107. In 2014, Xi’s first visit to the Korean Peninsula as the PRC’s president had been to Seoul, not Pyongyang. 110. Beyond Beijing’s strong diplomatic activism, two main facts dominated Chinese foreign relations in 2018, highlighting the highs and lows of the process of realizing the national «dream». This article argues that the key question is whether China is about to change its approach to foreign policy, one which has enabled its “peaceful rise” in recent decades.  Meng was charged with conspiring to violate sanctions on Iran by doing business with Teheran through a subsidiary (Skycom) which she had tried to conceal.  In defense of his position, as when in 2017 New Delhi declined China’s invitation to join the first Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi spoke of the need to «respect sovereignty» in dealing with infrastructure projects. Cecily Liu, ‘BRI helps companies build global bridges of connectivity’, China Daily, 13 November 2018. Sutirtho Patranobis, ‘Wuhan Summit highlights: Narendra Modi invites Xi Jinping to India for informal summit in 2019’, Hindustantimes, 28 April 2018. , That said, at exactly the same moment the two leaders were dining together in Buenos Aires and agreeing to a «90-day trade truce», Meng Wanzhou, top executive and daughter of the founder of the Chinese tech giant Huawei, was arrested in Canada, at the request of the United States, for alleged violations of US sanctions to Iran. Sebastian Maslow & Giulio Pugliese, ‘Japan 2017: Defending the domestic and international status quo’, Asia Maior 2017, pp. India’s foreign trade policy must be aligned to its self-reliance goals. The sanctions blocked the EDD and his director from applying for export licenses and participating in the US financial system. , The importance of the 20th EU-China Summit was manifest in its lengthy final Joint Statement; due mainly to disagreements over granting «market economy» status to China, and other disputes over the South China Sea and trade, the previous two summits had ended without joint statements. Accordingly, Washington launched what the Chinese Ministry of Commerce considered as the «largest trade war in economic history» (经 济史上规模最大的贸易战). Shannon Tiezzi, ‘FOCAC 2018: Rebranding China in Africa’, The Diplomat, 5 September 2018. But the «real» war started at the beginning of July and was aimed in the eyes of the American president at resolving some long-standing issues that went far beyond trade imbalances with the PRC. Chinese foreign policy under Xi Jinping. In so doing the leadership was sending a clear message, namely that the party alone controlled China’s foreign affairs and that it would not tolerate policies or actions that might compromise China’s efforts to become a global power by 2049, the centenary of the PRC. It continued with the concentration of power in the hands of the Chinese president who collected so many significant positions to merit the designation «chairman of everything», and later being hailed as the party «core» (核心) leader.. , Many observers in their analysis pointed to the importance of the leaders’ personal chemistry as a means of dispelling the possibility of a new Cold War. , The prevailing mood at the G20 Summit in Argentina was tense, especially considering the open hostility between the two parties during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea (17-18 November), where Mike Pence warned countries in the Indo-Pacific region not to fall into the trap of Chinese debt diplomacy, instead encouraging them to choose «the better option» of American development financing. The third was similar to the time-honoured visits of foreign heads of state, and as such heavily covered in newspapers and television news bulletins. 81.  In fact, the Chinese president’s trip would have taken place at a time when the US President was pointing fingers at China for «[…] [not] helping with the process of denuclearization», due to trade tensions. Again, the IMF intervened stating the country could not afford to take on any more debt to finish the ambitious project.. Mo Jingxi, ‘Anniversary Celebrations show importance of DPRK ties, experts say’, China Daily, 10 September 2018; ‘China’s top legislator visits DPRK, attends Foundation Day celebrations’, Xinhuanet, 10 September 2018. May 31, 2018. approval of $330 million military sale to Taiwan draws China’s ire’, Reuters, 24 September 2018. Helena Legarda, ‘In Xi’s China, the center takes control of foreign affairs’, The Diplomat, 1 August 2018. But while China appears as a sensible partner in times of a fraying transatlantic relationship in some areas, Beijing’s expanding foreign policy reach increasingly puts Europe and European unity to the test (to be discussed in part 6 of this series).  