We do not need to say to Americans directly about surpassing the United Kingdom and catching up with the United States. In fact, there is a standard official answer to this, and it is called the realization of two hundred-year goals. This is the goal of the national rejuvenation set by the 18th National Congress. In 2021, the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.), we should achieve the goal of building up a moderately prosperous society in all aspects. Our per capita income should be over 10,000 U.S. dollars. This has been achieved in Guangzhou. The rest of the country is falling behind a little bit, but in another five or six years the goal can be achieved. This is the first step. The second step is in 2049, the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, our per capita income should reach 30,000 U.S. dollars, and we should enter the club of developed countries. This should be the standard answer. In the future, when foreigners ask you what national rejuvenation is, you need to answer with the above two hundred-year goals. But I believe that for President Xi, national rejuvenation is to surpass the United Kingdom and to catch up with the United States, that is, to become the No. 1 boss.
So Mao Zedong solved the problem of survival for the new China. Deng Xiaoping solved the issue of development, because by the time Mao Zedong died the problem of survival had certainly been solved, so at that time we could work on development. Now President Xi wants to solve the issue of respect. After this issue is solved, we will learn from the United States, and enter the fourth stage. But that will be the task for our next generation. In our generation, we need to obtain a status that is equal to the U.S. The task of our next generation is to put the U.S. under our jurisdiction / management too. But the premise is that we need to do a good job in our generation.
President Xi’s global strategy has two pillars, one is the Belt and Road Initiative. This is looking westward mainly from the land. We hope to use physical means, (such as) railways, highways, oil pipelines, gas pipelines, fiber optic cables, ports, transportation hubs, airports, etc., using physical means to interconnect East Asia, West Asia, Africa, Europe, to make them into one economic entity. There is another pillar looking east, called the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, which was proposed in the declaration of the APEC meeting in November 2014. We need to promote the whole Asia-Pacific FTA in the future. One of the ways is to use trade and compatible legal system arrangements to connect North and South America and Australia with us. One of them (the two pillars) is a little more concrete; one is a little less concrete. The one on the land is a little more concrete and real; the one on the ocean is a little less concrete. These two things are President Xi’s global strategy.
There are only two global strategic players in the world today, the others are not. The United States is adopting a butterfly strategy. China adopts a sub-pillar strategy. Why can these two play? First, because of their mega-scales. We are huge. We have abundant resources. Second, because of the history of having been an empire. China has a history of empire. The Chinese people always feel inside themselves that they have a big country. No matter how bad this country is, it is still a big country. The United States has dominated the world for more than 100 years, its imperial mentality is very strong. Third, because of the industrial capacity, the two countries both have very strong industrial capacity, now the United States is a little weaker, but it was once very strong.
Next, let me talk about the U.S.-China relations. What is the place of the U.S.-China relations in the whole of Chinese diplomacy today? It’s the biggest challenge for Chinese diplomacy because of the reasons I have mentioned above. The U.S. is very powerful. It is the number one right now, very capable. Frankly speaking, now the United States is still a middle-aged strong man. It has not reached retirement age yet. It is like someone in a workplace who is very good looking, very capable, and basically very popular among coworkers. WE are like the number 2 boss who just got promoted. We want to squeeze it (the U.S.) out, but we do not dare to fight it, so it is quite difficult. We in China are trying to come up with various ways. First, create conditions for it to make mistakes, so one day we get the inspection team to lock it up.
In China, the C.C.P.’s central government sometimes sends inspection teams to inspect how local officials are doing. If an official is found to have problems such as corruption, he/she will be punished. In Xi Jinping’s era, inspection system has become a tool to combat political opponents. Some Chinese commentators believe the hidden message here is that Jin Canrong is suggesting that the C.C.P. corrupt the U.S. politicians with money and women to have them compromised.
Second, we keep it (the U.S.) busy so that it will suffer from depression and want to quit the job itself. Third, we should get ourselves mixed together with the U.S., so that it can not fight us. We should create such a situation where you have me inside you, and I have you inside me.
Initially our Chinese diplomacy had four pillars: great power diplomacy, neighboring country diplomacy, developing country diplomacy, and multilateral international organization diplomacy. Our internal positioning was that great power diplomacy was the key, the neighboring country diplomacy was the primary, developing country diplomacy was the foundation, and multilateral international organization diplomacy was our important stage. Today we still say the same, but we will add one more sentence after the original four sentences, that is, the China-US relations is the top priority of the entire Chinese diplomacy, because China-US relations are everywhere, the key relation among the relations with the great powers is the relationship between China and the United States. Whether we can do well with neighboring countries also depends on (our relationship with) the U.S. Whether we can influence developing countries also depends on (our relationship with) the U.S. And the U.S. is also the main target of activities of the international organizations. So the U.S. is everywhere in terms of our four diplomatic pillars. But now there is a change after President Xi came to power. President Xi wants to lower the relationship between China and the United States a little bit, and enhance that with the neighboring countries a little bit. This was a subtle change in the past few years. Although there was such a change, handling well the Sino-U.S. relations is still the first priority and the most difficult problem for Chinese diplomacy.
In the past 30 years, Germany has given us the biggest help with our technology import. Germany’s help accounts for 46% of the imported technology. The Yankees have the best technology in the world, the world’s most cutting edge technologies in the past 30 years were all invented by the Americans. But they just do not sell them to us. If you don’t sell to us, we won’t be polite. In the past, there was no Internet, so we had nothing to do. Now since there is such a thing called the Internet, we of course will make good use of it. The United States now believes that China is the one who steals most from it. Everything is stolen, including even the personal files of public servants. What’s most important is of course the technology. They think many of our key technologies were stolen from them, including our J-20, Dongfeng 41, etc. Third, the national security law, we passed the national security law to restrict NGOs.
