With the world on the brink of a nuclear war with the United States pressuring the countries of South Asia to support Ukraine in their “proxy” war against Russia, China is taking the lead in calling for reasoning and peaceful dialogue.
In a landmark speech at the Boao Forum for Asia’s Annual Conference 2022, President Xi Jinping introduced a global security initiative aimed at de-escalating the conflict. One of his key proposals at the conference was to resolve “differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts that promote a peaceful solution to crises, reject double standards and oppose the ruthless use of unilateral sanctions and long-armored jurisdiction.”
How is China different from the United States?
President Jinping’s remarks were probably the result of growing alarms in Asia that a US-led conflict is brewing in their region, which could blow up full-scale war and cause countless devastation. Plus, what’s more alarming is when US media outlets like The New Yorker openly declare that the United States is in a “full proxy war with Russia,” and the U.S. Secretary of Defense defiantly states that the United States’ goal is to “weaken” Russia. According to journalist Caitlin Johnstone, “US officials are leaking allegations to the press that US intelligence has directly facilitated the killing of Russian generals and the sinking of a Russian warship.” She claims that the Biden administration is deliberately obstructing diplomatic efforts and fueling the conflict further with acts of war.
Washington’s long-term plan to weaken Russia and counter China’s growing power, as is often stated in RAND reports, is being implemented through the country’s proxy war in Ukraine, sending billions of dollars of weapons and Western mercenaries.
To weaken Russia and isolate China, Washington has launched a campaign through its global media network that puts pressure on countries to support Ukraine, using the same narrative it used when it destabilized the Middle East and Afghanistan, ‘democracy’ ‘human rights ‘based on the American’ rule-based order. ‘
The same rule-based order that the United States is trying to impose on Pakistan to isolate it from Russia and China was apparently made clear in a Fox News interview in which the American analyst for national security and defense, Dr. Rebecca Grant, admitted that Imran Khan’s government was ousted because of “anti-American policies.” She then goes on to send a message to the Pakistani establishment to “support Ukraine, stop looking for agreements with Russia, limit their commitment with China. “
US pressure to support the war in Ukraine against Russia may have reached its goal in Western countries, but faces problems in forcing South Asia, Africa and Latin American countries to follow suit. Developing nations have seen through the facade of America’s fluctuating policies with “us and them”, over ten years ago “them” were Islam and Muslims, and today it is Russia and China.
Have the developing countries finally opened their eyes?
Unlike Western leaders, developing countries have understood the geopolitical changes and valued newly formed strategic alliances in a region dominated by China and Russia. China’s rapid economic growth has enabled China to become a significant leader on the Asian continent with development projects implemented far and wide, giving weaker economies an opportunity to get out of poverty.
This refusal on the part of the United States to understand the new geostrategic reality of shifting balances of power is clearly highlighted when Washington wants Pakistan to “limit its engagement with China.”
Most Pakistanis are aware that neo-colonialism had transformed their country into a vassal state that was exploited for its resources and wealth through organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank, whose “debt traps” ensured underdevelopment continued to benefit Western interests.
While China, on the other hand, has given Pakistan a chance to develop its economy by helping finance and implement energy and infrastructure projects. China has been a close ally of Pakistan for 70 years, and this relationship developed further after President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to Pakistan in 2015, which laid the foundations for a strategic and economic partnership through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Since then, the CPEC has created over 70,000 jobs and more on the way, bringing in billions of dollars in direct investment. Aside from the development of Gwadar Harbor as a key logistics hub crucial to trade routes from the Belt Road Initiative, it has alleviated the problems of power shortages through energy projects that include water, solar, wind and coal-fired power plants.
This relationship between China and Pakistan has a long history and is based on non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, first established by the Bandung Conference in 1955, which outlined the five principles of coexistence, including ‘economic cooperation’ and ‘non-interference’ in a nation’s internal affairs. China seems to have adhered to all these principles with a particular focus on ‘economic cooperation’.
In stark contrast to Western practice, where neo-colonial exploitation practices involve punishing economic sanctions if there is opposition to the American rule-based order. Currently, several countries are under sanctions, including Cuba Iran Venezuela, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Russia. American exceptionalism does not realize that the more countries it sanctions, the more “anti-America” sentiments grow, resulting in these nations seeking against China for economic support. China’s planned Silk Road and economic projects have given developing countries an opportunity to be less dependent on Western financial institutions and debt-prone rescue operations.
What is the way forward?
Even before BRI was introduced in 2015, China had made a name for itself much earlier by adhering to the Bandung principles of helping developing countries, when in the 1970s it financed and built the Tazara Railway, later called the “Great Uhuru Railway”, which provided the landlocked country of Zambia with a 1,860-kilometer connection to Tanzania so that it could export its copper to international markets without crossing white minority-controlled territories.
Since then, China has become a major source of development funding in Africa, building a huge high-speed rail network, with two of its largest investments in East Africa being the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway and the Kenya Standard Gauge Railway. The new lines are fast and extremely efficient, transporting millions of tons of goods a year, which helps improve regional trade. Under BRI, Beijing has funded more than 3,000 strategic infrastructure projects in the region.
Latin American countries are also seeking China after the intergovernmental body of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) signed an agreement with Beijing earlier this year to strengthen economic cooperation, including trade, investment and development.
It has become common knowledge in developing countries that ‘while the United States destroys through wars, China builds economies. ‘After the United States withdrew from Afghanistan, it left the country with a destroyed and weak infrastructure and then continued to withhold its foreign currency, which irritated poverty, hunger and malnutrition, causing countless deaths. China introduced the “Tunxi Initiative”, which brings together foreign ministers and senior representatives from Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to support Afghanistan’s economic reconstruction in areas such as humanitarian aid, communications, economics, trade, agriculture, energy and capacity building.
During President Jinping’s keynote address at the Boao Conference in April, he stressed that China “will always be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of international order.” His speech was particularly relevant to the people of Asia as he acknowledged their suffering through “hot and cold wars, hardships and hardships”, but stressed that “Peace and stability in our region do not automatically fall into our lap or come as charity from any country “, but must be worked for through” joint efforts “.
He went on to say “The five principles of peaceful coexistence and the Bandung spirit, first advocated by Asia, are all the more relevant today. We should respect such principles as mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence, follow a policy of good neighborliness and friendship and make sure we always keep our future in our own hands. “
The author is a London-based journalist. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policies of Global Village Spaces.