Another two meetings took place on the sidelines of major events, in addition to the SCO, such as the BRICS summit in Johannesburg in July, and the G-20 in Buenos Aires at the end of November. A further step in the consolidation of the renovated Sino-North Korean strategic ties involved Li Zhanshu, chairman of the NPC, who attended the 70th anniversary celebration of the DPRK’s founding in Pyongyang in September, as Xi‘s special representative. Furthermore, Beijing had not given up the idea of establishing additional sub-regional grouping in both Northern and Southern Europe.  It is worth quoting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Cristine Lagarde’s comments: «Xi’s speech added certainty and hope to the world today, and the world needs leadership like China». Exploring China's new Central Foreign Affairs Commission. That is why according to Scott Snyder and See-won Byun: «China’s rapid revival of its traditional role as North Korea’s staunchest supporter might prove to be the more strategically significant development». , 4. The Forum, which focused on the security situation in Africa and the goal of deepening military cooperation between China and African nations, was attended by military leaders from nearly 50 African countries, clearly reflecting the expanding influence of China’s military on the continent.  Besides the hotline, the agreement provided for regular meetings between both nations’ defense officials and a mechanism for their naval vessels to communicate at sea to avert maritime incidents. The charges include bank fraud, obstruction of justice, and theft of technology. Francesca Congiu, ‘China 2018: Bringing the Party back into State Institutions’. 49. Interestingly, concern for the global economy caused by the unilateral US trade moves, especially its growing protectionist measures and trade aggression, favoured the revival of the long-stalled China-Japan-South Korea FTA talks, as well as improving relations between Beijing and Tokyo. Expenditures remain on a steady upward trajectory and show an increasing strategic focus on China’s contributions to multilateral institutions and security-related activities such as peacekeeping and conflict-resolution diplomacy. China Insists on ‘One China’ Policy for Foreign Airlines. for Us, China International Development Cooperation Agency. At the same time, according to Andrei Lankov, one of the world’s leading Korea experts, and director of the Korea Risk Group, visiting China for the third time in such a short period, Kim might be seeking to take advantage of the trade conflict between China and the US, and trying to deepen their rivalry to ensure they could not join forces against him, as happened with UN sanctions over North Korea’s weapons programme. 24. ‘Xi and Kim’s Marriage of Convenience’, Foreign Policy, 22 June 2018. Washington had only ever levied heavy fines against senior executives of US companies similarly accused of violating its sanctions regime. Here the peculiar position of India must be highlighted, it being a member of the revived quadrilateral entente, or «Quad», which besides India, includes Australia, Japan, and the US. ... China’s foreign economic policies have Daniel Hurst, ‘From Japan, US VP Denounces «Authoritarianism and Aggression»’, The Diplomat, 16 November 2018. 267-280, esp. Japan was aware that despite the security concerns, the country’s return to economic growth had been in part fueled by the Chinese economy’s growth, and that any sustained economic growth in Japan would necessarily include more, not less, trade and engagement with China. Fact Sheet: Communist Party Groups in Foreign Companies in China. In particular, Trump referred to «an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China». The «Chinese characteristics» are frequently used by Chinese leaders to indicate the adaptation of foreign ideologies or concepts to Chinese specific conditions. The vision of China’s central role in the world is matched by Xi’s central role in foreign policymaking. To this end, the British government appointed Sir Douglas Flint, former Chairman of HSBC, as its BRI envoy, to ensure that projects become more bankable and open to financiers from around the world. On previous visits by North Korean leaders, including those of Kim Jong Un’ father and grandfather, the visits were not announced until after they had left the country and were on their way home. 76.  Despite its brevity – it ended with a «90-day truce» signed in Buenos Aires by the two countries’ presidents on the sidelines of the G20 – it risked damaging the global economy. Central Asia’s paradoxical role in Chinese foreign policy 17 August 2018. This blog series will focus on concrete changes to China’s foreign policy leadership team, institutional structures, budgetary practices and personnel policies as well as of adjustments of its policy approach to Europe. ‘Xi Jinping to be first Chinese president to attend Davos World Economic Forum’, South China Morning Post, 11 January 2017; ‘Xi’s Davos visit shows Chinese wisdom, confidence’, China Daily, 20 January 2017; ‘Xi says China stays committed to upholding world peace’, Xinhuanet, 19 January 2017; Huang Zheping, ‘Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to lead the «new world order»’, Quartz, 22 February 2017; Charlotte Gao, ‘«A Community of Shared Future»: One Short Phrase for UN, One Big Victory for China?’, The Diplomat, 5 November 2017. Keegan Helmer, ‘US economist Jeffrey Sachs retreats from Twitter after criticising US’ treatment of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’, South China Morning Post, 1 January 2019. 