China's leader Xi Jinping and Russia's leader Vladimir Putin had announced a joint statement declaring a broad and far reaching agreement in mutual understanding, support and cooperation on a list of political and economic matters at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic (2022BWO). The choice of timing and location is unusual and the statement is exceptional in the diplomatic sense. Why did the two strong leaders want to make such an important statement detailing their beliefs and desire to cooperate to the world? Why did Xi and Putin choose the 2022BWO venue to deliver the joint statement? What messages did they intend to deliver in and beyond the statement? What were the reasons motivating them to do so? Understanding these questions are just important as comprehending the 60 critical points listed in the joint statement. The author shall make an attempt to answer these questions and comment on the joint statement.
A country must have resources and talents including media power to organizing large international events and dealing with international relations, The U.S. has hosted eight Olympics (Summer and Winter four each) expecting to host another Summer Olympic in the cosmopolitan Los Angeles in 2028. The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic was hampered and delayed due to the Pandemic and the 2022BWO was under even more pressure from the rampant variants of corona virus. China had managed the pandemic well and was determined to hold the 2022BWO and Olympiad as scheduled. However, the U.S. driven by her decade-long hyped-up anti-China foreign policy made an open attempt to spoil the 2022BWO by urging her allies to “diplomatically boycott” it with an unsubstantiated claim of “Uighur genocide”. This was disputed even by Muslim countries and by the attendance record of the 2022BWO. The West media's smear on China has motivated her to make a public statement calling for peaceful cooperation and development among nations rather than creating tension leading to war.
The Ukraine situation has developed into a hotspot for war. Internally, separatists are demonstrating and engaging battles. Externally, Russia has increased substantial military force at their border. The root of the problem is NATO's post-Soviet strategy of continuous expansion of its membership (wooing countries including Ukraine to join NATO) causing security threat to Russia. The recent Biden-Putin virtual summit did not relieve Russia's concern of arming Ukraine (and surrounding NATO countries) with missiles targeting Russia (similar to U.S. concern of placing Soviet missiles in Cuba). The U.S. leads the NATO and dictates its strategy. The Ukraine tension was further inflamed recently when the U.S. and her allies were sending military weapons and supplies to Ukraine. However, Russia and some EU members (including some Ukraine voices) do not think the Russia-Ukraine war being imminent as the U.S. claimed. This is one important reason prompting Russia to make a joint statement with China during 2022BWO to signal that Russia's defense gesture really desires peace not war. Russia has legitimate security concern regarding NATO since Warsaw pact no longer exists.
There exist many conflicts between the U.S. (plus her allies) and China and Russia, which can be seen from the Russia-China joint statement. The reasons for China and Russia wanting to make the joint statement at the 2022BWO may be complex but their puzzle, fear, and concern for the U.S. hysterical behavior may be revealed as we tally and summarize the current events and the joint statements below:
1. The Ukraine hotspot is getting hotter judging on the U.S actions and no progress from Biden-Putin dialogue. 2. U.S.-China relations continue to deteriorate with anti-China actions broadening from trade war to technology sanctions, media smear, and military plots such as QUAD+, AUKUS, etc. 3. Launching of China Initiative blankly charging Chinese scientists and academicians as spies. 4. Even the Olympic is politicized by the U.S. (diplomatic boycotting) and used as an anti-China tactic (Targeting China as an enemy with all-out mentality even ignoring the rising anti-Asian crimes and re-percussive discussion on genocide on American Indians.) 5. Since the U.S. is attacking China and Russia driving them to reflect on security issues jointly, the 2022BWO becomes the most convenient and timely venue for the two leaders to address their concerns. 6. China advocates “common entity for mankind” facing common challenges (the pandemic, supply chain, energy etc.) but the U.S. shows no interest of cooperation (continue smearing China on Corona Virus and opposing Russia-Europe gas-pipeline) 7. The theme of 2022BWO – 'Together to the Future' gives Xi and Putin the perfect backdrop to voice their concerns and fear for U.S. aggressive hegemonic behavior.
The essence of the joint statement, though versed in diplomatic terms, do reflect the above discussed reasons and the two leaders' motivation for making a joint statement. The statement title, International Relations in the New Era and Sustainable Global Development, suggests that the two leaders want to define the future international relations and emphasize taking a cooperative and sustainable global development path. The opening remarks acknowledge a changing world with transforming societies developing into a multi-polar system, a globalized economy, and multi-cultural relations. Nations have more connections and mutual dependency with restructuring in international stacking order. International communities call for more peaceful and sustainable development. Currently, spreading and complicated international and regional security threats are challenging, yet some international forces still insist on unilateralism and power politics, interfering other nations' rights, creating conflicts and divisions, and impeding the improvement of human society. China and Russia urge all nations to consider the welfare of all mankind and their common values: Increase understanding and mutual trust and protect peace, justice, freedom and democracy. Respect nation's rights, security and interests in selecting its own development path and protect the UN system for world peace, stability and sustainable development. These opening remarks took a moral high ground and denounced any nation practicing the long-arm interference in other nations.
The remaining joint statement contains four parts, I. Defining Democracy (6), II. Urging International Cooperation (12), III. Issues on International Security (25) and IV. UN System and Obligations (17). The four categories listed a total of 60 key points summarized as follows:
I. Democracy should be judged by each nation's own people. Both China and Russia are great nations with long history with experience, tradition and confidence about their path of democracy. No single country can set standard for democracy. Defending democracy should not be a tool for interference. UN in its constitution and its Declaration of Human Rights have established principles for every nation to follow with its cultural background and social system in consideration. This defensive statement points at the U.S. using human rights as an excuse for interfering in another nation's domestic issues.
II. The twelve points on international cooperation call for peaceful and pragmatic development highlighting transportation, climate change, green development and pandemic cooperation. Both nations will push common infrastructure building (BRI). Russia supports 2022BWO and both give high marks to the International Olympic Committee.
III. The 25 statements on international security covers core interest in sovereignty. Russia supports Taiwan as a part of China. They welcome no nuclear proliferation (five nations' no nuclear war declaration), emphasize transparent space development, forbid bio-weapon development, and call for Internet and data security measures. China supports Russia's proposal for legally binding long-term security for Europe and both support the UN effort and resolutions regarding international security and peaceful cooperation.
IV. The 17 items emphasize support for UN and UN's responsibility. Russia supports the concept of Humans as a Common entity proposed by China. Both defend WW II victory results and order established. They emphasize China-Russia new relationship, based on mutual respect, peaceful co-existence, friendship and win-win cooperation abandoning Cold War model. Both support diplomatic coordination and multilateralism citing good platform and success in WTO, G20, BRICS, SCO and APEC as well as ASEAN Forum, ASEAN Defense Minister Forum, etc.
This joint statement sends an urgent and open message to the world in reaction to the U.S. behavior in foreign policy. President Trump surrounded with hawkish aides (Pompeo trashed Nixon's legacy and invented Uighur genocide) was impulsive and acting alone on the world stage carrying his America First and Anti-China flags, unnerving the international community. President Biden as a seasoned politician versed in wheeling and dealing replaced Trump with identity politics surrounding him with aides balanced in color, gender, sex, etc., but not well prepared for complex international affairs. Biden continued Trump's anti-China policy but had no genuine strategy except changing from 'me-alone' to 'we-wish' tactics antagonizing and pushing China and Russia together to unite. Their concern and fear for a reckless U.S. (Cold War mentality still believing can defeat rivalry China and Russia) are reasons enough for Xi and Putin to choose the supposedly harmonious and peaceful Olympic venue to make a joint statement to awaken the U.S. from an irrational state.