New China-DPRK strategic partnership?

An insightful article from the Global Times, which includes the following:

Kim’s three China visits indicate that China-North Korea relations have recovered and developed well … As two sovereign states, China and North Korea have the right to develop friendly relations. Facts have proven that since the outbreak of the North Korean nuclear crisis in the 1990s, stable Sino-North Korean relations have played a positive role in maintaining regional peace and stability.

Some Chinese scholars hold that the China-North Korea relationship could develop into a new strategic partnership if the two make an effort to strengthen bilateral ties in the future. Such a strategic partnership would play a constructive role in the region. North Korea’s desire for peaceful development, to ease relations with other countries and build a new international environment has presented an opportunity for Sino-North Korean cooperation.

Opening up is an inevitability if a country wants to develop. China will be a reliable strategic partner capable of supporting North Korea’s political security during its course of opening up.

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Third meeting between Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping

Chinese papers have already reported on Kim Jong Un’s third visit to China and to meet with Xi Jinping over the last couple of days, but I have been waiting for KCNA to report, especially since they always have the best pictures.

A selection from the lengthy report at KCNA:

At the talks the result of the historic DPRK-U.S. summit, which was successfully held amidst the unusual interest and expectation of the international community, and appreciation, views and stand on it were informed each other. And beneficial views on a series of issues of mutual concern including the prospect for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula were exchanged and a shared understanding on the discussed issues achieved.

The respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un expressed thanks to the Chinese party and government for positive and sincere support and good help for the successful DPRK-U.S. summit meeting and talks.

Saying that he is much pleased with and values the recently strengthened strategic cooperation between the two parties and the mutual confidence getting further deepened, he expressed the determination and will to further develop the closer relations of friendship, unity and cooperation between the two parties and the two peoples of the DPRK and China.

Xi Jinping gave high appreciation and extended heartfelt congratulations to Chairman Kim Jong Un for having steered the DPRK-U.S. summit meeting and talks successfully and put the situation of the Korean Peninsula on the track of dialogue, negotiation, peace and stability.

Voicing full support for the stand and determination of the DPRK side for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he said that China will continue to play its constructive role in the future, too.

The talks proceeded in a comradely, candid and friendly atmosphere.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and president of the People’s Republic of China, hosted a grand banquet in welcome of the China visit by Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday evening.

At the banquet Xi Jinping made a congratulatory speech and Kim Jong Un made a reply speech.

Xi Jinping warmly welcomed Kim Jong Un‘s China visit, saying that this fully showed his fixed will to attach great importance to the strengthened strategic communication between the two parties of China and the DPRK and develop the traditional friendship of the two countries and demonstrated to the whole world the invincibility of the relations between the two parties and two countries.

After Chairman Kim Jong Un‘s China visit in March, the China-DPRK relations have entered a new phase of development and the important joint agreements of both sides are being implemented one by one and the China-DPRK relations of friendship and cooperation are in new vigor, Xi Jinping stated.

Noting that Kim Jong Un has made great efforts to protect peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula by leading the Korean people and further consolidated the trend of dialogue and détente on the peninsula, Xi Jinping said he is pleased to see it and highly appreciates it.

He affirmed that China and the DPRK would learn, consult, unite and cooperate with each other as close friends and comrades to jointly open up rosier and beautiful future of the socialist cause in the two countries.

Kim Jong Un said he is very glad to meet again Xi Jinping and other close Chinese comrades at the time when a new historic current is being created in the Korean Peninsula and the region with the successful DPRK-U.S. summit. He expressed heartfelt thanks to Xi Jinping for his cordial hospitality despite the pressure of work.

Saying the picture of the DPRK and China sharing joy and sorrow and sincerely helping and cooperating with each other like family members clearly demonstrates at home and abroad that the relations between the two parties and two countries are developing into the unprecedentedly special relationship beyond the traditional ties, Kim Jong Un stated that he would make every possible effort to steadily develop the DPRK-China friendly relations onto a new high level, valuing affinity and affection forged with Xi Jinping.

He said that he would closely cooperate with the Chinese comrades at the same staff in the historic journey of defending socialism and opening up a new future of the Korean Peninsula and the region, and fully discharge his responsibility and role to protect genuine peace.

He expressed the belief and expectation that the Chinese people would surely realize the dream of China called the great prosperity of China in the near future under the leadership of Xi Jinping and the Communist Party of China.

To add another perspective, as Chinese analysis indicates, Kim Jong Un is relying on China to make sure the USA keeps its security promises. Or to put it more directly, the clear message is: don’t mess with the DPRK, since it has China’s backing.

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The Deindustrialisation of the United States

The situation in which the United States currently finds itself – a lone superpower that lacks true power, a world leader nobody follows and few respect, and a nation drifting dangerously (Wallerstein 2003, 17).

