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Not All See China’s 'Great Power Diplomacy' as Great Success


Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.

The Chinese Communist Party is preparing for its National Congress. The event takes place every five years.

The 19th National Congress opens in Beijing on October 18.

China watchers say the country’s recent foreign policy successes are likely to be noted at the meeting.

China is the world’s second largest economy. Since Xi Jinping became president in 2012, Chinese influence has been expanding in many areas. The Chinese government is active in international diplomacy. And the government is seeking to play a more important diplomatic role, while creating its own initiatives. These efforts include the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Belt and Road trade program.

Xi Jinping has visited five continents, and nearly 30 countries. He has worked toward what some Chinese are calling “Great Power Diplomacy." Supporters of this idea say that, as a rising great power, China should do what it feels is right any time and whenever it wishes.

Xi has also pushed for what he calls the “China Solution.” That means campaigning for Chinese proposals and answers to the world’s biggest problems.

Some observers say that China’s desire to become more active in world affairs may even be added to the Communist Party’s constitution during the congress.

Party delegates are not as likely to discuss some of the problems China has faced over the past five years. These difficulties include territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and troubles with North Korea, South Korea and other countries.

Shen Dingli is a political science professor at Fudan University in Shanghai. He told VOA, “China has failed in all of the South China Sea, East China Sea, China-India border dispute(s), its relationship with South Korea, with North Korea…”

Shen noted that China has been unable to get North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile development programs. It has also not been able to stop deployment of the United States-based Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, in South Korea

China’s attempt to establish an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea has been ignored by the United States, Japan and Russia, Shen adds.

And last year, the International Tribunal at The Hague ruled against China’s claims to all of the South China Sea and its land reclamation projects there.

“Xi Jinping must understand China has failed. So China has made compromises,” Shen said.

Shen is not alone in his criticism of how some of China’s policy measures have failed to reach their goals.

Shen Zhihua is a professor at East China Normal University. He has argued that Beijing’s North Korea policy is both contradictory and ineffective.

Shen wrote earlier this year that China’s decision to punish South Korea for its deployment of THAAD has pushed Seoul closer to Japan and the United States.

And while many Western leaders talk about China’s political influence over North Korea, Shen told VOA that no longer exists.

“North Korea sees China as one of its key enemies,” he added. “If nuclear war breaks out or there are big changes, the first victim will be China.”

Observers say the Chinese Communist Party is not likely to include any foreign policy criticisms in the official Congress report next month. But one important thing to look for will be whether it offers any defense of Xi’s foreign policy successes and setbacks.

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Words in This Story

initiative - n. a plan or program that is intended to solve a problem​

role - n.a part that someone or something has in a particular activity or situation​

contradictory - adj. involving or having information that disagrees with other information​

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