BIDEN-XI FIRST VIRTUAL BILATERAL SUMMIT
Recently, President Joe Biden of the United States and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for the first virtual bilateral meeting. The meeting ended with the clear divergences in the positions taken by the two sides. US-China confrontation is on multiple fronts including ideological and cultural hegemonic rivalry, a trade war which has often been called the New Cold War.
US’ RESERVATIONS AGAINST CHINA
- Human Rights Violations: US raised concerns about the human rights violation practices in Xinjiang (Uighur Muslims), Tibet, and Hong Kong.
- Trade War: US’ trade deficit with China was around USD 375 billion for 2017. Due to this, former US President Donald Trump imposed import duties on Chinese exports to the US. The US president held that the need is to protect American workers and industries from China's unfair trade and economic practices. The US Treasury Department has declared China as a currency manipulator.
- Free and Open Indo-Pacific: China's assertiveness in South China Sea, claiming the majority of sea as its territory, has prompted the US to reiterate the importance of freedom of navigation and safe overflight to the region’s prosperity.
- Taiwan: China and Taiwan separated amid civil war in 1949 and China considers Taiwan part of its territory to be taken control of by force if necessary. However, Taiwan's leaders say that Taiwan is a sovereign state. The US remains committed to the ‘One China’ policy. However, it “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.
CHINA'S RESERVATIONS AGAINST US
Alliances and Groupings: China has raised reservations regarding the alliances and groupings led by the US. China held that these groupings created “divisions” in the world. This was a reference to the Quad grouping, which includes US, India, Australia and Japan and the AUKUS deal among Australia, UK and US to deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. Moreover, the US has recently proposed to expand G7 to G-11 without including China in it.
Competition for Dominating World Finances: To counter the US-dominated International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization, China has come out with alternative financial institutions like Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, and New Development Bank.
- US Helping India address disputes with China: US aims to support India via military, diplomatic and intelligence channels to help address continental challenges such as the border dispute with China. US Supports India's reservations against Belt
- Road Initiative: US seeks the transparent infrastructure-debt practices in the countries facing debt due to Chinese financing under Belt Road Initiative. Build Back Better World (B3W) is an international infrastructure investment initiative announced by the Group of Seven (G-7) richest democracies in June 2021. The B3W initiative is being seen as the US' initiative to counter China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- Balancing China: The US is in favour of strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, which would act as a counterbalance to China in the strategic Indo-Pacific region. Due to this, India and the US have signed four fundamental defence agreements:
- The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA-2002).
- The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA-2016).
- The Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA-2018).
- The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA-2020)
CHINA'S BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE (BRI)
Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious project that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among multiple countries spread across the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe. BRI spans about 150 countries (China’s Claim). Initially announced in the year 2013, the project involves building networks of roadways, railways, maritime ports, power grids, oil and gas pipelines, and associated infrastructure projects.
The project covers two parts
Silk Road Economic Belt: It is land-based and is expected to connect China with Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe.
21st Century Maritime Silk Road: It is sea-based and is expected to connect China’s southern coast to the Mediterranean, Africa, South-East Asia, and Central Asia.
Significance of BRI For China: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the most emblematic of China’s economic and industrial might, as of its ambitions for global, political and strategic influence. As infrastructure spending at home became less sustainable, China has shifted the emphasis to boost the global competitiveness of domestic businesses. The large infrastructure investments in the least developed and developing countries have enabled China to leverage its influence around the world, potentially altering the established rules of the global order and challenging western powers. BRI will strengthen China’s presence in the Eurasian region and put it in a commanding position over Asia’s heartland.
BUILD BACK BETTER WORLD (B3W) INITIATIVE
B3W is an international infrastructure investment initiative announced by the Group of Seven (G-7) richest democracies in June 2021. The B3W initiative is being seen as the US’ initiative to counter China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Build Back Better Plan is a Covid-19 relief, future economic, and infrastructure package proposed by G-7 countries for developing and lower-income countries.
Components of B3W: Through B3W, the G7 and other like-minded partners will coordinate in mobilizing private-sector capital in four areas of focus:
- Health and health security
- Digital technology
- Gender equity and equality
- Values-Driven Development: Infrastructure development carried out in a transparent and sustainable manner - financially, environmentally, and socially - will lead to a better outcome for recipient countries and communities.
- Good Governance and Strong Standards: B3W to infuse investment by complying with the standards promoted by the Blue Dot Network, relating to the environment and climate, labor and social safeguards, transparency, financing, construction, anti-corruption, and other areas.
- Climate-Friendly: The investments will be made in a manner consistent with achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
- Strong Strategic Partnerships: B3W will envisage countering the aggressive model of development and establish a more inclusive model of global development.
US-China’s Responsibility: It is the responsibility of leaders of China and the US to ensure that the competition between the countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended.
India to Maintain Interest Oriented Balancing: India should realise its rising global power and rather than getting enmeshed in US-China rivalry, it should prioritize its own interests and growth by maintaining peaceful mutual relationships.
Q.1 The G7 (Group of Seven) Countries proposed a ___________ initiative’ at the recent 47th G7 summit to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- G-7 Economic corridor
- Renewing the World
- Build Back Better World (B3W): ANSWER
- None of the above
Q.2 Which of the following statements is/are incorrect in the context of the China's Belt & Road Initiative (BRI)?
- It was launched in 2016 and involves development and investment initiatives that would stretch from Asia to Europe and beyond: ANSWER
- More than 100 countries have signed agreements with China to cooperate in BRI projects like railways, ports, highways and other infrastructure.
- China has a plan to complete 4,000 km of railways and 10,000 km of highways within the Central Asian region as part of BRI.
- None of the above
Q.3 India & USA have signed the BECA Military Agreement. BECA is the last of the four foundational agreements signed. Which of the following are the other three agreements?
- All of the above: ANSWER
Q.4 The United States of America as part of which of the following legislation, required to assist Taiwan if coerced or attacked by China?
- Taiwan Relations Act, 1979: ANSWER
- Taiwan's Security Act, 1981
- Taiwan Sovereign state Act, 1979
- None of the following
Q.5 After considering the given statements, state which of the following is/are correct in the reference to the historical background of China-Taiwan conflict?
- China and Taiwan separated amid civil war in 1945 and China considers Taiwan part of its territory to be taken control of by force if necessary.
- 'China First Policy' means that countries seeking diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC, Mainland China) must break official relations with the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) and vice versa.
- China considers that Taiwan's Republic of China (ROC) government is illegitimate & prevented government-to-government contact: ANSWER
- None of the following