China boosts relations with neighbors, partners

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/18 23:28:40 Last Updated: 2019/6/19 17:12:29

Using North Korea to pressure US? You think too much, says FM

Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd left, front) and other leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries and observer states, as well as representatives of regional and international bodies, head for group photos during the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Friday. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping has a busy schedule of foreign visits to neighboring countries in June as he visited Russia and two Central Asian countries Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the first half of the month, and is scheduled to visit North Korea this week and attend the G20 summit in Japan at the end of June.

Foreign affairs observers noted that ties with neighboring countries is always key to China's overall diplomacy, and in the complicated international arena, for instance, when the US becomes more hostile and irrational, stabilizing and improving ties with its neighbors has become increasingly important for China.

Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations, said that "ensuring no conflicts and chaos among the neighboring countries is an indication of China's overall success in diplomacy."

Unfortunately, the US, after identifying China as its major strategic competitor, has started to create trouble for China, such as pushing the so-called Indo-Pacific strategy to include regional powers to contain China, Li said.

So under this situation, China needs to reinforce its ties with friendly neighbors like Russia and Central Asian countries, and make sure the Korean Peninsula won't become tense, Li noted.

Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the department of Russia-Eastern Europe-Central Asia studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said that Xi's trip to Russia and Central Asia has been successful in further improving cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization members.

Central Asia, which is a strategically important region in the struggle among great powers, is significant for the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, Yang noted. "Reinforcing and improving ties with partners in this region will benefit China's national security and economic development."

Don't exaggerate US influence  

On Xi's upcoming visit to North Korea, some foreign media speculated that Beijing might want to use Pyongyang as a bargaining chip or leverage to pressure Washington as tensions escalate between the world's two largest economies. 

"You think too much," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a routine press conference on Tuesday answering whether China is using North Korea to pressure the US. "Don't underestimate the visit, and China's firm will to develop China-DPRK relations, and don't even link it to other issues."

October 6, 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and North Korea, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has already visited China four times, so it is natural for the Chinese leader to visit North Korea this year, Chinese experts said.

"Foreign observers and media outlets should not exaggerate the influence of the US in China's diplomacy. The US is important, of course, but China is not making its plans based on US moves," Li said.

Yu Shaohua, director of the Asia-Pacific Institute at the Beijing-based China Institute of International Studies, said that the visit was discussed long before the escalation of the trade war, and "last year, we thought the visit might take place around October 6, since it would be the date of the anniversary." 

But due to the unsuccessful North Korea-US summit in Hanoi in February and other issues on bilateral ties that need to be discussed, Chinese policymakers might think that October is late, so linking Xi's visit to North Korea with the China-US trade war is unnecessary, Yu noted.

"North Korea is never a card in China's hand since it is an independent country. China is creating an atmosphere for dialogue, but whether Pyongyang and Washington talk is up to them, so it is not something that China can unilaterally decide," Li noted.

World needs certainty

At the beginning of the year, Xi paid a crucial visit to Europe and in November, Xi is also scheduled to attend the BRICS summit in Brazil. Foreign affairs experts noted that China adds certainty to international relations, and countries which desire multilateralism, free trade and the smooth reform of globalization will increasingly welcome China to play a bigger role in global governance.

Xi has said on many international occasions that "the world is experiencing profound changes unseen in a century," and Chinese observers said that these moves on foreign affairs are all based on Xi's thoughts on diplomacy.

It is clear that China is improving or reinforcing ties with partners around the world as these countries all agreed to defend multilateralism, free trade and reforming globalization, Li said.

"China is the biggest stabilizer of the current international order while the US is adding uncertainty selfishly to harm everyone's interests," Li noted.


blog comments powered by Disqus