Internationally, the new Xi Jinping has arrived


Gone are the days when, on all international issues, Chinese leaders adopted a primarily modest attitude. When some 40 years ago, China launched its economic development, it was above all a question of not frightening. Beijing avoided proclaiming its intention to become a great economic power. Around the 1990s, Deng Xiaoping, while launching the reforms that would transform the country, readily repeated the need to “hide your talents, bide your time, keep a low profile and never claim your superiority”.

The perspective has changed greatly. In 2017, during the XIXe communist party congressXi Jinping referred to this formula by indicating that China no longer had to keep a low profile. Today, the country has become the second largest economy in the world, just behind the United States. And he is aiming for first place in 2049, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will proclaim the centenary of its accession to power.

Chinese interference in Canada

Everything indicates that Xi Jinping wants to promote this logic of an asserted and growing Chinese power, which is accompanied by the extension of his term as head of the CCP. And he ensured that this stay in power was unanimously approved at the congress held in October.

Thus reinforced, the Chinese number one adopts new attitudes. Until now, especially abroad, his behavior was imbued with discretion and majesty. When he moved in public, he might happen to utter a few carefully prepared words. But on November 16, in Bali where, alongside the other Heads of State, he participated in the G20 summithe launched into an unusual exercise in cold anger.

During a break in the lobby of this international meeting, he took Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to task. The latter had revealed to the press that during the interview he had had the day before with Xi Jinping, he had expressed to him the deep concerns he feels about “interference activitiesChinese in Canada.

In this country, several cases are currently making the headlines: eleven members elected to the Parliament of Ottawa in 2019 would have received Chinese funding during their election campaign; a Chinese researcher working for the state-owned Hydro-Quebec is currently imprisoned for leaking industrial secrets to China; and, recently, an investigation was opened into three illegally set up Chinese police stations in suburban Toronto.

“It’s not appropriate”

Obviously, Xi Jinping wanted to show his irritation. With a smiling face but a very firm tone, like a reprimand, he thus launched to Justin Trudeau: “Going to tell the newspapers what we said during our conversation is not appropriate.” Before adding: “And besides, that’s not how the discussion went. […] If there is sincerity [de votre part], then we should have a discussion based on mutual respect. If this is not the case, it is difficult to expect too much.”

These words, translated into English by the interpreter of Xi Jinping, were spoken in front of the cameras which were filming the conversation between Justin Trudeau and journalists. The Chinese leader has certainly noticed the presence of these media and has therefore done everything to make his dissatisfaction with the Canadian Prime Minister public.

The sequence also allows us to hear Justin Trudeau declare: “In Canada, we believe in free, open and frank dialogue, and that is what we will continue to do. […] We will continue to seek to work together constructively, but there will be things we disagree on.” Xi Jinping then raised his hands and repeated twice that he “we will first have to agree on the conditions of the discussions”. Whereupon the two men shook hands, then the Chinese leader walked away.

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, two men with reinforced roles

This trip to Bali mainly provided Xi Jinping with the opportunity to meet Joe Bidenon the eve of the G20 meeting, the 14 November. The two men know each other for having seen each other several times when one was vice-president of Barack Obama and the other a member of the leadership of the CCP, then chaired by Hu Jintao. On the other hand, since his accession to the White House in January 2021, Joe Biden has not seen the Chinese president, recluse in his country due to the epidemic of Covid-19. They only called several times.

On November 14, two characters with reinforced roles met. Contrary to the forecasts of American polling institutes, Joe Biden was not greatly weakened by the midterms at the beginning of November: the Democratic Party was not crushed by the Republicans in the House of Representatives and, in the Senate, he retains a narrow majority. As for China, in a completely opaque context, everything indicates that the Congress of the Communist Party which was held from October 16 to 22 enabled Xi Jinping to strengthen his power.

