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X lost his chance in Asia

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The mainstream narrative in China portrays Xi Jinping as a statesman, a strongman, and a philosopher who has emerged great since he took over in March 2013. He has absolute power and holds the reins that catapulted the world. success of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Building a decidedly nationalist platform guided by his unique doctrine recognized as “Xi Jinping Thought” (officially, “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”), President Xi sought to bring back glory medieval period of China, thus inviting comparison to the legendary Mao Zedong.

Now, with the fifth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, the Party has mandated the annual convention to map the government’s agenda for the future to be held later in October 2020, Xi faces a test of its policies, ideologies and strategies. Many are watching closely Xi Jinpings’ promise to the Chinese people about building a “Community with a Shared Future for Humanity” (CSF), the cornerstone of its foreign policy in the Asian neighborhood. Observers are also monitoring how it behaves in the post-pandemic period and whether it can continue to achieve everything it had planned even as Beijing quickly loses diplomatic ground in an emerging (and hostile) security environment.

Considering taking on Asian-centric leadership in global politics, Xi introduced the CSF initiative in 2015 in his keynote address to the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in which he encouraged the creation of partnerships. bilateral organizations that engage in broad consultation and enhance mutual understanding so that nations treat each other as equals. Hailed as an attempt to promote liberal institutionalism, the CSF reflected a vision that protected multilateralism, encouraged it over any pretense of unilateralism, and promoted a win-win mindset as opposed to gambling ideas. zero sum. Today, X is Beijing’s vision and commitment to the same ringing trough. In fact, even as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic while dreadfully preparing for its aftermath, a China led by Xi appears to have abandoned all pretense of its commitment to the ideals enshrined in the CSF.

At the CCP National Congress meeting in 2017, Xi said that to actualize the CSF’s vision, China must pursue peaceful development, safeguard world peace, and maintain international order. However, 2020 has shown China in stark contrast, with its aggressive military maneuvers both on land and at sea, its eagerness to assert dominance in its neighborhood, and its contempt for a rules-based international order. In addition, China’s revisionist tendencies have led to a degradation of bilateral or multilateral relations, reflecting an apparent abandonment of win-win cooperation for harmonious relations.

Instead of being a responsible world leader, Beijing was in a unique position to assume had it exercised its soft diplomatic power effectively, Chinese initiatives (such as its mask diplomacy and the Silk Road of health) have unraveled the underlying motives of the country’s self-interest behind humanitarian aid and assistance. . Moreover, Beijing’s so-called “good neighbor” vision and policy of generosity have been replaced by blatant aggression. When Australia, China’s longtime trading partner, called for an independent investigation into the origins and early management of the pandemic, China launched severe retaliatory sanctions (even asking students to boycott Australian universities ), their bilateral relations have only worsened since. At the same time, its military adventurism in the East and South China Seas has intensified by leaps and bounds, leading to a deterioration in relations with Japan and the nations of Southeast Asia.

The exodus of Japanese manufacturers from China, aided by a $ 2.2 billion stimulus package to move to other Southeast Asian countries or to return home, highlights growing mistrust of Tokyo to Beijing. Japan has also shown stern disapproval of China’s national security law imposed on Hong Kong, offering asylum to citizens of the city. In its strongest statement to date, ASEAN condemned Beijing’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo while urging adherence to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

With India in particular, relations with China are on the brink of war, with the two countries facing each other along the Line of Effective Control (LAC). Since the Galwan Valley clash in June, tensions have steadily increased with largely unsuccessful peace talks as the two brace for a long-standing, high-stakes, high-altitude standoff in a foreseeable future. Taiwan has also been subjected to Beijing’s revisionist tendencies. China has stepped up its military build-up around the self-governing island, repeatedly penetrating Taiwanese airspace and leading it to call for the formation of a global coalition if there is a (very real) possibility of war. Even countries in Asia and the Indo-Pacific like Mongolia, South Korea, and New Zealand have witnessed the rise of China as a revisionist power with little respect for international laws and standards despite ideology which it publicly supports.

In this sense, China’s manifest commitment to the CSF has only become more ironic, even hypocritical. His commitment to promoting a pluralistic world order has been reduced to a simple narrative aimed at propelling his own rise. Beyond the principles of parity and mutual respect, what motivates the Chinese vision is the underlying subtext of an otherwise benign conceptualization: the conviction that China must play a role of global leadership commensurate with its vast and ever-increasing capacities and that its deeper integration must necessarily mean a reorientation of the existing order under Chinese socialist values.

Interestingly, Beijing quickly used the CSF, also known as the Community of Common Destiny, as a foreign policy tool to solidify ties with its neighbors even as its relations with other states, especially the United States, deteriorated. Xi has attempted to use the pandemic outbreak that originated in China’s Wuhan province to highlight the challenges facing the human race as a whole. A popular narrative emerging in Chinese media is that the design of Xis CSF has gained a vivid new interpretation in the post-pandemic era in which China can converge global synergy and lead an international response to the virus. In this vein, Xi pleaded for the urgent need to build a community with a common future for humanity and sought to step up cooperation with some states in each Asian area, including Kazakhstan, Cambodia and Afghanistan. .

Beijing’s political goodwill has always met strong resistance from around the world, even Europe realizing the dangers of China’s wolf-warrior diplomacy. Devastated by the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the EU has found Chinese aid unreliable (with shoddy test kits being returned from China) and an aggressive attempt to weave a web influence on the continent. In other words, it was interpreted as an attempt by China to promote its own interests through what many believed to be a crisis of its own origin.

The overall notion of the CCA is inherently good, so much so that it has already been welcomed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, and is invariably integrated into many already existing principles as well as in initiatives under the multilateral auspices. United Nations. However, Xis’ vision remains far removed from his actual actions, policies, and intentions. If Beijing is to truly embrace multilateralism, sovereign equality and mutually respectful partnerships to create a bright and shared future for humanity, it must locate its rise in the existing international order, putting Asia first in trust more than any other region of the globe.

Jagannath Panda is Research Fellow and Center Coordinator for East Asia at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyzes, New Delhi. He is the series editor for Routine studies on Think Asia.

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