Tag Archives: Xi Jinping

Why BRI Is Back with a Bang in 2023, by Pepe Escobar

The Eurasian axis the U.S. is trying to thwart becomes increasingly interconnected and increasingly strong. From Pepe Escobar at unz.com:

The year 2022 ended with a Zoom call to end all Zoom calls: Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping discussing all aspects of the Russia-China strategic partnership in an exclusive video call.

Putin told Xi how “Russia and China managed to ensure record high growth rates of mutual trade,” meaning “we will be able to reach our target of $200 billion by 2024 ahead of schedule.”

On their coordination to “form a just world order based on international law,” Putin emphasized how “we share the same views on the causes, course, and logic of the ongoing transformation of the global geopolitical landscape.”

Facing “unprecedented pressure and provocations from the west,” Putin noted how Russia-China are not only defending their own interests “but also all those who stand for a truly democratic world order and the right of countries to freely determine their own destiny.”

Earlier, Xi had announced that Beijing will hold the 3rd Belt and Road Forum in 2023. This has been confirmed, off the record, by diplomatic sources. The forum was initially designed to be bi-annual, first held in 2017 and then 2019. 2021 didn’t happen because of Covid-19.

The return of the forum signals not only a renewed drive but an extremely significant landmark as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched in Astana and then Jakarta in 2013, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary.

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Xi of Arabia and the petroyuan drive, by Pepe Escobar

Bit by bit the dollar is losing its reserve currency status. If the Middle East and China do their oil business in currencies other than the dollar, particularly the yuan, it will hasten the process. From Pepe Escobar at thecradle.co:

Xi Jinping has made an offer difficult for the Arabian Peninsula to ignore: China will be guaranteed buyers of your oil and gas, but we will pay in yuan.

 
https://media.thecradle.co/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Chinas-Xi-and-the-GCC-countries.jpg

Photo Credit: The Cradle

 

It would be so tempting to qualify Chinese President Xi Jinping landing in Riyadh a week ago, welcomed with royal pomp and circumstance, as Xi of Arabia proclaiming the dawn of the petroyuan era.

But it’s more complicated than that. As much as the seismic shift implied by the petroyuan move applies, Chinese diplomacy is way too sophisticated to engage in direct confrontation, especially with a wounded, ferocious Empire. So there’s way more going here than meets the (Eurasian) eye.

Xi of Arabia’s announcement was a prodigy of finesse: it was packaged as the internationalization of the yuan. From now on, Xi said, China will use the yuan for oil trade, through the Shanghai Petroleum and National Gas Exchange, and invited the Persian Gulf monarchies to get on board. Nearly 80 percent of trade in the global oil market continues to be priced in US dollars.

Ostensibly, Xi of Arabia, and his large Chinese delegation of officials and business leaders, met with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to promote increased trade. Beijing promised to “import crude oil in a consistent manner and in large quantities from the GCC.” And the same goes for natural gas.

China has been the largest importer of crude on the planet for five years now – half of it from the Arabian peninsula, and more than a quarter from Saudi Arabia. So it’s no wonder that the prelude for Xi of Arabia’s lavish welcome in Riyadh was a special op-ed expanding the trading scope, and praising increased strategic/commercial partnerships across the GCC, complete with “5G communications, new energy, space and digital economy.”

Xi Jinping’s Visit to Saudi Arabia and the overthrow of Atlanticism, by Matthew Ehret

Nobody has ever accused Saudi Arabia of having anything but a strictly “Saudi Arabia First” foreign policy. It looks China is offering a better deal than the U.S. From Matthew Ehret at thecradle.co:

The historic China-Arab Summit currently underway in Riyadh symbolizes the emerging Eurasianism in the Persian Gulf.

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Photo Credit: The Cradle

As Atlanticists continue their commitment to a future shaped by energy scarcity, food scarcity, and war with their nuclear-capable neighbors, most states in the Persian Gulf that have long been trusted allies of the west have quickly come to realize that their interests are best assured by cooperating with Eurasian states like China and Russia who don’t think in those zero-sum terms.

With Chinese President Xi Jinping’s long-awaited three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, a powerful shift by the Persian Gulf’s most strategic Arab state toward the multipolar alliance is being consolidated. Depending on which side of the ideological fence you sit on, this consolidation is being viewed closely with great hope or rage.

Xi’s visit stands in stark contrast to US President Joe Biden’s underwhelming ‘fist bump’ meeting this summer, which saw the self-professed leader of the free world falling asleep at a conference table and demanding more Saudi oil production while offering nothing durable in return.

In contrast, Xi’s arrival was greeted by a multi-cannon salute and Saudi jets painting the red and yellow colors of China’s flag in the skies over Riyadh. Beijing’s delegation of political and business elites, in the following days, will continue to meet with Saudi counterparts to strike long-term strategic deals in cultural, economic and scientific domains.