One of the consequences of the supposed ‘end of the Cold War’ in eastern Europe and Russia has been the process of deindustrialisation. With the aggressive ‘shock therapy’ of the 1990s, industries in one country after another in that part of the world were bought up by western European companies and promptly shut down.

On the many occasions I have been in that part of the world, I have passed by former factories, now crumbling and overgrown. Even locals who have no sympathy for communism lament this deindustrialisation. As a consequence, there has been a re-agriculturalisation along with significant temporary or permanent immigration to other parts of the world as people seek work. If the country is large enough, like Russia, it has become a major exporter of raw materials. In Russia at least, there is vigorous debate as to what a re-industrialisation might look like and who would drive it.

But I have a bit slow in picking up that the United States has become increasingly deindustrialised in the last 30 years or so. I do not mean some ‘loss’ – more or less – of manufacturing to overseas locations, but wholesale deindustrialisation. It hit me only recently as I was reading some local Chinese news about the growing trade wars the United States is waging with nearly all countries in the world. As I looked more closely, I saw that the main items exported by the United States are in fact agricultural products. China has been until recently a major importer of soy beans, among other produce. To be sure, there are a few niche industries that continue, such as aircraft manufacture. But Boeing’s main focus is the production of military machines, so it receives significant government support. Further, China – to take one example – has mostly been buying from Airbus, so much so that Airbus has eclipsed Boeing as the leading manufacturer of domestic aircraft in the world. Another niche industry is in some areas of high-technology. Even this is fading, since more new breakthroughs happen in China than in the United States, and China is a net exporter of high-tech products.

There are many angles on this aspect of decline, more than I can mention here. One is the heavy focus in recent years on the ‘financialised market’ (which Marx already foresaw in the third volume of Capital). In this case, money apparently produces more money (M-M1), so much so that wealth is made through speculation and not through actually making anything much. For example, in the first decade of this century a third of manufacturing jobs disappeared, so that now less than ten percent of employment is in manufacture. Meanwhile, financialisation took hold in more and more areas. The catch is that the crucial mediating role of making commodities (M-C-M1) is either concealed or goes elsewhere. By contrast, the Chinese socialist market economy focuses clearly on production, having already been the world’s largest manufacturer for almost a decade. A major feature is significant infrastructure investment and construction. So sustained has this focus become that Chinese technology now outstrips that found elsewhere. No wonder Chinese bids for international projects are usually the best available – blocked occasionally by bumbling politicians elsewhere keen to make themselves look strong.

Another factor is the longer-term decline of the United States. In 2003, Immanuel Wallerstein published The Decline of American Power. It was written immediately in response to the successful attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001, but the idea runs further back. In fact, Wallerstein argues that it began with the defeat in Vietnam, in which the communists defeated the vastly superior United States armed forces. It was not even that someone dared to challenge that power, but that they did so successfully. The decline has been economic, ideological and political. At the time he published the book, many dismissed the suggestion that ‘the eagle has crash landed’, but since the Atlantic economic crisis of 2008, many have begun to take notice. Crucially, it is clear on this matter that Trump simply continues the trajectory since the first Bush presidency: a declining power never does so happily. Increasingly, it uses or threatens to use the only thing it has left: military power.

All of which brings me back to deindustrialisation. Not only is the United States becoming mainly a producer of primary materials, but it also has crumbling infrastructure. The cracks become wider, the worn machinery more and more dinted. The place is literally falling apart – materially, socially and politically. By comparison, even Pyongyang has been able to build a shiny new airport.

China’s socialist model enriches global governance philosophy

I rather like this piece from the Global Times yesterday:

The most discussed challenge to liberal democracy in the West nowadays is the perceived threat of China’s rise and the “Chinese model.” That China has rapidly risen in a development model different from that of the West has startled and upset the West. Does China attempt to overthrow the Western liberal order? Would it spread its development ideas, values and political system to other countries? Such worries haunt many Western scholars, politicians and media outlets.

To figure out whether China is a threat to liberalism, the Economist initiated a debate “Should the West worry about the threat to liberal values posed by China’s rise?” as if liberal values are paramount standards that couldn’t be challenged.

After the Cold War, Western liberal democracy and the market economic system, which are built on core liberal values such as individual freedom, equality and capitalism, gained their momentum. Francis Fukuyama, an acclaimed American political scientist, even declared free-market liberal democracy would become the world’s “final form of human government.”

However, it’s absurd to hold Western liberal democracy was the “end of history.” Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Western world has undergone serious economic, political and social turbulence. Political polarization in the US, the European migrant crisis, Brexit and the rise of populism on both sides of the Atlantic all indicate the West has been mired in a liberalism crisis.