100. Geopolitical tensions on top of a pandemic has made 2020 a turning point for many countries. 121.  A decision that, according to specialists, was consistent with the country’s emphasis on multipolarity in the Indo-Pacific region and non-bloc security architecture, but reflected at the same time Modi’s government efforts to stabilize India’s relations with the PRC. Towards the centralization of foreign policy decision-making, Since coming to power Xi Jinping has asserted himself as a strong leader and has impressed a strong guide both domestically and internationally, inaugurating a new era of proactive foreign policy, mainly symbolized by the launch of significant international initiatives. 8. Ultimately, the three visits reinforced China’s view that it was a driving force behind developments on the peninsula. On 5 December, Portugal joined the list of European countries to sign such a memorandum.  But Xi Jinping’s decision to send a representative might also be related to concerns about China appearing to support North Korea’s nuclear weapons programmes, especially considering that Kim might choose to show off his nuclear-capable ballistic missiles at the parade. In fact, analysts agreed that Kim went to China to brief Xi on the Singapore summit, seek economic assistance, as well as show respect and deference to Beijing, which for its part was eager to underline its crucial role in talks between Pyongyang, Washington and Seoul. On the other hand, the US president gave assurance of China’s inclusion in the formal replacement of the armistice with a Korean peace treaty.. This second article examines the country's foreign policy agenda, which, according to some experts on China, still lacks a grand strategy. , The Ambassadors’ report was intended to be presented during the China-EU summit in July, but reportedly it was not. 69. Us, Write Except for one country’, The Washington Post, 3 September 2018. As a result, China's foreign policy has become more active and dynamic. On the one hand, the agreement adopted by Trump and Kim which granted a de facto dual suspension of North Korean tests and US-ROK joint military exercises (so called «freeze-for-freeze approach») was similar to the proposals that Beijing had been promoting for months. This was especially so after an important agreement had been reached in May, following a decade of talks regarding the establishment of a security hotline to defuse maritime confrontations. 33. On the one hand it contributed to the thawing in relations between China and Japan, while at the same time facilitated the revival of the trilateral negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China, Japan and South Korea. 16.  For example, Poland – the biggest European 16+1 economy – was represented in Sofia by its deputy prime minister, while its prime minister stayed home to attend a pilgrimage. America Can Learn From Germany’s Response. Mark Landler & Jane Perlez, ‘At Stake When Xi and Trump Meet: The Possibility of a New Cold War’, The New York Times, 30 November 2018. 97. In 2018, China’s foreign relations were dominated by the centralization of its foreign policy-making, designed to strengthen the hold of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese president himself on the decision-making system. 6. 3. 70. Symbolically the most important visit was the first, in terms of both its timing and unexpectedness. ‘China signs MOUs with 37 African countries, AU on B&R development’, Xinhuanet, 7 September 2018. , Tensions between US authorities and Huawei have been high since 2016. 35. Asked for a comment on the visit, Aiden Foster Carter, honorary senior research fellow at Leeds University, said it would have been almost unthinkable for Kim to meet with Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump having never met Xi Jinping. These were due to both the disruptive effects of the BRI on the continent, and the Chinese strategy towards the Central and South European countries, carried out with the so-called 16+1 Group (or CEEC+1 Forum, 中国与中东欧 国家合作). The 18th SCO summit, held between 9-10 June in East China’s coastal city of Qingdao, was the first following the crucial membership expansion to include India and Pakistan in June 2017; these were grounds enough to consider it a historical summit. Furthermore, they have the potential to derail China’s carefully-laid long term plans for achieving its national «dream». «On this issue we won’t exert any pressure. As more details become known, it is time to take stock of this reorientation. 