Former Party Int'l Dept Vice Minister calls for calmness facing stern int'l landscape
Ex-chief negotiator on WTO accession calls for restraint on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework
Pekingnology today presents two speeches - one in full, the other in part - from the 8th 中国与全球化论坛 China and Globalization Forum on June 19 hosted by the 全球化智库 Center for China & Globalization (CCG).
As many of you are perhaps aware, CCG, under the leadership of Dr. 王辉耀 Huiyao Wang, is a Chinese non-governmental think tank based in Beijing. In my observation, it is one of the few institutionalized non-governmental channels truly facilitating constructive dialogues in good faith between China and abroad.
Quite a few speeches were made on the occasion. The two speeches highlighted here are made in Chinese by former senior Chinese officials. CCG’s website says the transcripts haven’t been reviewed by the speakers.
All emphasis below is mine, not by CCG or the speakers.
In a speech on 中国智库应该为中国外交和中国对外开放建言献策 how Chinese think tanks should provide advice on China’s foreign policy and opening up, Long Yongtu 龙永图, Chief Negotiator for China’s resumption of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) contracting party status and its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), said
Chinese think tanks should advise China on how to improve its foreign relations and create a good development environment for our country. China-US relations have encountered some difficulties, but we should see that the economy is the ballast of China-US relations, and we should pay more attention to seeking common ground while reserving differences when discussing China-US relations.
Recently, Biden proposed the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), hoping to exclude China from the mainstream of Indo-Pacific economic cooperation. It’s not the first time that the United States to engage in this kind of thing.
When Obama was in office, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was also intended to exclude China from the framework of regional economic cooperation in Asia. In the beginning, China had a very negative view of the TPP. But there were many different views, with comrades including from the think tanks, proposing to revisit TPP.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, after a serious study, proposed to take an open attitude towards the TPP and embraced it. That was an attitude that showed our openness and generosity. Trump withdrew the U.S. from TPP, and the rest of the countries proposed CPTPP, and we are prepared to join the CPTPP through negotiations.
Now, for the IPEF proposed by Biden, we should not be too critical, and should take a more observant attitude. In the IPEF, except for the U.S. and India, which are founding members, all other members are RCEP members, and many of them are our important ASEAN partners.
We should take a cautious approach to IPEF and consider not only the position of the U.S., but also the situation of other founding members to make them feel comfortable.
Chinese think tanks should organize a research to specifically study the IPEF. That would be useful for China's participation in regional economic cooperation and especially in dealing with the United States.
This is the second thing that Chinese think tanks should do to improve China's foreign relations and offer suggestions, and what they can do now is to study the IPEF deeply.
Yu Hongjun 于洪君, former vice-minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made a speech on 中国需要在严峻的国际形势下保持冷静 China needs to remain cool-headed facing stern international relations. This is a full translation.
The situation this year is a little more complicated and tougher than last year, and the financial situation is not ideal. But I believe we can overcome the difficulties, forge ahead and do better. At present, there are the following points of concern.
First, what shall we research? We should consider the new changes in the development of the international situations and the new changes in our relationship with the outside world, and conduct some pragmatic research that matches the real needs of our country.
Now, our relationship with the outside world is very complicated, and some people say that we are striking on all sides. The public sentiment is a reflection of the national intention. We should study public sentiment and public opinion in-depth. Our foreign relations and the orientation of our national foreign policy cannot be allowed to be interpreted simplistically. We can’t allow misinterpretation and misinterpretation. We cannot be completely kidnapped by radical and irrational public opinion. In particular, we should be wary of radical populism and extreme nationalist fervor under the banner of "patriotism." We need to work on how to guard against and prevent extremism.
