set yourself on fire," China Central Television CCTV quoted the President of the People's Republic of China. As reported by CCTV, President Biden, in turn, said during the conversation that today's world is in a critical period, and cooperation between the United States and China is beneficial not only to them, but also to the peoples of other countries. The United States hopes to maintain dialogue with China, strengthen mutual understanding, seek cooperation in areas where interests coincide, and properly resolve differences. "I would like to repeat that the US 'one China policy' has not changed and will not change, and the US does not support the 'independence' of Taiwan," Biden vowed once again. Despite this, the probing of Beijing's red lines continued. It seems that the White House is finding out whether Beijing is really "teetering on the brink of war", seeking to cancel Pelosi's trip, and what he really intends to do. On the battlefield, the enemy's air defense system is provoked in such a way that a preemptive strike is launched at the moment of the outbreak of hostilities. Dave Butler, a representative of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the military informs decision-makers in Washington about possible risks. "We warn what the enemy can do, discuss logistics, military plans and readiness." And on the eve of the assistant to the US President for National Security, Jake Sullivan, avoided answering a direct question whether the US would be ready to defend Taiwan militarily if necessary. "Our policy has not changed. We maintain strategic uncertainty," Sullivan traditionally responded. "As part of this policy of creative tension, we have been maintaining peace and stability around the Taiwan Strait for decades." By the way, the former US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (2019-2020), who made his way to Taiwan as part of the American NGO Atlantic Council, criticized this uncertainty on the eve: "In my personal opinion, the policy based on the "one China principle" has outlived itself, it is time to move away from strategic ambiguity." According to Esper, it is China that poses the greatest challenge for Western countries. However, the problem with the American policy of "strategic uncertainty", in his opinion, is that the United States does not directly say whether they will be ready to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack. That is, it is proposed to make it clear unequivocally: the United States will defend Taiwan by all means. And then Europe, which is usually restrained in relation to Taiwan, gave its voice. "In the event of a military invasion, we have made it very clear that the EU, together with the United States and its allies, will introduce similar or even more extensive measures than we have now taken against Russia," said EU Ambassador to China Jorge Toledo. And the UK offered to jointly arm the Taiwanese regime. What is in the dry residue? Convinced of the futility of the strategy of "color revolutions" to defeat China, the United States found another Achilles heel of Beijing and shifted the center of gravity to Taiwan. The Taiwan problem is the most acute from the point of view of the Chinese leadership. His official plans are to return the island to the bosom of his homeland, but preferably peacefully. A military solution to this issue is the most extreme and undesirable option for the PRC. Especially on the eve of the twentieth Congress of the CPC (congresses are held every five years), at which the issue of extending Xi Jinping's stay at the head of state and the party will be resolved. In addition, the outbreak of hostilities at one point would change the world image of the PRC, its foreign policy, built on solving problems "peacefully and diplomatically." Taiwan has been a hotbed of intense tension more than once. But now the situation is critical. Washington is forcing Xi Jinping to make difficult choices and abandon many plans. And the Chinese leader has no right to slack off. Author: Mikhail Morozov, columnist of the newspaper "Trud"

Boycott illusion

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The meeting of foreign ministers of the G-20 countries held in Bali can be considered as a rehearsal for the November summit of the heads of state of this organization. Without forcing the current chairman of the "Big Twenty" Indonesia not to invite Russian representatives at all, Western countries tried to organize a boycott of Russia already in the process.  Well, or, at least, turn the G-20 platform – originally an economic forum – into a place of flagellation of our country and lamentations about Ukraine. But again it turned out that only half of the members are ready to follow the instructions of the "Washington regional committee". And the rest not only do not support Western aspirations, but are also perplexed about the fact that the world economy, which is not in the best position, is being replaced by pure politics, and frankly self-serving and one-sided. Western countries tried to compensate for diplomatic failures at the forum with media scandals. As the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova testified, at the command of the White House press service, Western journalists were thrown into counting the time that certain delegates were absent from the meeting room, and they tried to pass it off as a boycott of the Russian delegation. The technique is not new, such attempts have already been made at other international venues, for example at the meeting of financial authorities and the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov used the summit to hold bilateral meetings with colleagues from friendly countries and did not worry about the hysteria of Westerners. "The Indonesian side organized a welcome reception with a concert. Western colleagues did not come there. This is their desire, understanding of the protocol and the rules of ethics," the Russian Foreign Minister commented on the behavior of his opponents. And in his official speech, he emphasized multilateral cooperation and the non-use of force in international affairs. And it is not his "merit" that the West has long been listening to no one but itself. For the same reason, the summit ended in vain: without a final communique, without a collective photo. The main result is that the meeting took place despite attempts to boycott. In principle, the alignment of forces was known before. But Westerners, who cherish illusions about prolonging the life of the American-centric world, apparently expected a change in the position of the largest countries, primarily India and China. But nothing like that happened. Accordingly, the rest of the "non-aligned" and those who did not take the "right side of history" also did not join the boycott attempts. It is characteristic that one of the main bilateral meetings in Bali – between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Secretary of State Blinkin – took place after the official speech of the head of Chinese diplomacy at the summit. That is, the Chinese representative first repeated the initial, fundamental points for a conversation with his American counterpart, and then went to a personal meeting with him. For example, opposing the Americans acting "according to the rules," Wang Yi recalled that "there is only one system in the world, and this is the international system, at the center of which is the UN." In his speech, the Chinese Foreign Minister, in defiance of Westerners, focused on purely economic problems. He once again called for the main attention to be paid to economic growth and for this not to destroy, but to strengthen free trade and supply chains, to abandon trade sanctions and discrimination. These topics, as well as the fight against poverty and the pandemic, green development, which Wang Yi spoke about, probably caused an attack of boredom among Western colleagues. They would like to hear from the head of Chinese diplomacy something new about Ukraine. But they heard again what, as eyewitnesses say, made the muscles of the members of the American delegation play harder than ever. The Chinese minister reiterated that the PRC is against escalation, stands for a ceasefire and a settlement of the conflict at the negotiating table. "If we put our security above the security of other countries and strengthen military blocs, it will only split the international community, weakening our protection," Wang Yi said. And again he spoke in favor of a "serious and comprehensive dialogue" between Russia and Europe to create a "balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture." That is, 100 percent supported Russia, which is seeking the same thing. It was against this background that the meeting of the heads of Chinese American diplomacy took place. Judging by the duration – more than 5 hours – it was not easy. Comparing the statements and reports on the negotiations of the two sides, it can be concluded that attempts to put pressure on China and force it to stand "on the right side of history" have failed again. Apparently, Wang Yi, as has happened before in such negotiations, was patiently silent when Secretary Blinken tried to call his Chinese counterpart "to order" and refuse to support Russia. There is reason to assume that the United States mistakenly believes that China is capable of influencing Russia on the Ukrainian issue. But Beijing at the very top has repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that Russian-Chinese relations are not influenced by third parties and are relations of sovereign powers.  For his part, Wang Yi pointed to the fundamental misunderstanding of China on the part of the United States and urged the interlocutor to "stop slandering the PRC, attacking its political system and giving signals of support for Taiwan's independence." On the latter issue, the US diplomatic positions look particularly pale. The Biden administration has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to the "one China" principle enshrined in the fundamental Sino-American documents. But the practical policy of the United States with this principle is increasingly diverging. And Wang Yi does not miss the opportunity to slap the Americans on the cheeks every time, pointing out their support for separatism in Taiwan and the supply of weapons there. According to Chinese sources, the topic of Taiwan occupied a considerable part of the bilateral conversation. But the parties, apparently, did not come to a common denominator. The United States does not intend to abandon its provocative policy towards Taiwan in order to have leverage over China and the ability to manage the situation in this region. Washington's other negotiating positions are equally weak. After all, in order to get something from the Chinese, you have to offer them something.  And what? Now the United States is increasingly dependent on the supply of Chinese products. To abandon Chinese imports means to further accelerate inflation, which has already reached record levels. The trade duties imposed by the Trump administration exacerbate the problem. Biden would be happy to reduce or cancel them, but he doesn't know how. As you know, not so long ago he instructed his advisers to study this issue and submit a plan to reduce duties that would allow Washington to save face and improve the economic situation on the eve of the midterm elections to Congress and the Senate. As a result, Wang Yi put forward, as stated in the official message of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, "four lists: a list of requests to the United States to correct its erroneous policies, words and actions regarding China, a list of key cases of concern to the Chinese side, a list of China-related bills of key concern to the Chinese side, and a list of cooperation in eight areas between China and the United States." One of the issues that may have been discussed during the Sino-American talks was the likely meeting of the Chinese President and the US president at the G-20 summit of heads of state in November this year. What the result is is still unknown. But we can assume that the situation that developed at the meeting of foreign ministers will be repeated in the autumn. There will be negotiations, but there is no result.