27. The key element of this process was the reform of the Chinese decision-making system, which included both the reorganization of institution building and the amendment of the former procedures of foreign policy decision-making. Reflecting our belief that the Chinese-American partnership is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, we produce close examinations of the events that shape the foreign policies of these countries. 80. 73. Foreign Policy Tailored to Fit Xi Jinping. Chinese attitudes toward immigration are growing more diverse, with many remaining neutral or positive despite alarming headlines. Yun Sun, ‘The State of Play in Sino-DPRK Relations’, 38° North, 5 September 2018.  According to Ni Feng, a specialist on Sino-US relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, «In the history of China-US relations, it has always been determined by the top leaders.» Zhang Baohui, an international relations expert at Lingnan University in Hong Kong also agreed, arguing that a successful meeting would at least «slow down the momentum of a new Cold War», while a bad one would «make that irreversible.» In this sense, the meeting was considered as «a testament to how much trade and the personal chemistry between Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi have come to dominate the relations between the United States and China. Available also in pdf – Download Pdf In 2018, China’s foreign relations were dominated by the centralization of its foreign policy-making, designed to strengthen the hold of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese president himself on the decision-making system. Saibal Dasgupta, ‘India only SCO member to oppose China’s BRI’, The Times of India, 10 June 2018. Understanding the origins and forces shaping China's foreign policy provides a framework in which to view both the changes and the continuities in Chinese foreign policy from 1949 to the late 1980s. And he launched the Belt and Road Initiative with great fanfare. 13-34. The Government’s Statement of Foreign Policy 2018 Published 14 February 2018. Jane Perlez, ‘Kim Jong-un returns to China, this time with leverage’, The New York Times, 18 June 2018. 12. James Griffiths, ‘Why Kim Jong Un Made a Secret Visit to China’, CNN, 5 April 2018.  During a meeting with Donald Tusk (president of the European Council) and Jean-Claude Junker (president of the European Commission) on the sidelines of the summit, Xi Jinping told his guests that China and the EU could not watch the old world order be destroyed and a vacuum being created. How has Xi Jinping remade China’s foreign policy apparatus? Several so-called leading small groups were established to strengthen Xi personally, and the CCP more broadly, to take charge of foreign policymaking at the expense of the Foreign Ministry. After assuming the leadership of the Party in 2012 and of the state in 2013, Xi left no doubt that he saw the shifting global environment and the relative decline of U.S. power as a strategic window for China to increase its global influence. The same Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been troubled for a long time by its inability to behave coherently due to the presence of a «cacophony of voices», i.e. Interestingly, at 2018’s summit, China mentioned neither the market-economy topic nor the issue of the arms embargo.. The current debate on the question of whether China has become more assertive involves two opposing opinions on Beijing’s foreign policy orientation. 42. 23. Understanding the origins and forces shaping China's foreign policy provides a framework in which to view both the changes and the continuities in Chinese foreign policy from 1949 to the late 1980s. 40. Photo: VCG. Meanwhile, during the year under review, China had to manage very troubled relations with the US as a direct consequence of the trade war unleashed by the Trump administration, which went far beyond trade imbalances and commercial issues. His appointment may indicate a shift from Chinese development cooperation being driven by short-term commercial benefit to subordination to longer-term strategic interests. In particular Samsung called the tariffs «a tax on every consumer who wants to buy a washing machine», while China, being the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturer, complained it would further damage the global trade environment.. 6.1.  As mentioned, during the year under review other regional trade pacts have also seen accelerated negotiations, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade pact between 16 Asian economies. 120. Lili Kuo, ‘Xi Jinping: president warns other nations not to «dictate» to Chi- na’, The Guardian, 18 December 2018. This was all the more important since, as already pointed out by Francesca Congiu in her article in this same issue, the «China Dream» had definitely taken the place of economic growth as a major source of political legitimation. U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS The United States seeks a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China. via Federico Campana 25, Torino 10125 (TO) The tragedy of China’s rapid development over the first 35 years has been wholesale environmental destruction. Thomas Eder, ‘China’s New Foreign Policy Setup’, The Diplomat, 1 August. 