When Biden declared “America is back,” China worked to find ways to increase its global influence to hamper Washington’s ambitions.
Member of Congress and Secretary of State Wang Yi signaled the new US confrontation strategy at a press conference on the sidelines of the March 7 congressional session, an event that Beijing often uses to promote its diplomatic agenda. .
Mr. Wang Yi spent most of his time at the 90-minute press conference to answer questions related to developing countries and regions, from the supply of Chinese vaccines to Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. investment in infrastructure in Central Asia.
“China firmly believes that diversity is a distinct feature of human civilization. Differences in the political system should not be a reason for confrontation, but should be an opportunity for dialogue and exchange.” Mr. Vuong said.
China focuses on the developing world, as Washington seeks to revive its transatlantic alliance with the European Union (EU) and gathers the four countries of the United States, Australia, Japan and India (the Quartet) as part of its strategy effort. against Beijing’s influence.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China opposed an attempt to rally a group led by the US. He also emphasized that Beijing always supports developing countries, when announcing that China has sent Covid-19 vaccine to more than 35 African and 12 Latin American countries.
Wang praised China’s growing trade relationship with the Middle East and Latin America, as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with 14 Asia-Pacific economies. He added that Beijing will continue to push for the Belt and Road lawsuit, despite reports of a number of projects that have been delayed due to the pandemic.
“The deep friendship between China and Africa was formed in the arduous struggle for national freedom and independence. We are comrades and brothers,” Mr. Wang replied to questions from reporters. Egyptian tablets.
Pang Zhongying, professor of international relations at China Marine University, said that Foreign Minister Wang showed a desire to win support from developing countries in the context of the US leading efforts to contain China.
“The Biden administration is looking to strengthen the US-led coalition against China. The current international environment is a big challenge for China,” Pang said. “During Mao Zedong’s time, China received support from ‘iron brothers’ in the developing world like Albania and Cambodia. But building such sphere of influence in today’s world is one. challenge”.
Pang said the coup in Myanmar last month was a test to limit China’s influence in the “backyard”. As the conflict in this Southeast Asian country worsened, China asserted it was Myanmar’s internal affairs and vetoed the United Nations Security Council’s efforts to condemn the army.
Foreign Minister Vuong said on March 7 that China will continue to contact all parties in Myanmar and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and affirmed that friendly relations will not change “injustice. Tells what has changed in Myanmar “.
However, Pang also said that Beijing’s influence could be limited. “Myanmar’s situation presents another challenge as it is not clear what role China can play to mediate the conflict,” he said.
At the event on March 7, Foreign Minister Wang also announced that China and the Arab countries had agreed to hold the summit at the end of this year. Developing countries have always been central to China’s foreign policy strategy, said Ilaria Carrozza, senior research fellow at the Oslo Peace Research Institute.
“The Middle East is a slightly newer region for China, because so far Beijing has limited engagement in areas with difficult or still conflicting political situations. But under the Belt and Road initiative. The way, China now has large-scale agreements with countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), “said Ms. Carrozza.
Carrozza argues that China has long sought to promote relations with “friendly” countries, in order to win support for a stance or resolution at the United Nations Security Council. But Beijing may find it difficult to achieve this goal if the United States regains confidence from its EU ally lost under former President Donald Trump.
“The US has been pursuing the US-centric stance and has made it easier for China for the past few years to push forward counterbalancing ideas with the US. But if Biden reunites with his ally, I think there will be a lot of trouble. with China whether it is economic, strategic or diplomatic, “she said.
Not only increased influence in the developing world, China also signaled seeking to ease relations with two major countries, India and Japanin the midst of a time when the US is pivoting more towards the Asia-Pacific region.
Faced with Japan’s concerns about the new maritime law, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the law does not target any particular country. He added that the two countries can support each other to organize sporting events such as the Olympics.
“Improved Sino-Japanese relations will benefit the people of the two countries, mutual peace and stability in the region. It should not be taken as a matter of fact that we need to cherish it,” Vuong said.
Chinese analysts say Beijing is concerned about uncertainties in relations with Japan as the Biden administration pushes for ties with Tokyo. “Stable Sino-Japanese relations are important for China,” said Wang Ping, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The White House will seek Japanese support on issues such as human rights, Hong Kong and Taiwan, according to Lian Degui, a Japan expert at Shanghai University of International Studies. “This will cause many difficulties for Sino-Japanese relations and bring many challenges in the future,” Lian said.
In addition to Japan, China’s foreign minister also expressed hope to resolve tensions with India as the two neighboring countries try to negotiate to escape the conflict along the common border.
“China and India should be friends and partners instead of intimidation and competition. We should help each other grow,” he said.
Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategy studies at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, said the Chinese diplomat’s comments show Beijing wants to minimize direct confrontation with India.
“China wants to reduce its military confrontation with India on the border, because it has too many tense fronts with the neighboring region after aggressive actions,” he said.
However, Madhav Das Nalapat, director of the department of geopolitics and international relations at Manipal University, said the relationship between the two countries will not have a sustainable progress if the border problem is not resolved.
“China wanted from the beginning a policy of separating borders from the question of trade and cooperation within the World Trade Organization or any other international issue. India has the same view but understands the bilateral relationship. The country can only really be rebuilt if there is an acceptable solution to the border issue, “he said.
Thanh Tam (Follow SCMP)