China’s long-term strategy has probably the following key points. I don’t know the long-term strategy of the United States. If Hillary comes to power, she will continue the current policy. If Trump comes to power, I do not know what the long-term strategy will be. Our long-term strategy has been very consistent. The first priority is to develop ourselves. This cannot be shaken. After we develop to a certain extent, the United States will have to accept us. Yesterday I also said this. The United States of America is in essence a nation that does things around business. Business people are not that stubborn or too emotional. So they will accept it if their opponent is strong to a certain extent. Now the United States is stronger than us, so they despise us. But in the future when we are particularly strong, he will say, hey, tuhao, let’s make friends. We are now going towards this direction.
In addition, we are actively expanding our layout (of national power) without direct conflicts with the United States. For example, in the past few years we have done some things, such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the New Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Eastern Air Defense Identification Zone, the South China Sea island building, etc. In fact, we still tried to control our paces. We are not like Russia. Russia sometimes does things directly regardless of how the U.S. will feel. China basically still controls to what extent we do things.
For example, we built some islands in the South China Sea, which greatly irritated the United States. But we waited until the United States got itself into fights with Syria; we waited until it got itself involved in Ukraine. We only built the islands then. When the U.S. found that we had built such large islands by the end of last June, we immediately said to it, “Oh, my dear boss, we will stop it.”
As a matter of fact, it was not that we wouldn’t build it. Why did we only do it till the end of June? Because the typhoon was coming in July. (We had) more than 200 ships there, of which there were not many large ships, most of the ships were small. It was a little dangerous (for the ships to stay there), so we had hurry back. This was the first reason. The second reason was the scientific reason. We pumped up the sea sand to build the South China Sea islands. We mixed the sand with special water. After stirring them, they became the ground. This was a new technique, new to the whole world. So we needed to do some scientific tests for it. A bit like after we finish a project, we need to find a third party to inspect it.
This technique was great, but we still needed to have the Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Engineering to check it. That was why we stopped to test it in the middle of the year. If it was OK after the test, we could continue with building it later.
So these were the two actual reasons (for us to stop building the islands), one was the typhoon, one was a scientific requirement.
But we reported to the United States, we said, hey, boss, we are not building it anymore. The United States was very happy for a few months. They thought, after all, we are still the boss. So you see, China controls things better than Russia.
Third, expand the scale of cooperation, dilute what we already have with what we add. This was Deng Xiaoping’s reform policy. Xiaoping’s reform was to add things… Now we are dealing with the relationship between China and the United States. We have a lot of problems. We can not solve them. So we should try to expand the scale of cooperation. Say, the competition (between China and the U.S.) used to account for 60%, the cooperation only accounted for 40%. At such a time, it was very difficult to solve problems with the competition. If through our efforts, we reduce the competition to 30%, 70% of it will be cooperation. Although we still haven’t solved anything in the competition area, its ratio will be reduced in the overall relationship. At this time the difficulty becomes smaller.
There is also another strategy called getting deeper into the U.S. Now we are talking to the United States about something called BIT, Bilateral Investment Treaty, which may have a partial result before Obama leaves office. There is no chance to completely negotiate it (before that). We hope to have a partial result. That can be our foundation. After Hillary takes office, we can continue to talk. We are determined to get it done. We will give the United States better concessions, while we try to win very good terms for our investment in the United States, so that our domestic capital has somewhere to go. We can have a way out in the U.S. In the meantime, we can make money, and control the market.
There is also a political consequence, if China can finally get very fair treatment, I believe many Chinese capital will finally go to the United States. The United States investment opportunities are relatively good, relatively open, more open than Japan, Europe, the market capacity is relatively large, the legal system is transparent and predictable, the protection is also good. So the first value is in the economic area, the second is the political value.
We in the Chinese government hope that in the end, every U.S. Congressman’s district will have Chinese investment, and China will be able to control one thousand or several thousand votes, and then we can influence his (the congressman’s) attitude.
In fact, the U.S. House of Representatives CAN BE controlled, because the United States has 312 million people, and 435 members of the House of Representatives. On average, a congressional district has about 750,000 people, 750,000 people’s voter turnout is only 30%, that is, about 200,000 votes can decide his fate (the fate of the congress candidate).
Generally speaking, the numbers of votes for the two candidates are very close, the gap won’t be particularly large. So in the end, I guess there is only a difference of 10 thousand or several thousand votes. Therefore, if you can have several thousand votes in your hands, you are as good as his father/master.
If China conducts good operations in the U.S., we may be able to buy it over, and turn the U.S. into our second Standing Committee of National People’s Congress. In that case, we will be jumping out of the Thucydides trap.
Of course we can also have other evil tricks, such as throwing the world into further chaos. The United States has a problem. It is really very diverse, and has the highest degree of democracy in the Western countries. Of course, diversity has an advantage, the people have the freedom, have a say. But it also has a disadvantage. It is very difficult to build consensus. For the United States, the best external scenario is to have a very clear enemy around which to mobilize politically.
If there are two enemies, the United States is dumbfounded/at a loss as to what to do. This was the case before World War II. There were two enemies (for the U.S.). One was the black threat of Nazi Germany, one was the red threat of the Soviet Union. At that time people inside the United States started to quarrel among themselves. One faction said he was the enemy, another said he was the enemy. They started fighting among themselves before they fought the enemies.
If there are three external enemies outside the United States, I reckon it will start to feel dizzy. If it has four enemies, it will completely get lost. So China’s strategic task is to ensure that there are four enemies (for the U.S.), terrorists are certainly one. Russia is very much like one, but not enough. China once wanted to foster Brazil (so that it can also become an enemy for the U.S.). Brazil actually has the potential to become a great power, but it is not up to it. We couldn’t do anything about it.