5. Not surprisingly the main focus of the debate was how his visit to North Korea might affect China’s difficult relations with the US.  In the report, leaked to the German newspaper Handelsblatt Global, the 27 EU ambassadors blamed China’s intention to shape globalization to suit its own interests. This could in the long term potentially derail China’s carefully laid plans, as clearly demonstrated by the attitude of India in the SCO. ‘Apec summit: Pence warns Indo-Pacific region against China’s debt diplomacy, says US offers «better option»’, The Straits Times, 17 November 2018. On June 30, 2020, China’s national legislature passed a new national security law (NSL) for Hong Kong. The move was highly criticized by both China and South Korea. 122. China-Japan: the pragmatic rapprochement. Remarks by Vice President Pence on the Administration’s Policy Toward China. Laos was no better, considering its several BRI-linked projects which included a US$ 6.7 billion China-Laos railway that represented nearly half the country’s GDP, leading the IMF to warn that it might threaten the country’s ability to service its debts. The present article focuses on China’s foreign policy which, in the year under review, was marked by a process of centralization, and culminating with the strengthening of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese president himself on the decision-making system. 63. 112. ‘Amid Tensions with America, China is turning to Europe’, The Economist, 19 July 2018. See Katsuji Nakazawa, ‘Kim Jong Un’s 21-car train was packed with gifts and much more’, Asia Nikkei Review, 9 April 2018. This DW series explores China's rise as a global superpower. 13. On 10 December, Sachs published a story entitled «The war on Huawei» stating that the Trump administration was unfairly targeting Meng Wanzhou. In addition to the overwhelming majority of countries belonging to the CEEC group, Greece, Malta and Romania (https://www.beltroad-initiative.com/ memorundum-of-understanding-belt-and-road-initiative). , The main reason for the postponement resided in the fact that Beijing remained unmoved by the loud calls from Berlin, Brussels and Paris to tone down its 16+1 activities. 18. Dorcas Wong & Alexander Chipman Koty, ‘The US-China Trade War: A Timeline’, China Briefing, 10 January 2019. This became clear at the high-level Central Conference on Work relating to Foreign Affairs on June 22 and 23, 2018.  The «Panmunjom Declaration» made explicit reference to a peace treaty among three or four parties (North Korea, South Korea, the United States, and China). 114. Chinese nationalism is often talked about as dangerous. The United States works to achieve concrete progress on U.S. interests, including ensuring Chinese support for […]  The events that occurred on the Korean peninsula confirmed the centrality of China, and Beijing’s intention to assert its role, contradicting what Chinese officials had often reiterated in the last few years, namely that Beijing had very limited influence on the entire situation and that the US, not China, held the key to solving the North Korean nuclear issue. 2, pp.  Reportedly there was intense debate in Beidaihe during the so-called «summer summit», about Xi visiting Pyongyang for the celebrations. The factions close to former leaders Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin were largely marginalized, while the personnel appointments to top foreign policy-making positions were all closely linked with the Chinese president and his major concepts and initiatives. At the same time, however, China appeared occupied in the exercise of its diplomacy of great power with Chinese characteristics, both at home – hosting three major global events – and internationally – playing a central role in the peace process that took place on the Korean peninsula. Click here to subscribe for full access. The fact that the 16+1 Group summit – held in Sofia on 6-7 July – was postponed by almost half a year from its original schedule, at Beijing’s initiative, to only a few days before the EU-China Summit, irritated many officials in Brussels and left some EU 16+1 members embarrassed. Seoul has hesitated to tighten restrictions thus far, even as health authorities predict the number of daily cases might top 1,000. At the same time China was able to play a central role in the Korean peninsula peace process which, ostensibly at least, took great leaps in the year under review. 