Chinese foreign policy favours communication over confrontation, moot holds

  • Expert says China wants equality and puts development first

ISLAMABAD: Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) Chairman Ambassador Khalid Mahmood Tuesday said that in an era of Trump-led disruptions, China is behaving as a responsible actor which favours communication over confrontation and focuses on the establishment of a community of shared destiny for all of humanity.

He said this at a public talk on “China’s Foreign Policy After the 19th National Congress of Communist Party of China (CPC) and its International Relations in the 21st Century.” The talk was organised by ISSI under its distinguished lecture series.

In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood spoke about how China’s continuous rise and simultaneous national rejuvenation focuses on the need to maintain an open global economy that allows China to maintain its economic development. The new theme advocated by the party congress calls for a stronger commitment to safeguarding China’s sovereignty.

He highlighted that China’s policies are in sharp contrast to the US’s protectionist and interventionist strategies

Professor Jin Canrong, associate dean at the School of International Studies, Renmin University, Beijing, during his address said, “The most important thing for any country is to modernise itself and hence command its own destiny.”

You Yi, the cultural counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, and Lijian Zhao, the Chinese deputy head of mission, also graced the occasion.

Speaking about China’s foreign policy and strategy, Professor Canrong said that the secret behind the rise of the west is that western countries command the manufacturing industry. Presently, China has the largest manufacturing industry in the world – it surpassed the United States in 2010. “The role of China’s great revolution is significant as the social structure in the country has changed.”

The society is more egalitarian, he noted, which is a requirement of a machine-based society.

China’s foreign policy framework has always encompassed big powers, its neighbourhood, the developing world and international organisations, he said.

He also said that since President Xi Jinping came into power, China has become more active globally, and is trying to establish a mechanism for cooperation by increasing spending on aid development, poverty relief and climate change. While the US wants a hierarchy, China wants equality, he said, adding that its way of global governance is UN centred and it puts development first.

“As a result, it seeks equal partnership and has a staunch principle of non-intervention,” he added.

ISSI Director-General Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, in his concluding remarks, appreciated China’s policy of major power diplomacy. He was of the view that the Chinese have reaffirmed belief in UN charter’s principles. In sharp contrast to US policymakers, China wants to advocate greater power diplomacy, an open economy and globalisation as opposed to protectionist policies.

He also said that unless one has the requisite power, any confrontational threats ring hollow and thus before embarking on tough talks, one should put their house in order, which is what China has done.