People’s Republic of China Part V

By | October 30, 2021

After fifteen years of negotiations, China (in connection with further opening up and liberalization of the economy) achieved its admission to the WTO as the 143rd member on November 10, 2001 (in force since December 11, 2001).

With the first manned Chinese flight into space on 15./16. 10. 2003 (multiple orbits of the earth by the “Taikonaut” Yang Liwei in the Shenzhou 5 space capsule), China moved up into the ranks of the leading space nations.

Conflicts with the USA resulted inter alia. from the development of a US missile defense system (NMD) accelerated after the assumption of office of the administration of President GW Bush and from the collision of an American reconnaissance aircraft with a Chinese interceptor on April 1, 2001 off the south Chinese coast (death of the Chinese pilot, temporary detention of the emergency landed crew and prolonged confiscation of the aircraft on Hainan). Shortly after the Islamist terrorist attacks in the USA on September 11, 2001, however, the Chinese leadership declared its support for an international anti-terrorist alliance. Your crackdown on the Uighur separatist movementin Sinkiang it now specifically placed it in the context of the global fight against terrorism. In the Iraq crisis (2002/03), China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, spoke out against military intervention (3rd Gulf War). In the course of the economic and political rise of China, a country located in Asia according to, the Sino-American relations developed into an important factor for the foreign and security policy framework in the Asia-Pacific region.

In March 2005, the National People’s Congress passed an internationally heavily criticized “anti-secession law” that threatens Taiwan with the use of “non-peaceful means” in the event of a split (declaration of independence); at the same time, the Chinese side declared their willingness to enter into dialogue. For the first time since the end of the Chinese civil war, the heads of state of Taiwan and China Ma Ying-yeou and Xi Jinping met on neutral ground in Singapore on November 7, 2015. After the parliamentary and presidential elections in Taiwan on January 16, 2016 and the inauguration of China-critical President Tsai Ing-wen Beijing reduced official contacts again and demanded that Taiwan make a clear commitment to the so-called one-China policy.

Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea repeatedly led to tensions with the Philippines as well as Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan. The arbitration tribunal in The Hague, seized by the Philippines in the dispute over territorial claims in the area around the Spratly Islands, declared the Chinese claims to be unlawful. However, China did not recognize the decision.

Anti-Japanese protests a.o. in Beijing and Shanghai in April 2005, the v. a. were justified by playing down the war crimes of Japan during the occupation of China (1931–45) in new Japanese textbooks, strengthened nationalist sentiments on both sides and sparked new Sino-Japanese tensions; these had – despite a growing economic cooperation – v. a. developed against the background of several conflicts of interest between the two states (including regional competition in East Asia, intensified security partnership between Japan and the USA, dispute over the extraction of natural gas reserves in the East China Sea, China’s rejection of a permanent seat sought by Japan on the UN Security Council). From 2012/13, the territorial conflict over those claimed by the two states intensified Senkaku Islands (Chinese Diaoyu Islands) in the East China Sea. In November 2013, China set up a so-called air surveillance zone there.

With a joint declaration on the “world order of the 21st century”, China and Russia expanded their relations in July 2005. With a view to the USA, they turned against a world politics dominated by only one state and agreed on a “strategic partnership”. On July 21, 2008, the Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers signed an agreement on the final demarcation of the common border. In 2014, an agreement was concluded for extensive natural gas deliveries from Russia to China via a new pipeline (“Kraft Siberia”).

The Beijing leadership responded to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010 with declarations of protest. Liu Xiaobo was also not given a permit to leave the country for the award ceremony.

China’s role as an important global actor, which appeared more self-confidently under state and party leader Xi Jinping, also manifested itself in the UN Security Council, where it played an important role in resolving international conflicts, for example on the question of the Iranian nuclear program, the Syrian civil war and in the Ukraine conflict (from 2014). The country is often looking to join forces with Russia. The People’s Republic played a key role in the nuclear dispute with North Korea to. In view of increased North Korean nuclear weapons and missile tests in 2017/18, China kept a critical distance from its neighboring country and participated in UN sanctions. At the same time, Beijing tried to coordinate more closely with the Kim dictatorship in connection with Pyongyang’s rapprochement with Washington (2018/19).

In view of the dramatic environmental pollution in China, the country agreed to the climate protection agreements it had adopted at the UN climate summit in Paris in December 2015.

To strengthen its foreign trade influence in the Asia-Pacific region, China initiated the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which began operations in January 2016. It is intended to help finance the international One Belt One Road Initiative (“New Silk Road “).

Relations with the USA were increasingly characterized by regional and global economic competition. The administration of President D. Trump saw China as a “revisionist” power. Efforts by the USA to reduce its own high trade deficit with China and to put an end to alleged “unfair practices” led to the imposition of punitive tariffs and threats to expand them from 2018 onwards. China responded with retaliatory measures, but at the same time expressed its readiness to reduce the imbalance in bilateral trade.

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