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How the Mainstream Media Misses the Money Quote, by Ted Snider

Either through inadvertence or ideological bias, the media is missing major shifts in global leaders’ attitudes towards the U.S. From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:

On December 1, French President Emmanuel Macron went to Washington for the first state visit of the Biden administration. After the pageantry, presents, hand holding and flattering words of fraternity and solidarity, Macron faced the gathered press.

“We will never urge Ukrainians to make a compromise that will not be acceptable for them.” “That,” said Helene Cooper of The New York Times, “is the money quote.”

But it wasn’t the money quote by several euros. The money quote came days later when Macron was not standing shoulder to shoulder with Biden in front of an American audience, but standing on his own addressing a French audience. Macron told the French television network TF1, in an interview filmed during his visit to Washington but aired as he left, that “We need to prepare what we are ready to do, how we protect our allies and member states, and how to give guarantees to Russia the day it returns to the negotiating table.” Then Macron made his full meaning clear: “One of the essential points we must address – as President Putin has always said – is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia.”

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The Crux of the Putin-Xi Revolution for a New World Order – Arresting the Slide to Nihilism, by Alastair Crooke

Xi and Putin believe that in the emerging multipolar world order a variety of firmly held beliefs is better than a uniform nihilism. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

It becomes questionable whether the West can compete as a civilisational state and maintain a presence.

The world ‘Map’ is accelerating its shift away from the paralysed Washington ‘hub’ – but to what? The myth that China, Russia, or the non-western world can be fully assimilated to a Western model of political society (any more than Afghanistan was) is over. So to where are we headed?

The myth of the pull of acculturation into western post-modernity lingers on however, in the continuing western fantasy of pulling China away from Russia, and into an embrace with U.S. Big Business.

The bigger point here is that former wounded civilisations are reasserting themselves: China and Russia – as states organised around indigenous culture – is not a new idea. Rather, it is a very old one: “Always remember that China is a civilization – and not nation-state”, Chinese officials repeat regularly.

Nonetheless, the shift to civilisational statehood emphasised by those Chinese officials arguably is no rhetorical device but reflects something deeper and more radical. Moreover, the culture transition is gaining wide emulation across the globe. Its inherent radicalism however, is largely lost to western audiences.

Chinese thinkers, such as Zhang Weiwei, accuse Western political ideas of being a sham; of masking their deeply partisan ideological character beneath a veneer of supposedly neutral principles. They are saying that the mounting of a universal framework of values – applicable to all societies – is finished.

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PATRICK LAWRENCE: More Futile Pacific Overtures

Biden’s recent meeting with Xi Jinping surely didn’t do anything to dispel notions Xi might hold that Biden is an idiot. From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:

Nearly halfway through Biden’s term in office he finally met the Chinese president to discuss the single most important relationship between any two nations anywhere in the world.

Then U.S. Vice President Joe Biden back in 2012, during a visit to Los Angeles by China’s Xi Jinping. (David Starkopf / Office of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Flickr,CC BY-NC 2.0)

I’ve given up being amazed at how stupidly the Biden administration conducts its diplomacy with China and, by extension, Asia altogether. I spend my time now being amazed at how stupid these people assume the Chinese and other Asians to be.

Nearly halfway through his term in office — and let us hope there is not another after this one — the man from Scranton finally met Chinese President Xi Jinping Monday to discuss the single most important relationship between any two nations anywhere in the world.

This first face-to-face encounter since Joe Biden began his presidency comes after nearly two years of diplomatic drift during which the U.S. has escalated the threat of open conflict, incessantly provoked the Chinese on the Taiwan question and the administration’s bench of incompetents makes one mess after another. All the while Beijing has been consolidating an extensive range of ties with non–Western nations in the declared cause of a new world order.

I do not see that anything of moment got done when Biden and Xi met just prior to the Group of 20 session in Bali this week. A great deal could have been accomplished, of course, given the worsening state of the bilateral relationship, but Biden proved once again not up to it. He seems to have figured the Chinese side would be too stupid to notice that he and his administration are effectively paralyzed, a herd of deer caught in headlights.

Our moment calls upon American statesmen and stateswomen to act imaginatively, creatively, even courageously in response to a new era and new geopolitical circumstances. But those sailing the American ship of state, from the president on down, have neither imagination nor creativity nor courage. All they can do is reiterate past positions while expecting the other side to respond differently.

This is what Xi got in Bali on Monday. Nothing more. Nothing has changed, nothing of consequence has moved forward.

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Are Putin and Xi Gray Champions (Part 2), by Jim Quinn

Jim Quinn’s prognostications are bleak, but unfortunately, thoroughly grounded it today’s realities. From Quinn at theburningplatform.com:

In Part 1 of this article I examined previous Fourth Turnings and the Gray Champions who won and lost, but made a difference in the course of history. Now I will try to peer through the fog of disinformation, lies, and false narratives to try and determine which Gray Champions will make a difference in this Fourth Turning.

