The logic of "might makes right" doesn't work with Beijing



As you know, China has held «Two Sessions» — the second session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC). Many observers and even Chinese sources have assumed with some certainty that the nomination of a new PRC foreign minister would be announced at these meetings. Qin Gang, who was appointed to the post last year, was unexpectedly ousted, and after that the duties of the head of Chinese diplomacy were entrusted to Wang Yi, head of the Foreign Affairs Office of the CPC Central Committee, who had also previously been foreign minister and was given a promotion. He now effectively combines two posts: minister and party overseer of foreign affairs.

A new foreign minister has yet to emerge. Judging by Wang Yi’s extensive press conference on the margins of the Two Sessions, he remains in these two roles and will lead Chinese diplomacy and implement the CCP’s international policy for a long time to come. In addition to this, he is also a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, which further enhances his status, cementing Wang Yi’s special role in promoting China’s interests in the international arena.

Moreover, Wang Yi is a brilliant diplomat and an experienced leader who makes an irresistible impression in person. At the same time, he is an extremely tough negotiator who can respectfully but firmly defend his country’s positions. He is a true representative of a superpower: highly professional, restrained, democratic and persistent. (The author recently had the pleasure of briefly talking with Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Friendship Award ceremony at the House of People’s Congresses in Beijing). A comparison with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is apt. These two brilliant diplomats are in no way comparable to their Western counterparts, like the hysterical Truss and the flighty Baerbock.

All the more significant and interesting is what Wang Yi said during a big press conference for Chinese and foreign journalists on the margins of the Two Sessions. Incidentally, it was one of the few extended meetings between the PRC leadership and the press during this major political event of the year. Even Li Qiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, refused to talk to the press, which used to be a traditional form of public explanation of major decisions and plans for the coming year. Russian journalists, understandably, paid attention to his statements regarding cooperation with Russia: «The strategic choice in favor of maintaining and developing Sino-Russian relations was made by both sides in accordance with the fundamental interests of their people and due to the need to follow the trends of the time. China and Russia have created a completely new, in contrast to the stereotypes of the Cold War, standard of relations between major countries, free from block confrontations and not directed against third parties, aimed at eternal good-neighborliness, friendship and full and deep strategic cooperation». Here is not only a precise definition of the essence of Russian-Chinese relations at the present stage, but also a manifestation of Wang Yi’s personal position, who, pursuing the «party line», has always been a supporter of strengthening bilateral relations.

As if responding to those who scare us with the «Chinese threat», Wang Yi recalled the foundation of Chinese foreign policy at the present stage: «The concept of the community of common destiny of humanity demonstrates President Xi Jinping’s insightful look at the historical trend and global outlook as the leader of a major power. It has abandoned the outmoded thinking of «zero-sum game», full of the moral strength of human civilization, meets the common aspirations of the people of all countries in the world, and points out the right direction of where humanity is heading at this historically important moment when the world is undergoing tectonic changes».

And what is the essence of this concept? «Humanity shares a common future, solidarity and mutually beneficial cooperation remain the non-alternative choice for responding to challenges. The fate of humanity must be in the hands of all countries of the world; we create the future of the world together. We are ready to work together to create a clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, security for all, shared prosperity, openness and inclusiveness».

The head of Chinese diplomacy also paid attention to Ukraine: «Any conflict is eventually resolved at the negotiating table. The sooner negotiations begin, the sooner peace will come. The Chinese side supports the holding of an international peace conference approved by Moscow and Kiev at an appropriate time, where its participants can openly discuss all peace plans on an equal footing».

No less curious is what Wang Yi said about the main contradiction of the era: «China and the United States differ in their social systems and political systems. The sustainable development of relations between the two countries will only be possible if the differences are respected and recognized. Peaceful coexistence is a red line, as the catastrophic consequences of conflicts between giants like China and the US are unimaginable. A win-win situation should be made the goal of Sino-US cooperation, which can benefit not only both countries but also the whole world».

And what prevents it: «If the U.S. says one thing and does another, where will the credibility of a major power come from? If they get hysterical every time they hear the word ‘China,’ what is the confidence for a major power? What is allowed in the American dream is not allowed to others even in normal development, is that fair? Trying their best to maintain their dominance in the global value chain, while forcing us to stay at the bottom of it — can this be called fair competition?» Wang Yi warned the US that its obsession with containing China would harm themselves, not his country. «The biggest challenge for the US is themselves», the Chinese foreign minister said.

The Chinese head of diplomacy sharply criticized Europe, which misidentifies the goals and methods of interaction on China’s direction, perceiving China as a partner, a rival and a systemic adversary at the same time. These labels are untenable and only harm the relationship. «Imagine driving a car when the light at an intersection is red, yellow and green at the same time?» questioned Wang Yi. «We hope that on the way forward, China-Europe relations will always have a green signal and no traffic jams».

The Chinese minister did not ignore the planet’s hotspots. He advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state, its accession to the UN and urged «individual» members of the UN Security Council not to oppose it. As a first step, Wang Yi suggested convening «a credible and effective international peace conference, and developing a timetable and roadmap for implementing a two-state solution». To ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula, he advocated addressing Pyongyang’s valid concerns about security threats to the DPRK.

Judging by Wang Yi’s statements, China clearly sees itself among the countries of the Global South and supports strengthening their voice on the world stage in parallel with the creation of a multipolar world. This will be facilitated by the next China-Africa Cooperation Forum to be held in China this fall for the first time after a six-year break.

Wang Yi also spoke firmly in favor of a system of relations based on UN principles, against block ideology, and against the dominance of one power or group of countries. «In international affairs, the monopoly of one country or a world minority, the division of countries into different grades based on state power or the so-called logic of ‘might makes right’ should not be allowed again, and the rhetoric of ‘some should be at the table and others on the menu’ is simply unacceptable», he said figuratively.