This article appears in the April 29, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
President Xi Calls for a Global Security Initiative
Speaking at the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference April 21, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a Global Security Initiative, reflecting some of the main concepts that have been underlined recently by Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche.
“It has been proven time and again that the Cold War mentality would only wreck the global peace framework, that hegemonism and power politics would only endanger world peace, and that bloc confrontation would only exacerbate security challenges in the 21st Century. To promote security for all in the world, China would like to propose a Global Security Initiative as follows:
“It is important that we stay committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable world peace and security, stay committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, uphold non-interference in internal affairs, and respect the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by people in different countries; stay committed to abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, reject the Cold War mentality, oppose unilateralism, and say no to group politics and bloc confrontation; stay committed to taking the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously, uphold the principle of indivisible security; build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security; stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, reject double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction; stay committed to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains, and work together on regional disputes and global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity.”
Shenzhou-13 Crew Returns from Six Months on Space Station
The return of China’s record-long Shenzhou-13 mission April 16 ended a six-month stay at the Tiangong space station with a three-person crew. One major goal was to prepare the station for future groups of taikonauts, who will complete the assembly of the station, scheduled to be finished by the end of this year.
The Shenzhou-13 crew was responsible for unpacking some of the science instruments which will be used for experiments on the station. They also performed two spacewalks, conducted more than 20 different science experiments, and delivered two live educational lectures. The Chinese astronauts also took questions from American students. Students were gathered at the Chinese Embassy in Washington and online April 11 to see a video of the questions and answers. During the first spacewalk, the taikonauts installed the robotic arm’s suspension and adapter and tested its equipment. On the second spacewalk, they deployed an external “panoramic camera,” installed a foot restraint platform, and tested various methods of moving objects outside the station with the space arm.
Visiting the Wenchang Space Launch Center April 15, President Xi Jinping said that the Center should be built into a world-class spaceport. He revealed that the facility will serve China’s new-generation heavy-lift carrier rockets and play a significant role in the country’s deep-space exploration endeavors.
At the same time, the China space authorities made clear that the Chinese space station will be open for experiments and astronauts from every country in the United Nations. Responding to a question from reporters April 18, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that this is the only space station that will be open to every member of the UN, and that there is a joint program between China and the UN to bring developing countries into space exploration.
The successful Shenzhou-13 will be followed by six missions over the next nine months while the station’s construction is being completed, Hao Chun, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, told reporters April 17. These include two manned and two cargo missions.
China Faring Well in Crisis-Ridden Period
While Bloomberg and other financial media are wringing their hands over the reduction in China’s growth rate, warning that it will have disastrous results because of China’s continued Zero-COVID policy, figures released April 18 by the State Council don’t look at all bad under the circumstances.
China’s GDP was up 4.8% year-on-year. Value added in primary industry (agricultural industry and associated services) was up by 6%, secondary industry (manufacturing) was up by 5.8% and the tertiary industry (services) was up by 4%. Total value added by industrial enterprises went up by 6.5%, and high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing increased by 14.2% and 8.3% respectively. Imports and exports increased by 10.7%, with imports gaining 7.5% and exports rising by 13.4%. Investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) reached 10,487.2 billion yuan, up by 9.3% over that of the previous year. Specifically, the investment in infrastructure was up by 8.5% year on year; that in manufacturing up by 15.6%; and that in real estate development, up by 0.7%.
These figures don’t generally get much consideration from the financial markets, but they are crucial to the economy’s present and future productivity. It’s noteworthy that fixed-asset investment in the U.S. economy is estimated by the Federal Reserve to be growing at an 0.1% pace, with China’s having grown by 9.3%.
While cases of COVID have increased in Shanghai, a major industrial city, the COVID crisis in China’s Northeast has subsided somewhat, allowing farmers to go back to their fields for spring planting. And while a strict COVID policy is being implemented in Shanghai in those districts most affected, industrial production is coming back, with the Tesla Shanghai “mega-factory” now again in full operation. The policy will be alleviated as the epidemic subsides, which, thanks to the strict COVID policy, it will do. And people’s lives, as well as livelihoods, will be saved.
China’s U.S. Ambassador Visits America’s ‘Heartland’
China’s Ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, received a very warm reception April 21 at the U.S.-China High-Level Agricultural Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa, sponsored by the U.S.-China Heartland Association. Ambassador Qin traveled personally to Des Moines for this event with his wife, as part of a three-day tour, visiting farms and agricultural facilities in the Midwest.
There was also enthusiastic discussion at the event about the earlier visits to Iowa by Xi Jinping, both as a young man and as Vice President, and with his father, Xi Zhongxun, who had also visited Iowa earlier. There was also a discussion by the American moderator, Ambassador (ret.) Kenneth M. Quinn, about the relationship between Iowa’s Norman Borlaug (well known for his agronomy work in China) and China’s Yuan Longping, the “father of hybrid rice.” The whole atmosphere was in stark contrast to the general view in Washington, where China continues to be demonized by a large section of the political establishment.
The only disconcerting moment at the event was when Nicholas Burns, the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to China, who was on by video, gave his remarks. While he was very cordial and welcomed Ambassador Qin to the new posting, Burns noted that Ambassador Qin had traveled widely in that United States since becoming ambassador¸ including a visit to California, and “hoped” that he (Burns) would have the same opportunity in China.
Burns also was keen on listing the differences the United States had with China, noting how “we hold dear” the values of freedom of press, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. He urged China to live up to its commitments made in the U.S. trade deal, saying that this was “so important” to America’s farmers. Qin Gang had previously gone through the figures showing the tremendous increase in agricultural trade with China during the last year.
Xi: Division into Blocs Will Bring Down World Economy
In his April 21 Boao Forum speech, Chinese President Xi addressed the attempt by the Western governments to “decouple” from Russia and China. He issued a warning on the international economy:
“In this day and age, the international community has evolved so much that it has become a sophisticated and integrated apparatus. Acts to remove any single part will cause serious problems to its operation. When that happens, both the victims and the initiators of such acts will stand to lose. In today’s world, unilateralism and excessive pursuit of self-interest are doomed to fail; so are the practices of decoupling, supply disruption and maximum pressure; so are the attempts to forge ‘small circles’ or to stoke conflict and confrontation along ideological lines. Instead, we need to embrace a global governance philosophy that emphasizes extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, promote the common values of humanity, and advocate exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations ...”
Xi also stressed the need to continue efforts to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in particular with regard to the developing countries, and urged the world to move forward to address “uneven and inadequate development.” For that purpose, he urged implementation of the Global Development Initiative which he had proposed in the UN General Assembly Debate in September 2021.