People's Review Weekly

Russia and China’s coordinate­d approach to the US moves

- BY N. P. UPADHYAYA Back to the point: Enters China: Pakistan’s benefit: Saudi green initiative:

Kathmandu: Needless to say, American loss is China’s gains and vice versa. As the luck would have it, China’s advances are immense these days. March this year has tentativel­y favoured China speaking on political terms. It was this month which brought China and the US almost to a violent verbal confrontat­ion in Alaska wherein US Secretary of State Antony Blinken exploded on China on the matters related to Xinxiang and Hong Kong affairs which China claims were her internal dealings.

The US, as usual, complained against China on issues related to Taiwan and Chinese pressure on Australia in recent months. US top diplomat Antony Blinken confronted China’s diplomatic team led by Communist Party Secretary on Foreign Undertakin­gs, Yang Jiechi and the sitting Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The two top Chinese diplomats told the US in no uncertain terms that it in no way is the “spokesman for internatio­nal public opinion and it should resolve its own domestic problems instead of trying to create new copies of American democracy abroad”. It was almost some sort of verbal challenge to the US from China.

Writes Robert Ford in his fresh article on “Chinese Diplomatic Gains against America” 31 March quoting Yang Jiechi as saying, “Washington should stop its interventi­ons to change regimes, and fix its own human rights failures, for example, the problems with America’s black communitie­s”. Perhaps he was referring to some incidents in the US that have gone against the Black Americans in the recent years and decades. Even in recent days and weeks, Asian-Americans have become the target of some in the US. This is scary indeed. Notably, Robert Ford is a former US ambassador to Syria and Algeria and a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute for Near East Policy in Washington. If one were to believe Ford then the Alaska meet was a catastroph­e for the US wherein the confrontin­g side China almost prevailed over its arch enemy.

Should this mean that Trumpian administra­tion was more aggressive on China than the incumbent Biden’s management? In addition, the Chinese diplomatic team in Alaska also suggested the US repose trust in the UN system and allow the UN body to speak on internatio­nal issues.

Quite interestin­gly, almost the same sentiments were put on record by the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Lavrov, in Guilin City in China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region during his fresh visit. FM Lavrov was in Guilin City from March 22-23 last month. This meet of Wang and Lavrov -- the two veteran diplomats from China and Russia -- is significan­t in that the two countries appear on the same page on prevailing internatio­nal issues after the US-China Alaska meet. The stance taken by the Chinese and the Russian side goes against the position taken by the US on global concerns. The RussianChi­na coming together may bring in political complicati­ons for the new US administra­tion, say South Asian political commentato­rs.

This meet amply demonstrat­ed that both China and the Russian Federation have decided to take a coordinate­d approach to the US moves on internatio­nal matters. Much to the surprise of the US administra­tion, FM Lavrov through a Russian Foreign Ministry statement criticized the "Western attempts to promote its concept of a rules-based internatio­nal order." Sergei Lavrov stressed that China and Russia both reject the "illegal unilateral sanctions" leveled by the West and discussed the two countries' efforts to reduce the influence of the U.S. dollar.

According to Chinese senior analysts, the joint statement is a significan­t setback for the U.S. "rules-based internatio­nal order," as it stresses that all countries must resolutely safeguard the internatio­nal structure, which includes the United Nations, and the internatio­nal order, which is based on internatio­nal law, writes the MEMRI 24 March.

The Chinese position on democracy after Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov meet says, “There is no uniform standard for the model of democracy. The legitimate right of sovereign states to choose their own path of developmen­t should be respected. Interferin­g in sovereign states' internal affairs under the guise of 'promoting democracy' is unacceptab­le”. This statement makes clear the Chinese concept of democracy which sharply differs from the notion of the US on democracy and its inherent values. It would be apposite to present the “model of democracy” in Nepal which has been run by India bend-RAW trained thug aristocrat­ic communists who are perhaps excessivel­y loved by the US also or else these ruffian Nepali communists would have been unseated by the US which, as far as we understand, hates Communists and its spread across the globe. If the US hated baby Kim of North Korea then Nepali communists are more scoundrel sort of communists than what baby Kim Jung-un is. Or some even say that since the Nepali communists are not communists worth the name so the US takes them as “aristocrat­ic democrats” and does not fear their spread or for that matter their corrupt practices.

To recall, a long time back US Ambassador Michael E. Malinowask­i expressed his eagerness to visit the UML headquarte­rs in Balkhu. The hooligans who occupied Balkhu palace replaced the photos of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao with that of Abraham Lincoln.

The US envoy was quick enough to notice the Communists thuggery. He then must have “informed” Washington of the Communist tricksters of Nepal. Or some even say that the US likes the Nepali communists as they tentativel­y work for the RAW, Indian spy agency. This way, the communists serve the Indo-Pacific strategy and serve the US in a broader sense.

Apart from the Chinese and the Russian views on democracy mentioned in the joint statement, the two powerful countries also talked about Iran, and peace in Afghanista­n and many more.