84. The 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. Rick Noak, ‘All of Africa is now competing for Chinese money. This is why some countries have actively resisted China’s calls for them to sign BRI MoUs, while simultaneously trying to work with Beijing to improve the debt sustainability of the Initiative and ensure it meets international standards. The most emblematic cases regarded the US, with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issuing a warning to Panama and other nations in the region about the potential dangers of accepting Chinese investments, and the EU, with the aforementioned letter of condemnation of the BRI signed by 27 of the 28 EU ambassadors in Beijing (see § 6.2.). 45. The Chinese government prefers the use of the more neutral term when referring to the Djibouti base, such as «support base» (保障基地), «logistical facility» (后 勤设施), or «protective facility» (防护设施). The «great power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics» at work, As already seen in Francesca Congiu’s essay in this same issue of Asia Maior, during the first session of the 13th NPC, «Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era» (习近平新时代中国 特色社会主义思想) was introduced into the PRC’s constitution. The events that best showcased China’s new diplomatic concept and China’s opening-up drive were the three key global events the country hosted during the year under review, namely the Boao Forum for Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. 47. It has pushed all these countries to accelerate FTA talks and try to set up a firewall against the US actions»..  In other words Modi made clear that India could not accept a project that would ignore its core concern on sovereignty and territorial integrity – two main pillars of PRC’s foreign policy – and that would have the potential to greatly strengthen one of his country’s historical enemies. Author: Neil Thomas, University of Chicago. Party factions around Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin are marginalized and those in the driver’s seat are much closer to Xi personally or had a role in shaping or promoting his major concepts and initiatives, from the “Belt and Road” to the “China Dream.”. 2. About According to Xinhua, in the year under review Beijing signed 123 cooperation documents on BRI development with 105 countries (in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the South Pacific region) and 26 similar documents with 29 international organizations.. , 7.1. The Chinese state press agency Xinhua reported that during the encounter Xi referred to Kim as 你, while Kim referred to Xi as 您. In a visible break from past practice, state media reports about the conference fail to mention previous leaders and their concepts or even the party leadership, but are full of references to foreign policy projects and concepts developed under Xi. American Chamber of Commerce China 2018 American Business in China White Paper: ... can at any time use competition law to promote China’s industrial policy goals by targeting foreign firms to limit competition. Wang Cong, ‘Chaos caused by US trade aggression spurs faster regional FTA talks’. 113. The rise of China's military power represents one of the most complex and pressing foreign policy concerns confronting the next US President. In any case, the support of its main ally was probably seen as essential for the redefinition of the North Korean foreign strategy.  In mid-October the US despatched two US Air Force B-52 bombers to fly over the hotly-contested South China Sea, thus sending a clear message about China’s determination to continue to fly and sail «whenever international law allows». 57. 48. 51. South Korea's government is banking on AI as part of its post-COVID recovery. , In order to sustain this new more visible and strong profile in foreign relations, the Chinese leadership undertook a process of centralizing foreign policy-making, giving Xi Jinping and the CCP greater control to «provide strong support for opening new horizons in China’s diplomacy» ( 为开创对外工作新局面提供坚强保障). The new agricultural reforms are a necessity for Indian farmers; the Modi government, however, must do more to ally their fears.  At the same time Washington announced the sale of US$ 330 million worth of military equipment to Taiwan. 89. Michelguglielmo Torri & Diego Maiorano, ‘India 2017: Narendra Modi’s continuing hegemony and his challenge to China’, Asia Maior 2017, pp. This tendency began with the process of sinization of Marxism (马克思主义中国化) by Mao Zedong, and continued with the affirmation of the «socialism with Chinese characteristics» (中国特色社会主义) with Deng Xiaoping. 71. Additionally, they warned that European companies would refuse to sign any contract if China failed to adhere to the European principles of transparency in public procurement, as well as environmental and social standards.  That was exactly what the new concept of «great power diplo- macy with Chinese characteristics» (中国特色大国外交) implied.. Ankit Panda, ‘China’s Li Zhanshu to Visit North Korea As Xi Jinping’s Special Representative’, The Diplomat, 5 September 2018. Chinese provinces can affect the formulation and implementation of foreign Affairs Margot Wallström presented the 2018 Forum... 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