Second, dialogue also deserves attention. While the domestic dialogue is important, dialogue with foreign counterparts, media, and think tanks is even more important. There is a slight tendency on the Internet now: advocating dialogue with the West and communication with the U.S. is often seen as fear of the U.S. and pro-West; advocating cutting ties with the West is seen as patriotic behavior, as being brave and good at struggle. This sentiment sometimes seriously affects or prevents us from carrying out rational foreign exchanges, especially exchanges and dialogues with the U.S. and the West.
How to understand the current Russia-Ukraine conflict is a major issue that needs to be seriously studied and considered. It cannot be denied that this war has changed our view of many issues, or at least our traditional view of interpreting war. Publicity work is now very difficult, and there is great difficulty in interpreting the Russian-Ukrainian war. The occurrence and development of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict have put us in a relatively difficult position in terms of both internal and external publicity. Looking at the media and the Internet, we can all feel the awkwardness of the choice of position and the difficulty of taking a stand externally.
That’s because the war between Russia and Ukraine is too sudden, the course of the war, the expected consequences, and the long-term impact are beyond our imagination. How the Russia-Ukraine conflict changed the world order, how it changes the international rules, how it changes our relationship with the outside world, how it changes our internal and external publicity, especially on foreign exchanges and dialogue - they are posing serious challenges. We must make great efforts to deal with this challenge.
The main trends in the development of the current international situation show the following characteristics: from the perspective of globalization, I agree with the general view that the process of globalization cannot be terminated. The historical trend of human society becoming more interconnected will not change, whether it is cultural, economic, scientific and technological or financial. The process of interdependency is still progressing and expanding. Therefore, economic globalization will not be fully reversed.
However, it is an obvious fact that economic globalization is subject to great impact, interference, and challenges. Where do the challenges come from? I think there are many aspects.
First, since 2008, the financial and economic crisis in Western developed countries has led to a sharp rise in protectionism, unilateralism, and isolationism in Europe and the United States, which has caused a huge impact on economic globalization. The Trump administration’s trade war was mainly against China, but also against the entire world. The trade war waged by the US, with long-arm jurisdiction and abusive sanctions, has increased the difficulties and pressure on economic globalization.
It is also self-evident that COVID-19, which has ravaged the world, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which is so destructive, are causing major shocks to the process of economic globalization. COVID-19 has exacerbated the disruption of global supply chains. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has brought about energy and food crises, changed the global trade order and rules of financial cooperation, and significantly shaken up the methods of price calculation, settlement systems, and means of payment.
We must continue to observe, calmly respond to, and make a good study and judgment on whether Russia will stray from the process of economic globalization, and what impact the Western sanctions against Russia and the Russian countermeasures will have on the world economy and the future development of economic globalization.
From the perspective of the world multi-polarization process and the transformation of the international landscape, the Russia-Ukraine war should be said to have dealt a heavy blow to the U.S. hegemonic position in the world, comprehensively challenging or greatly shaking the world order, and even the system of international relations, long dominated by the United States and the West. On the positive side, it is possible to make such a judgment.
But on the other hand, this war has brought more shocks and challenges to the already difficult economic globalization, making it even more dire. The ensuing problem is that the global prices of raw materials and commodities have soared, and energy and food are being used as diplomatic weapons and tools of war. As a result, the future direction of economic globalization will change significantly.
In this process, the U.S. and the West are more unified and clear in seeing China as a strategic competitor and as a systemic opponent. The containment and confrontational nature of their policies toward China are more prominent.
We will undoubtedly be in a more difficult position in the new round of economic globalization. The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework proposed by the United States is a clear example.
In addition, everyone has talked that the overall world economic situation is becoming more and more severe. There may be an international economic crisis next year and the year after, which will bring more negative impact on economic globalization.
These factors are complementing each other, resulting in the extremely complex and difficult future trend of economic globalization. How we can prepare for a rainy day and prevent problems before they occur also need to be studied.
Also, there is global governance. There will be changes to the World Trade Organization, the rules of economic and trade relations, the hegemonic status of the U.S. dollar, the mode of foreign exchange reserves, the means of settlement and payment, and the mechanisms of trade arbitration and crisis mediation, and all these changes are not particularly favorable to us. Our situation of having more opportunities than challenges in economic globalization will come to an end.
