Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a message during the three-day G7 foreign ministers’ meeting: It is not the US’ purpose to try to contain China or to hold China down, but to defend “the international rules based order.” And issues over the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the island of Taiwan are related to whether China is abiding by international rules. As some foreign media outlets suggested, the theme of this G7 foreign ministers’ meeting is to address the challenges posed by China and Russia.
Blinken rejected claims of a “Cold War” between the US and China and made it clear that the US does not want to contain China. If Washington really thinks so, it is welcome. But the world would not believe such statements from Blinken, otherwise Western media outlets wouldn’t keep asking the Biden administration the same question.
Blinken was probably more forced to clarify the position because he knows that Washington cannot push Europe and Japan to really decouple from China. Though they have differences with China, those countries need to cooperate with China on certain issues. The so-called new Cold War is unpopular to all. To win over its allies, the US must hide its edge while stop forcing its allies to follow its anti-China policy too closely.
In the past few months, it is seen that the new US administration is saying one thing and doing another. They are sparing no effort in fomenting hostility toward China in American and Western society, and have gone even further than the Trump administration in attacking China over issues concerning Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Moreover, they are dividing the world more systematically and building strategic confrontations. They have just adjusted their approach in an attempt to achieve that step by step.
There are signs that US political elites have either recognized or anticipated the aging and declining competitiveness of the American and Western way of governance, and are well aware that they are no longer capable of launching substantial reform. They hope to create a fundamental opposition, with which they can forcibly create an international system dominated by Western countries, excluding China and Russia, and maintain the hegemony of the US with the existing economic and technological stock advantages of the West. They hope that this new pattern will evolve through one conflict after another with China and Russia.
We need to warn Washington that it is playing a strategic game with fire and that it will never succeed.
The combined power of China and Russia is far greater than that of the former Soviet Union-Eastern Europe bloc. The economic, scientific and military strength of China and Russia is not only huge in scale, but also has wider implications for the whole world. If anyone tries to ride roughshod over this fact and pushes China and Russia to join forces in a desperate fight, that must be its nightmare.
Both China and Russia are strategically restrained. They are committed to upholding the international system with the Charter of the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law. Both China and Russia have very specific frictions left over from history with their neighbors, and both countries have exercised restraint. If the US and the West want to encourage individual countries to confront China and Russia, they will bring disaster to them. China and Russia are working patiently to solve the problem. We hope that no country or political force will be tempted by Washington to attack China and Russia like throwing a straw against the wind.
Any Western country that is encouraged to decouple from China will be on a loss-making journey. Their best option is to strike a balance between China and the US to the maximum extent, without offending the US openly while at the same time avoiding confrontation with China. It would also be in those countries’ interests to tone down confrontation rather than intensify it toward Russia.
Washington has been roping in allies to unite against China and Russia, but China and Russia have never turned to an alliance-like linkage. This is the goodwill of Beijing and Moscow. But the more the Western countries strengthen their antagonistic alliance against China and Russia, the more the two countries will be inclined to jointly deal with it. This is the basic rule of politics. Undoubtedly, the China-Russia strategic unity will first target against US hegemony. Other forces should not get carried away and think the US has their back. They should not proactively instigate the dispute and avoid being a target of China and Russia to warn other countries.