G20: boycott failed

Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text The collective West has once again drowned in impotent anger. On the Indonesian island of Bali, where the meeting of the G20 foreign ministers took place, there was a Zugzwang (German: Zugzwang, coercion to move. – Auth.). Initially, this term was used in checkers and chess to denote a situation when any move of a player leads to a deterioration of his position. But then he moved into politics. So, the leaders of the "Big Seven" (G7), having inhaled on the eve of the Alpine air at their party in the Bavarian castle of Elmau, set an algorithm for total international counteraction to Russia on all world platforms. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken saluted and decided to organize a conspiracy with his comrades against the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov at the Indonesian Foreign Ministry. And in a very childish way - we go, they say, to another sandbox. And this, by the way, instead of discussing the most important international topics – energy, food and financial security on the verge of collapse, the inexorably impending recession, the Ukrainian crisis. And here, without Russia, of course, you will not get far. As a result of the "efforts" of the collective West in relation to Moscow, there was a split between the members of the "twenty": the camp of conspirators – the G7 countries plus Australia, South Korea and the EU represented by its foreign minister Josep Borrel (10 participants in total), and the camp of dissenters – the BRICS+ countries, Argentina and Saudi Arabia (also 10). Neither here nor there. The cart got stuck... Already at the very beginning of the event, on July 7, the G7 representatives did not come to the welcome dinner together, thereby demonstrating that they did not want to sit at the same table with Lavrov. By the way, the envoy of South Korea still checked in at the dinner and even talked on his own initiative with Sergey Viktorovich about something "on his feet". In the diplomatic lexicon there is such a term – "on your feet." This is when not "at the table". So - 9.5 to 10.5 in our favor! And when the meeting ended, the "others" refused to take pictures together, again because of their unwillingness to perpetuate themselves on a card with the Russian minister. The organizers had to exclude the traditional photo from the agenda altogether. However, by this time the Russian delegation had already left the forum. The excuse is weighty: there are a lot of things to do at home, they say. At the same time, representatives of the "conspirators' camp" proudly declared that "Lavrov literally flew out of the summit." The official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, retorted that Secretary Blinken was making up tall tales, talking about the isolation of the Russian Foreign Minister in Bali. "It was you, Mr. Blinken, who drove yourself into self-isolation by manking a number of forum events, where the majority did not even remember about you. And now, in order to justify your own failure, you compose tall tales. We were told how you personally ask everyone to "isolate" Russia. And everyone you ask is laughing at your back, knowing that the current administration is doomed to an inglorious end," Zakharova wrote in her Telegram channel. In fact, Lavrov, as confirmed by Western sources, held about 10 meetings with his colleagues on the sidelines of the meeting. It is known for certain about his business contacts with the foreign Ministers of China, Turkey, India, Brazil, Argentina and Indonesia. Weighty? I would also like to note that not a single Western minister boycotted the speech of our Foreign Minister at the summit. Even the notorious Blinken was present in the hall. Lavrov, by the way, nobly refused the "mirror boycott" and also decided not to ignore the speeches of colleagues from the "conspirators' camp". "It was interesting for me to hear what the West is doing now," the minister admitted. Perhaps the only one he didn't listen to was the German Annalena Berbock. Not because he does not respect women and her in particular, but because the plane was already waiting for him "in pairs". But let's return to Lavrov's speech at the forum. In particular, he said: "Classical diplomacy is giving way to methods of blackmail and pressure on independent states." And he called for remembering the principles of solidarity laid down in the foundation of the G20, created in 2008 as a joint response to the global financial crisis. Later, at a bilateral meeting with his Brazilian counterpart Carlos Franca, our Minister stressed that he appreciates the position of most countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. "No matter what anyone thinks about any of us, we should not undermine multilateral formats," he said. Detail: there are really a lot of benefits from such contacts. The representative of the States, for example, "on the sidelines" of the G20, on his own initiative, held talks with Chinese Minister Wang Yi. Which is important in the context of growing tensions in bilateral relations. And the Chinese Foreign Minister – with a colleague from Australia. For the first time in three years, what can be considered a big breakthrough in relations between Beijing and Canberra. Actually, it's not a sin to remind that the G20 ministers gathered in Bali not to arrange irrelevant showdowns (we are talking about some), but to prepare for the G20 summit meeting to be held in Indonesia in November. On July 6, Moscow previously notified the organizers of President Vladimir Putin's intention to take part in the summit. However, the Foreign Ministry stipulated that the format of his participation "is subject to clarification due to the epidemic situation in the region and the situation in the world." (Diplomats know how to circumvent sharp corners!). In fact, there are several options for the presence (or still not presence) of the Kremlin leader at the upcoming November meeting. Let's analyze the most obvious ones. The first. Ignore. Personally, I exclude him. The format of the "twenty" in the current conditions is important for Russia. Second. The collective West continues to "inflate its cheeks" and, due to the possible arrival of the Russian leader, lowers the level of its representation. That is, not the first persons will sit, but G7 politicians with a lower rank. In fact, Putin should not be offended: he will have a sufficient number of worthy partners for negotiations. But the "conspirators" of the highest rank will lose the opportunity to meet face to face with the leaders of the same China, India, the leading countries of South America. That will obviously go to them "in the negative". Third. Putin may decide to participate in the event at a remote location, which he successfully practices both on the domestic political floor and at the international level. Example: a recent video conference with BRICS leaders. This option is likely, especially after demarches at the last SMID, but personal communication ("eye to eye") still preferable. Fourth. All the powerful of this world come to the "ball" (or a gala dinner). That's where it will be necessary to observe how the cards will eventually fall. Will the elderly Biden and sporty Scholz run away from Putin? In favor of this option is the fact that until November, read for five months!, "a lot of water will leak". We are talking about the same Russian special operation in Ukraine. Will the "war continue to the last Ukrainian" or will it be time to sit down at the negotiating table? In any case, the Kremlin now has a more preferable position. Putin can choose and build his approach based on Russian interests. And the collective West will be drowning in impotent anger all this time.