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Chinese-style diplomacy: take it or leave it

There is this thing called socialist diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for a new era. We are talking about several publications from Beijing, dedicated to the 20e Congress of the ruling party on October 16, an event that only happens once every 5 years. It is natural that any ruling party in the world tries in such cases to assess its achievements and to define the tasks for the future.

We, the neighbors of China, should be interested in this general review and besides the economy, the subject must be China’s foreign policy. So if China says there is its own diplomacy, we should be interested. Especially when publications from Beijing say that this kind of diplomacy is not an idea for the future, but something that has been around for years. Russia, at least, is carefully monitoring China’s global activities beyond its borders.

You can scan the People’s Dailyan official source for such cases, and learn about China’s national goal of “building a new type of international relations characterized by mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation”, in order to build “a global development community with a shared future and a global security community for all”.

This basically means that China wants a new world with “shared benefits”, and proposes “reform of the global governance system with fairness and justice”, to create a family of nations where there is no place for “outdated zero-sum games”. and the ‘winner takes all’ approach.

This, of course, is a case of a huge verbal exercise in idealism, but then, if you want to do something, you have to be idealistic and formulate the best result of your effort.

Diplomacy is only a tool to achieve these and other goals. So, is there a uniquely Chinese style of negotiation for this ideal future world? At the very least, Chinese diplomacy has one typical characteristic, which is that China hates pressuring its partners to do something they don’t want to do. It’s not idealism, it’s just cold logic. You bludgeon your partner today, but you’ll have to work harder tomorrow.

Essentially, China sees its diplomatic style as a way to capitalize on the mistakes others make on the world stage. Look at yet another publication in the same Beijing newspaper with a telling title – For the United States, there is no diplomacy, but all coercion. It’s when you don’t necessarily start wars, as America often does, but when you achieve your goals if not with violence, at least with the threat of punishment for non-compliance. Importantly, the paper says, “American coercion does not discriminate friend from foe. To keep China in science and technology development and long-term growth, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proposed a “clean grid” initiative, attempting to technologically decouple from China and appeal to its allies and partners, knowing that it would. brings them no benefit”. And this is precisely the style that China should avoid at all costs because it only brings short-term benefits.

Should we take this Chinese idea seriously? After all, we are talking about a nation, comparable to the United States in many ways, and openly striving to restore its historic status as one of the world’s superpowers. You are defending your interests, not someone else’s, in such cases, are you not? Show me a nation that wants to diminish its influence, and I’ll show you my surprise.

Be that as it may, Russian experts and the political community take these Chinese attempts to build a new type of international relations, characterized by mutual respect, very seriously. At least that’s because “coercive diplomacy” is totally unacceptable to Moscow, and moreover, it constantly fails everywhere.

So there is – as just one example of this serious approach – a project, sponsored by the Moscow Higher School of Economics and the Russian Foreign Council, combining the efforts of several young scholars studying various diplomatic doctrines of nations non-Western. The director is Anastacia Pyatachkova, who is also a sinologist. His deputy, Sofia Akhmanayeva, researches India’s foreign policy concepts. The idea of ​​the project is simply to compare all these concepts favored in Asia, Africa or Latin America, which will inevitably lead you to the conclusion that the world, most of almost 200 nations, may differ on secondary issues, but is united in rejecting the current heavy-handed foreign policy, whoever leads it. This diplomacy has Chinese characteristics, or at least an idea of ​​it – take it or leave it, but it is very similar to these ideals of most parts of the world.

Does this mean that we are really going to have a new set of rules for the world of tomorrow? And why not.

Now there are other examples of Russian research on Chinese diplomacy. An article that is part of the mentioned project shows that there are Russian experts closely following China’s internal debate on the issue. We in Moscow are well acquainted with several very different Chinese schools of thought, from cold realists to Confucian moralists, and are aware of their influence in government circles.

And then there is an article in the International Life magazine, listing in detail every idea of ​​the US propaganda campaign against Beijing. We know what Americans are saying about China’s “cyberwar” against the West, what they think about the global battle for economic influence, and so on. All in all, everything China does is supposed to be some kind of Hybrid War on a global scale. , and everyone in this world is supposed to be afraid of China.

The general rule here is simple. Whatever a western government does in this world of ours is right. Whatever China (or Russia, or anybody else) does is wrong, even if we are talking about the same kind of actions.

One really begins to dream of a “world of fairness and justice” after reading all this.

The author is a columnist for the website of the Russian state agency ria.ru, as well as for other publications. Views are personal.

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