Under these circumstances, there seems to be no alternative to China's continued participation in economic globalization. It should be our basic national policy and our national will to participate in the world economic process, to deepen our close ties and positive interactions with the outside world by expanding openness and foreign cooperation. We have made it very clear in terms of policy declarations, in many policy documents and leaders' speeches.
However, it is true that many experts and scholars, as well as some grassroots leaders and cadres, have from time to time made statements that they fear economic globalization and are hostile to it. They actually advocate disengagement from the globalization process and advocate a global decoupling from Europe and the U.S. Some people equate our current policy of internal economic circulation with self-reliance understood in the traditional terms, and regard internal economic circulation as shutting the door to live our own lives - a smaller place where we “一枝独秀” "outshine others” in “风景独好” “a uniquely beautiful scene.”
Faced with this situation, our research should not be academic research in the traditional sense, but should provide practical policy recommendations to policy-making departments, to decision-making bodies, and to leading organs.
We should participate in the guidance of public opinion, but we cannot rely on ourselves alone, we cannot be a loner, and we cannot just entertain ourselves. In order to carry out public opinion guidance work in the whole country and the world, relevant departments must work together. Mainstream media should do it, and so should various think tanks.
In the current situation, we must not let the Western media and public opinion seize the opportunity to create a negative impression of our country's uncertain investment prospects, poor business environment, chaotic social order, or dysfunctional institutional mechanisms. Now, everyone says that COVID-19 has changed the world, which is true. One of the most important things is that it has changed the way people think, behave and interact with each other. The way of interaction mentioned here is not only domestic interaction, but also the interaction of the international community.
Therefore, it is also important to study in-depth how the global epidemic prevention and control has evolved and how the epidemic has changed our relationship with the outside world. It cannot be said now that COVID-19 is already over, although Western countries, and also many neighboring countries, have dropped COVID-19 control measures. The struggle of human society against COVID-19 is still far from over.
There is ongoing back-and-forth around the origins of COVID-19, the ways to prevent and control COVID-19, and the path of global cooperation against it. The struggle against COVID-19 has risen to the level of a political and international struggle. Therefore, how to combine COVID-19 control and opening-up, how to combine it with our positive interactions, rather than making it an obstacle, to the outside world, needs to be seriously studied.
Finally, there is the issue of security, which is now a hybrid combining traditional and non-traditional security. Does the war between Russia and Ukraine mean that a different kind of world war has taken place? The military conflict between countries took place between Russia and Ukraine. But the economic war, financial war, technology war, information war, and humanistic war are in full swing all over the world. Does this mean that new-type, hybrid world wars, including those in the space and cyber spheres, have already taken place?
Now, we have made 丢掉幻想，准备斗争 giving up illusions and preparing to struggle an important slogan. Does that mean we have to put preparation for struggle at the forefront of everything we do?
As firmly supporting Russia's opposition to U.S. hegemony and Western-dominated international rules becomes the mainstream national will, it is especially important to think carefully about how to continue relations with the United States and other Western countries, including neighboring countries that are allies of the United States. There is a lot of room about how not to give up any opportunity and possibility to salvage the situation, as everyone has said.
On the whole, the future development of the international situation is pessimistic, or at least not optimistic. Of course, I also agree with the view that, for example, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework should be calmly observed and calmly responded to, rather than rallying the whole people and country in high-profile criticism, or a global verbal attack.
To deal with multilateral issues, it is important to consider the feelings of neighboring countries. After all, most ASEAN countries are involved in this framework arrangement. Even Fiji has become a founding member. To deal with neighboring regional issues, as always, it is important to consider our concerns and those of our neighbors in an integrated manner and to harmonize our long-term interests with the long-term interests of the outside world in an organic manner.