This article appears in the November 26, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Xi Jinping Addresses Symposium on BRI Anniversary
President Xi Jinping addressed the third Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) construction symposium in Beijing on November 18, eight years after he proposed the project in speeches in Kazakhstan and Indonesia. Since then, the BRI, highly praised by the participating countries, has met with growing hostility from the U.S., the British, and other Western governments as an expansion of China’s “soft power” and a threat to Western “rules-making” in the economic arena.
Xi stressed the three aspects of the BRI, namely, infrastructure as “hard connectivity”; “soft connectivity” (IT, the Digital Belt and Road, AI) as an important support for the former; and the “heart-to-heart” connectivity established by it in the important people-to-people relationships in the BRI countries. “Through the joint construction of the Belt and Road,” Xi said, “the level of opening up in various regions in the country has been improved, the areas of opening up to the outside world have been expanded, institutional opening up has been promoted, a wide circle of friends has been built, new ways to promote common development have been explored, and the construction of the country has been realized on the basis of mutual benefit.”
Zepp-LaRouche Interviewed by CGTN on Strategic Issues
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Schiller Institute President—long known in China and internationally as the “Silk Road Lady” for her introduction and advocacy of the New Silk Road concept going back to the 1990s—was interviewed on two programs on CGTN, China’s international English language television station—Global Business and Dialogue Weekend—in honor of the BRI anniversary.
In each interview, she stressed the urgency for Western nations to rethink their policies and to give up geopolitics and neo-colonialism, which have brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, worsening famine and persisting pandemic, while keeping nations in poverty. These conditions, and the induced strife, she said, have produced mass migrations.
In Zepp-LaRouche’s weekly podcast on The LaRouche Organization website on Friday, she added: “So let’s just build infrastructure! Let’s build up Africa! This is the natural thing, and the Chinese are doing the natural thing, and we should stop bickering about it, because we should take a moral lesson from the Chinese in this respect.”
China Celebrates 80th Anniversary of Flying Tigers’ Founding
On Nov. 16, one day after President Biden spoke with President Xi by video link, China held an anniversary celebration online from Zhongnanhai, China’s central government quarters in Beijing, in honor of the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Flying Tigers, the volunteer group of American pilots who contributed to the Chinese war effort against Japan, 1941-42. Originally organized by President Franklin Roosevelt before Pearl Harbor to support China’s resistance to the Japanese invasion, the Flying Tigers only joined the war on Dec. 20, after the Japanese had attacked the U.S.
Zheng Jianbing, the vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the second major legislative body in the Chinese national political structure, gave a speech commemorating those Americans who had piloted with the Flying Tigers in China during World War II. Qin Gang, China’s Ambassador to the United States, also gave a speech by video. U.S.-China relations face a “serious test,” he said, and pointed to the Flying Tigers as an example of cooperation needed today for tackling global issues.
“Our two countries should carry forward the friendship forged in battle by our people, rather than falling into misunderstanding, miscalculation or even conflict and confrontation,” he said. Cynthia Chennault, the daughter of Flying Tigers founder, Claire Chennault, spoke, expressing hope that “Americans and Chinese will not be blocked by past failure, but together open new paths of collaboration for the world’s well-being.”
Robin Moore, a veteran of the Flying Tigers, also spoke. “It was some of the most difficult flying in the world. You could fly on a clear day from Assam [northeast India] to China by following the shining planes that had gone down.”
U.S. House of Representatives members from California, Ted Liu and Judy Chu, also attending the forum, praised historic China-U.S. relations during the event. Chu, whose father served in the U.S. military during World War II, said the lesson of Chinese and American cooperation against fascism should inspire new efforts to fight together against global threats. “Just as the Flying Tigers showed us 80 years ago, protecting the world is all about accountability together,” Chu said. “It is only when we cooperate that we can truly address the greatest challenges.”
Flying Tiger tail gunner Bill Peterson, 95, spoke from Denver, Colorado, wearing his pilot’s hat studded with medals. “I just plain love the Chinese people,” he said. “If you ever need us again, we will always be there to help you.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore, indicated that the Biden administration would most likely lift some of the economic sanctions now placed on Chinese goods. “I know that there’s an ongoing process, as we speak, to try to figure out what would be the best approach with respect to the tariffs,” Clinton said Nov. 19 during a virtual appearance. “And I would predict that there will be some changes. But they will not all disappear, because some of them in this new reality we’re living in may well be continued.”
Clinton admitted that some of the tariffs imposed during former President Donald Trump’s trade war with China have damaged the U.S. economy, particularly those on agricultural goods. China responded to the punitive U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods by imposing tariffs on various U.S. farm products during the trade war, although it later started waiving some of them. The Biden team has been reviewing U.S. policy on China since taking office, having inherited duties Trump imposed on about $300 billion of annual imports from China in hopes of reducing the trade deficit.
Clinton, ever true to form, then went on to attack China’s “aggressive military buildup” in its alleged attempt to “dominate maritime navigation,” ignoring the fact that China is securing its borders while the U.S. and its allies are trying to raise tensions in other people’s neighborhoods.
Never one to mince words, retired Ambassador Chas Freeman, Jr. lambasted U.S. policy on Taiwan at an on-site and online forum Nov. 18 sponsored by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Freeman shared a panel with maritime scholar Lyle Goldstein, founder of the China Maritime Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School, who has been a constant critic of the aggressive U.S. policy toward the People’s Republic of China.
Freeman, who translated for President Richard Nixon on his trip to China in 1972, noted that the United States was now continually undermining the basic agreement, formalized in the three communiqués, that the United States had agreed to as a prerequisite for establishing relations with the People’s Republic of China. Those agreements established that both the U.S. and China acknowledged that there was only “one China” and that Taiwan, which the U.S. had previously recognized as the legitimate government of China during the Cold War, was only a province of China under the “one country, two systems” formula. Much of this had been undermined during the Trump Administration, which began to send U.S. officials to Taiwan, a violation of the agreement.
The Biden administration has continued to maintain this dalliance with the “Taiwan independence” crowd, at the same time it was insisting that it continued to adhere to the “One-China policy.” Such informal support encouraged the independence-minded Democratic People’s Party (DPP), now in power in Taiwan, to make even bolder moves in the direction of independence from China.
China has made clear that if independence were to be declared, it would take military action. This was also underlined by President Xi Jinping in his video meeting with President Biden.
Freeman warned that the refusal of the DPP to continue negotiations with Beijing, thereby effectively eliminating the possibility of returning to the status quo ante, in which both the PRC and Taiwan coexisted peacefully and without confrontation, is sending a dangerous message to Beijing about its ultimate intentions. Taiwan may be under the illusion that, if conflict develops, the U.S. will come to its assistance and would be willing to shed U.S. blood and treasure to prevent China’s takeover of Taiwan, Freeman said, but added that he doesn’t believe the U.S. would ever do that. He warned that if a conflict came, with or without U.S. support, the island of Taiwan would be turned into a rubble field in the process.
When representatives of the Schiller Institute raised the need for a Peace of Westphalia solution to the conflict, both Freeman and Goldstein expressed strong agreement with the Westphalian model.