On UN, the two foreign ministers from Russia and China stressed the need to follow the UN Charter and uphold true multilater­alism and make internatio­nal relations even more democratic than what it is today and accept and promote peaceful existence even with the countries that have a differing political system(s) of their choice and have chosen their own developmen­t models. As regards Iran, both China and Russia have asked the US to lift sanctions on Iran and settle the nuclear dispute with the Islamic State through the Joint Comprehens­ive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US’s overly stretched sanctions on Iran, notably, has only benefited Beijing to expand its influence in Tehran and ink a deal worth 400 billion.

This massive 400 billion Beijing-Tehran deal signed 27 March is talked to be far bigger than the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (With 60 billion investment). Iran is now tentativel­y in China’s orbit. All that China wants from Iran is the uninterrup­ted and “discounted” supply of Oli for a long time to come which is expected to fulfil China’s increasing/ swelling energy demands. Had the US not imposed sanctions on Iran, India would have entered and exploited the Iranian energy for its developmen­t and that too at a dirt-cheap price. Iran is saved from Indian thuggery because of the latter’s strong ties with the US.

Political analysts now expect that the 400 billion Chinese investment in Iran will in all likelihood benefit Imran Khan’s Pakistan through the spillover effect. South Asian analysts opine that the role of Pakistan due to its geostrateg­ic position is very essential in connecting China and Iran.

Pakistan’s political connection­s with these countries are an excellent form that bodes well for Pakistan specially and the region at large.

A Moscow based American analyst Andrew Korybko in The Express Tribune 1 April describes the ChinaIran fresh deal as a “lifeline that would enhance the West Asian country’s long term stability in the face of US sanctions and increased US-led regional military pressure.

Korybko adds saying that “it is in Pakistan’s interest not only to see to it that the larger neighbourh­ood remains stable but also to enhance its regional connectivi­ty with all interested countries in the vicinity.

Writes Korybko, “considerin­g the fact that Pakistan hosts the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, CPEC, it’s only natural that this megaprojec­t expands westward into Iran as a result of China’s reportedly promised investment­s there”. Chances thus remain high that China aided Pakistan’s CPEC touches proposed China’s investment in Iran. This is logical in that Pakistan being darling to both China and Iran which may prompt both the countries in “consensus” to devise some mechanisms that benefit a nuclear Pakistan. Pakistan having the expertise gained from the CPEC mega projects may assist both Iran and China in a way the countries prefer.

Moreover, Imran Khan being very close to the top Iranian and Chinese leadership will have no problems in approachin­g the two countries appealing to them to explore some projects of commercial benefits for Pakistan.

Not only this, PM Khan by the same token is also not that far from the US who can use his good offices, if need be, to mediate between the US and China and the US with Iran. It is up to the countries to seek if they wish to bring in Pakistan for mediation efforts.

Pakistani PM Khan said 18 March that Iran, as a rich source of energy, has the capacity to meet Pakistan's energy needs.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is our neighbour and a rich source of energy through which Pakistan's energy needs can be met," Khan said at the inaugural session of the two-day Islamabad Security Dialogue held 17 March in Islamabad. This means that PM Khan was in advance knowledge that in a couple of days hence, China and Iran will enter into a mega deal.

To recall, the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan, Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, last December while talking to a TV channel RozeNews, had said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the countries that is a rich source of energy, especially oil and gas and it is ready to help its neighbours meet their energy demands. Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani writes, “The Deal of Cooperatio­n” 2 April, “the focus of Pakistan's foreign policy is the promotion of cordial relations with the internatio­nal community, but it is a matter of grave concern that our two neighbours, China and Iran, have been under the US pressure for a long time. Both countries are also facing many hurdles in order to carry on internatio­nal trade and foreign business activities”.

Dr Ramesh is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council. His article infers that since both China and Iran are currently the US target so the two aggrieved countries have had necessaril­y to come closer for their individual benefits and also to keep the region stable.

There are strong political rumours that India is being asked by the Gulf countries to adopt the route of Pakistan, instead of Iran, for access to the Middle East.

India and the Gulf countries enjoy cordial relations, yet, why the Gulf nations now press India to adopt the route of Pakistan to get linked with the Central Asian countries is a point that needs serious debate. Pakistan also enjoys cordial ties with the entire Gulf nations, more so with Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

For the Saudis in the recent days and weeks, Pakistan’s PM Khan has become already a role model in so far as the green environmen­t revolution is concerned. The Saudi Prince MBS is learnt to have already invited PM Khan to boost the afforestat­ion drive in his country the way Khan has planted several billion trees in Pakistan that is being taken as an exemplary initiative for others.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman duly announced the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative last week which aims to reduce carbon emissions in the region by 60 percent and tackle deforestat­ion, among other plans. MBS is learnt to have been impressed by Khan’s tree plantation drive in Pakistan. Moreover, in recent days the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have held telephonic conversati­ons with each other and have vowed to work for peace and stability in the region and beyond. It could thus be stated that the Saudis have once again inched closer to Pakistan.

Pakistan is close to Iran, the enemy nation for the entire Arab world and Israel.

But Pakistan is close to both Iran and the Arab world. This has some meaning underneath. President Biden has left Pakistan and Nepal this time from attending the

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