Ukraine: The United States are now fighting a proxy war with Russia - REBEL

The U.S. and NATO are playing with fire by poking the bear. This is no longer a limited conflict between Russia and the Ukraine. In the early days of the conflict, there were constant talks between both sides, with the possibility of a negotiated resolution. The American Empire nixed those talks. The neo-cons, representing the interests of the military industrial complex uni-party, see an opportunity to further enrich themselves, while believing they can bleed and weaken Putin. But who is really being weakened in the long run?

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The Growing Russia-China Relationship, by Ted Snider

The U.S. can take a large measure of the credit, or blame, depending on how you want to look at it, for bringing China and Russia together. From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:

Under the pressure of US sanctions, threats, aggression and an imposed Second Cold War, the Russia-China relationship is growing closer and closer.

Personal Relationship

On December 15, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for a virtual summit. XI welcomed his “old friend,” and Putin greeted his “dear friend.”

Their greetings to each other were neither scripted nor posturing for the West. In June 2018, Putin told an interviewer that “President XI Jinping is probably the only world leader I have celebrated one of my birthdays with.” He added that XI”is a very reliable partner.” For his part, XI has called Putin “my best, most intimate friend.”

But the growing relationship is not just a friendship between the leaders of the people of the two countries. It is also a growing friendship between the people of the two countries. Relations between Russia and China were not always good. In 2016, before the intense US pressure started pushing the two countries together, only 34% of Russians viewed China favorably; in 2019, 84% saw China as “more a partner than a rival.”

International Relationship

Russia and China have also partnered as the leaders of an important new set of international organizations, like the BRICS nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Both of these organizations are intended to balance US hegemony and exceptionalism in international politics. Both of these organizations are huge, each representing nearly half the world, and both are led by Russia and China as the principal partners. Both also include India. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization represents a quarter of the world’s economy and four of its nuclear powers.

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Putin, Xi Running Circles Around Biden’s Hybrid War, by Pepe Escobar

Multiply Biden’s IQ by 4 and you wouldn’t reach the sum of Putin’s and Xi’s. From Pepe Escobar at unz.com:

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin spent an hour and 14 minutes in a video conversation on Wednesday. Geopolitically, paving the way for 2022, this is the one that really matters – much more than Putin-Biden a week ago.

Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov, who generally carefully measures his words, had previously hinted that this exchange would be “extremely important.”

It was obvious the two leaders would not only exchange information about the natural gas pipeline Power of Siberia 2. But Peskov was referring to prime time geopolitics: how Russia-China would be coordinating their countercoups against the hybrid war/Cold War 2.0 combo deployed by the US and its allies.

While no substantial leaks were expected from the 37th meeting between Xi and Putin since 2013 (they will meet again in person in February 2022, at the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics), Assistant to the President for Foreign Policy Yuri Ushakov did manage to succinctly deliver at least two serious bits of information.

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Where is China Going? By Bill Blain

Is China killing its own golden goose? The country is becoming increasingly opaque, so it’s hard to tell. From Bill Blain at morningporridge.com:

Evergrande will default, but the Chinese economy will probably avoid a property contagion crisis as the government becomes increasingly interventionist. Longer term, how will China evolve to cope with Covid, Growth and Demographics

“When the winds of change blow, some build walls while others build windmills..”

This morning – Evergrande will default, but the Chinese economy will probably avoid a property contagion crisis as the government becomes increasingly interventionist. Longer term, how will China evolve to cope with Covid, Growth and Demographics?

I’m going to go off on something of a tangent on China this morning.. It can hardly come as much of a surprise to markets that S&P says Evergrande’s default is “inevitable”. (One of my highly coveted No Sh*t Sherlock awards is on its way to the US debt rating firm for stating the downright bleeding obvious).

Evergrande’s quietus will be a step towards China’s managed deflation of its property bubble, and it’s got massive implications for current and future investors in the economy. Let me stress I don’t believe China’s economy is about to vanish in a cloud of evaporating property dreams, or that a social revolution is around the corner on deflating consumer expectations. But, change will occur.

I expect China will successfully avoid Evergrande contagion destabilising the economy, and manage a soft-landing, but there is fundamental shift underway – a slowing economy, lethargic growth, and a shift away from capitalism towards a more interventionist state-controlled economy is underway.

Growth expectations are now around 5% – far below numbers we assumed were deemed necessary by the party just a few years ago. Even that number could be under pressure as the scale of the property effect on the economy comes into play, while China’s isolationist response to Covid means the fast spreading Omicron variant could play havoc with reopening the economy.

The Thoughts of Chairman Xi now absolutely dominate and set the internal debate – begging the question: just how will China emerge from the immediate uncertainties of a Property Wobble, Covid and Geopolitical Tension, and the long-term question of how China fits into an evolving global economy?

And, all the time, hiding in the background is the demographic reality: can China get rich before its aging demographic leaves it struggling?

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