Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s latest speech can be seen as a turning point in the New Cold War whereby its already existing Sino-American dimension became undeniable upon the indisputable death of the “New Détente” after early February’s balloon incident. The People’s Republic won’t let itself be pushed around by the US, no longer has any interest in negotiating mutual compromises with it like before, and is bracing for an intensified competition.
The US-led West’s Golden Billion is shocked that newly appointed Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang just made it clear during his first press conference at the National People’s Congress that the People’s Republic won’t be pushed around by that de facto New Cold War bloc. CNN reported on the highlights of his speech, which warned that conflict might break out between China and the US in the worst-case scenario if the latter “does not hit the brakes, but continues to speed down the wrong path”.
This top diplomat’s assessment is that “The US claims it seeks to compete with China but does not seek conflict. But in reality, the so-called ‘competition’ by the US is all-round containment and suppression, a zero-sum game of life and death.” He later added that “The real purpose of the Indo-Pacific strategy is to contain China. No Cold War should be repeated in Asia, and no Ukraine-style crisis should be repeated in Asia.” These carefully chosen words should be taken very seriously by all observers.
Up until last month’s unexpected balloon incident, there were high hopes that the “New Détente” between China and the US would ultimately bear some sort of mutually beneficial fruit as a result of their negotiations. Such rhetoric as Foreign Minister Qin’s would never have been uttered, let alone at a high-profile event like the first session of China’s 14th National People’s Congress, had the aforementioned incident not transpired or the US at least didn’t turn it into a crisis.
The balloon incident can therefore be described in hindsight as a game changer seeing as how it abruptly shifted the previously positive trajectory of the “New Détente” in the irreversible direction of an unprecedentedly intense competition between these superpowers. Their prior effort to reach a series of mutual compromises aimed at establishing a “new normal” in their relations is now indisputably derailed, with Foreign Minister Qin’s latest speech leaving no doubt about this outcome.
Even so, China still sincerely wants to avoid a hot war with the US even if a New Cold War with that declining unipolar hegemon is inevitable and has arguably already been underway for years since Washington started meddling in the South China Sea back during the Obama era. The Pentagon’s gradual military “containment” of the People’s Republic in the Asia-Pacific via its rejuvenated alliances with Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and even unofficially Taiwan make that difficult, however.
There’s little that Beijing can do to push back against that destabilizing trend, but it can still protect its grand strategic interests along other fronts across the Eastern Hemisphere such as by potentially arming Moscow in the worst-case scenario that its proxy war with NATO in Ukraine starts to go badly. It’s with this possibility in mind that Foreign Minister Qin noted that the Ukrainian Conflict is at a “critical juncture”, hence the need to urgently reach a ceasefire in order to avert further escalation.
As he phrased it, “There will either be cessation of hostilities, restoration of peace and a move towards political settlement, or fuel will be added to the fire, the crisis will expand, and the situation will get out of control…There is an ‘invisible hand’ pushing the conflict towards escalation and trying to use the Ukrainian crisis to serve a certain geopolitical agenda.” That last-mentioned remark references what Chinese Ambassador to the EU Fu Cong recently said regarding the US’ implicit intentions.
According to him, “In my opinion, the biggest ‘black hand’ behind the scenes is the US, and it is also the biggest beneficiary. As long as the Ukraine conflict continues, it will help the US with its policies of weakening Russia, controlling Europe and containing China. The American arms industry would make a fortune.” Foreign Minister Qin’s latest insight into the NATO-Russian proxy war’s military-strategic dynamics can therefore be interpreted as building upon Ambassador Fu’s.
China’s position towards that conflict is still one of principled neutrality, but the People’s Republic is being pushed by NATO-shaped circumstances in Eastern Europe into seriously countenancing the dispatch of lethal aid to Russia in the event that its partner is knocked back closer to its 2014 borders. Should both events happen in sequence, then the US and Germany already very strongly implied that they’ll impose sanctions against China, which their Asia-Pacific partners could be pressured to join too.
Regardless of the extent to which these are promulgated, considering that it presently remains unclear whether they’ll be targeted sanctions or broader sectoral ones, that would accelerate the ongoing gradual “decoupling” of China and the West. The impending outcome of those interconnected developments would likely be the trifurcation of International Relations between the US-led West’s Golden Billion, the Sino-Russo Entente, and the de facto Indian-led Global South as explained here.
With these grand strategic dynamics in mind, Foreign Minister Qin’s latest speech can therefore be seen as a turning point in the New Cold War whereby its already existing Sino-American dimension became undeniable upon the indisputable death of the “New Détente” after early February’s balloon incident. The People’s Republic won’t let itself be pushed around by the US, no longer has any interest in negotiating mutual compromises with it like before, and is bracing for an intensified competition.
Source: the author’s blog