China's neighborly friendship needs no U.S.'s 'shaping'
Huang Jiyuan

Editor's note: The 2023 Two Sessions takes place at an important junction. It's the first Two Sessions after the Communist Party of China's 20th National Congress. It's the first Two Sessions after major changes were made to China's COVID-19 pandemic management measures. How to interpret this crucial event and its results? Follow Huang Jiyuan, the reporter who's reporting on the Two Sessions from the frontline for the first time, to get a firsthand look at the 2023 Two Sessions.

On March 7, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang held a press conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress. He said that the U.S.'s claim of shaping the strategic environment in which China operates reveals the real purpose of its Indo-Pacific Strategy, and that is to encircle China. It will disrupt the ASEAN-centered regional architecture and undermine the long-term interests of countries in the region.

"It is bound to fail," he said.

The same logic applies to the U.S. threatening China over the Ukraine crisis. These are U.S.'s attempts to drive wedges between China and its neighbors in order to suppress China's development.

China's policies towards its neighbors have always been a priority. Neighboring countries have the most direct impact on each others' security, stability and environment. And for China, it's relationships with its neighbors are built on mutual benefits and achieving developments together. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which was initiated by China and its neighbors, is a cornerstone of Chinese foreign policy.

These relationships can't be easily ripped apart by people from an ocean away.

Full video transcript:

So, that was from Foreign Minister Qin Gang's press conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress.

And about he said of the U.S. being all Cold-War-fanatic, disrupting the ASEAN-centered regional architecture, the same logic behind it is also applicable to the China-Russia relationship. As Qin said himself, China is neither a party of the Ukraine conflict nor supplying arms to either side, so why blame and threaten China for it?

Well, It's to drive a wedge between China and its neighbors.

Yes, it is bound to fail.

China's policies towards its neighbor have always been a priority.

It's simple geography. China borders 14 countries on the land, six on the seas, So 20 in total. Twenty!  The geography determines that they, not matter their national power or whatnot, have the most direct impact on China's security, stability and development. It's determined by geography.

You do see China strengthening relationships with them. Chinese President Xi Jinping's first international visit after the COVID-19 broke out was to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan. Minister Qin himself visited Indonesia and met with his Indian counterpart. Senior diplomat Wang Yi visited Russia. And I'm just picking out some of the high-level visits that took place so far.

With or without the United States, these are the countries China has to befriend with, and they have to do the same with China. Take Thailand for example. In Thailand, Chinese tourists account for about a quarter of the tourist arrivals in the country. And tourism accounts for more than one-fifth of the country's economy.

Or look, ASEAN. China has remained ASEAN's largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years. Did it stop growing when it overtook the U.S.? No. Because in 2020, ASEAN also became China's largest trading partner.

One of the cornerstones of China's foreign policy is the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. It was initiated in 1954 with India and Myanmar, two of China’s neighbors. And then it was subsequently adopted into the Chinese Constitution.

That shows you the level of importance of China's relationships with its neighbors. And that's a relationship can't be easily ripped apart by people from an ocean away.

Huang in Two Sessions Episode One: On the road

Huang in Two Sessions Episode Two: Numbers matter, but more do real benefits for people

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