In Bali, the two leaders talked for three hours in the conference room of a large hotel. There was no joint communiqué following this meeting, but on the Chinese side it was indicated that Xi Jinping had estimated that “The current state of China-US relations does not correspond to the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples or to the expectations of the international community”. While on the American side, it was reported that Joe Biden had said: “We share, in my view, the responsibility of showing that China and the United States can overcome their differences, prevent competition from turning into conflict.”

Taiwan, “a red line”
not to cross

After these affirmations of good intentions, all sorts of points of divergence were discussed. Especially about Taiwan. Xi Jinping asserted that this issue is “a red line that should not be crossed in China-US relations. […] Resolving the Taiwan question is the business of the Chinese.” Joe Biden was equally firm in saying that the status quo that governs coexistence between Taiwan and China must be maintained. In his discussions with the press after this meeting with Xi Jinping, he added that he did not think “that there will be an imminent attempt by China to invade Taiwan”.

Economically, Joe Biden
warned that the United States would continue to “vigorously compete” with China.

Admittedly, the American president said his “concerns” about respect for human rights in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong. And economically, he warned that the United States would continue “to oppose vigorous competition” to China. But there was in this meeting an obvious desire to ease tensions. In any case, it was agreed to multiply bilateral ministerial visits in order to “keep the communication channels open”. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to visit China soon to continue discussions on international issues.

In Beijing, at the conclusion of these Sino-American talks, le journal Huanqiu Shibaopart of the People’s Daily group, wrote: “The meeting between the two heads of state in Bali showed that the two great powers still have a lot of common points of view.”

‘Most’ G20 members condemn war in Ukraine

Xi Jinping also met with several other leaders present. With Emmanuel Macron, on November 15, the interview lasted forty-three minutes. The French president said he asked for Beijing to play “a more important role of mediation” in the war in Ukraine, in order to “to push Russia to de-escalate”.

On the same day, the issue of the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv suddenly came into the news when a Russian-made missile crossed the Ukrainian border and killed two people in a Polish village. The G20 changed its agenda while Joe Biden, the NATO leadership and the Polish government quickly concluded that the Russian army was not behind this shooting. Unlike Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, who began by incriminating Russia before qualifying this accusation. Xi Jinping, for his part, contented himself with calling on the two parties, Ukrainians and Russians alike, to “keep calm».

In any case, the countries participating in the G20 have agreed on a text which indicates that “most” members of the group of twenty major economic powers “strongly condemned the war in Ukraine”. “Most” implying that Russia, represented in Bali by its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, opposed the wording of this statement. This time, however, China voted, whereas it had hitherto abstained each time the UN adopted a resolution condemning the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

Building a “balanced global digital economy”

All this news somewhat overshadowed the speech given by Xi Jinping on November 15, in which he considered that “Countries should respect each other, seek common ground across differences, strive for peaceful coexistence and promote an open global economy. No country should act to the detriment of others, or build “a little garden with high fences”.

To do this, the Chinese leader proposes in particular the construction of a “balanced, coordinated, global digital economy that benefits everyone and is characterized by mutually beneficial cooperation and common prosperity”. According to him, it is necessary “unlocking the potential of the digital economy to drive global growth”.

Among the commitments made at the end of this international meeting is the idea of ​​encouraging the world community to make wider use of technology, moving as soon as possible to the digital economy. This objective, inspired by China, appears alongside the desire to ensure the stability of energy markets or to strengthen the fight against illegal immigration.

Xi Jinping thus appears as a leader who seeks to promote much greater cooperation between countries. With, no doubt, the idea that today’s China can play a driving role in this cooperation. From this point of view, it is useful for Beijing to relax contacts with Washington. But in passing, Xi Jinping values ​​his role as leader of the Chinese Communist Party. At the same time, he always seeks to strengthen China’s economic and diplomatic presence on the international scene.


Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

*The article has been translated based on the content of Slate.fr by www.slate.fr. If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!

*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.

*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!