Tuesday, March 5, 2024

China plans strategy to challenge US global leadership

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(Bloomberg) — China is escalating its challenge to the U.S.-led world order, using a rare Communist Party meeting this week to plot a strategy to boost its profile and power on the world stage.

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President Xi Jinping and other senior leaders pledged to take China’s influence in world affairs to a “new level”, according to a government statement released late Thursday after the meeting.

“We must reject all forms of power politics and bullying behavior, and vigorously defend our national interests and dignity,” he said, alluding to what he saw as US anti-China lobbying.

Mr. Xi presides over an aggressive foreign policy aimed at strengthening China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests, using aid, trade, and foreign direct investment to build goodwill and strengthen China’s By expanding its development, it aims to position itself as an alternative to the United States and other Western democracies. political influence.

See: Xi promotes alternative to Western capitalism in Mao Zedong speech

This is only the fourth party meeting, following the first meeting in 2006 and follow-up meetings in 2014 and 2018. This is the foreign policy equivalent of China’s twice-a-decade monetary policy conference, which it held in October.

“We must take a clear and firm stand, uphold the high ground of international morality, and unite and rally the world’s vast majority,” the statement said.

Underscoring Mr. Xi’s determination to challenge the United States, Mr. Xi intended his Tuesday speech to remember founding father Mao Zedong, instead praising “China’s modernization.” Mr. Xi has been promoting this vaguely defined concept since 2021, adding this week that it is “the solemn historical responsibility of today’s Chinese Communists.”

Since Mr. Xi began abandoning his strict approach to curbing the coronavirus outbreak at the end of 2022 (measures that shut the country off from the rest of the world for about three years), he has made diplomatic efforts aimed at building China’s global standing. It’s here.

Its special feature is that it portrays China as a champion of the emerging economies known as the Global South, primarily through groups in which the Chinese government has a large voice. In August, he called on BRICS countries to quickly move forward with plans to expand membership, which would allow his policies and ideas to reach a wider audience.

And in October, it hosted the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. This is his signature infrastructure initiative event, becoming a club of countries in the Global South while Europe largely refuses to participate.

Mr. Xi is also establishing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a more important regional security group. The group has helped China forge closer ties with Russia and Iran, two of America’s biggest enemies.

He also seeks to deepen China’s influence in Central Asia as Russia focuses on the war in Ukraine. In May, Mr. Xi hosted a summit with the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to discuss closer trade and security cooperation.

Mr. Xi’s vision of a more influential China also includes the South Pacific. In a sign of Beijing’s growing interest in the region, it appointed its first special envoy for the Pacific Islands this year.

There are signs that the Chinese government is trying to revamp international institutions such as the United Nations to fit its worldview. The company is also stepping up efforts to move its manufacturing up the global value chain and gain a greater say in technical standards-setting bodies around the world, expanding its influence. ing.

China says the move is necessary because it has a voice equal to its economic influence, but it says it undermines Chinese institutions by diverting the focus of the United Nations from the human rights that protect individuals. There is also criticism.

A diplomatic conference attended by Mr. Xi this week suggested that China intends to pursue these projects in the coming years. The statement added that China “faces new strategic opportunities in its development” and “promotes new dynamics in China-world relations.”

–With assistance from Josh Xiao, Ocean Hou, Evelyn Yu, and Janet Paskin.

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