Vijay Gokhale for The Indian Express
Yan Xuetong and Wang Jisi, considered to be two of the high priests of the Chinese foreign policy community, have written recent pieces in Foreign Affairs. It is no coincidence these were timed to dovetail with Xi Jinping’s speech for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), on July 1, 2021. Their task is to interpret for the outside world what Xi Jinping means when he says that “the Chinese people have stood up and the era of suffering bullying has gone, never to return.” Given the elevated status of these two gentlemen, it is well worth reading their pieces in full.
Wang and Yan start by acknowledging that recent changes in US policy mean that relations are unlikely to grow any less tense or competitive. Wang holds America responsible for this adversarial environment. According to him, the US-China relationship has always revolved around two ideas: The idea that the US will respect and not de-stabilise China’s internal order and the idea that the Chinese will not intentionally weaken the US-led international order. This implicit understanding, Wang holds, is now unravelling and the Americans are to blame. Wang wants us to believe that this situation has come to pass because the US is seeking a regime change. China, according to both, is not to blame in any way, and is simply responding to American provocation. Wang’s advice to Washington is to return to the earlier implicit consensus.
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