Fukuyama was compelled to revise his original opinion and turned to fear for the future of liberal democracy. He called to examine the deep structural reasons for dysfunctional democracy. Unfortunately, a more prevailing view is to blame external threats for the fall of liberal democracy, regardless of what deserves more attention is not threat from outside, but from within.

The West should make self-introspection for the liberalism crisis. Liberal ideas and institutions failed to solve the problems facing developing countries. Many developing governments found it hard to govern their country well after copying Western political systems and were plagued by political and social woes. More newly emerging countries have become skeptical about the Western model. In sharp contrast, the Chinese model is gaining popularity and giving hope to those countries longing for rapid development while maintaining independence.

The Chinese model has undoubtedly raised questions over liberal values, but it also enriches development philosophy. There is neither “end of history” nor “end of evolution” for development model. Now it’s the time for the West to seriously reflect upon its own problems and reconsider its values. What it needs to do is to improve and move forward, rather than be obsessed with past success. If it continues to defend its internal decay by fabricating external threats, liberal democracy and institutions will face a bigger crisis.

If you wish to read further, there is also an intriguing article about a Nigerian proposal to change to a one-party system and socialist economy in Nigeria.

Full report on Singapore Summit from Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)

This is the fullest report you will find on the Singapore Summit, including more details on items discussed and agreed:

  1. Halting US-South Korean military exercises.
  2. Invitations for Kim Jong Un to visit Washington and Trump to visit Pyongyang – invitations accepted.
  3. Step-by-step simultaneous action for peace, security and stability.

I should also point out that this follows China’s long-held proposal of ‘suspension for suspension’. And, as this item from the Global Times points out, Trump has also indicated that he hopes to remove US troops occupying the peninsula.

The report can be found at the DPRK’s official news outlet, Korean Central News Agency.

Pyongyang, June 13 (KCNA) — Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, held the summit meeting and talks with Donald J. Trump, president of the United States of America, at Sentosa Island of Singapore on June 12, 2018 for the first time in the histories of the two countries.

Thanks to the fixed decision and will of the top leaders of the two countries to put an end to the extreme hostile relations between the DPRK and the U.S., which lingered for the longest period on the earth on terms of acute confrontation and to open up a new future for the sake of the interests of the peoples of the two countries and global peace and security, the first DPRK-U.S. summit is to be held.

Singapore, the country of the epoch-making meeting much awaited by the whole world, was awash with thousands of domestic and foreign journalists and a large crowd of masses to see this day’s moment which will remain long in history.

Kim Jong Un left his lodging quarters at 8:10 a.m. local time and arrived at Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island of Singapore, the venue of the talks.

Seen standing at the lobby of the venue of the talks where the top leaders of the DPRK and the U.S. will have the first meeting were the flags of the DPRK and the U.S.

At 9:00 a.m. local time the respected Supreme Leader of the party, state and army of the DPRK Kim Jong Un met and shook hands with U.S. President Donald J. Trump for the first time.

The top leaders of the two countries came to take their first step toward reconciliation for the first time in the 70 odd years-long history of standoff and antagonism since the division of the Korean Peninsula, and to stand face to face at the venue of dialogue.

Chairman Kim Jong Un had a souvenir photo taken with President Trump. The two top leaders went to the conference room, having a familiar talk.

Tete-a-tete talks were held between the two top leaders.

Noting that it was not easy to get to where they were,

Kim Jong Un made the meaningful words there was a past that gripped their ankles and prejudice and wrong practice covered their eyes and ears, but they overcame all that to come this place and stand at a new starting point.

The two top leaders had a candid exchange of views on the practical issues of weighty significance in putting an end to the decades-long hostile relations between the DPRK and the U.S. and making peace and stability settle on the Korean Peninsula.

Then followed extended talks.

Present there from the DPRK side were Kim Yong Chol and Ri Su Yong, vice-chairmen of the Central Committee of the WPK, and Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

Present there from the U.S. side were Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, United States National Security Advisor John Bolton and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

There was a comprehensive and in-depth discussion over the issues of establishing new DPRK-U.S. relations and building a permanent and durable peace mechanism at the talks.

Noting that he is pleased to sit face-to-face with President Trump and the U.S. side’s delegation, Chairman Kim Jong Un highly praised the president’s will and enthusiasm to resolve matters in a realistic way through dialogue and negotiations, away from the hostility-woven past.

Expressing belief that the summit talks would lead to improvement of the DPRK-U.S. relations, President Trump appreciated that an atmosphere of peace and stability was created on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, although distressed with the extreme danger of armed clash only a few months ago, thanks to the proactive peace-loving measures taken by the respected Supreme Leader from the outset of this year.

Noting that many problems occurred due to deep-rooted distrust and hostility existing between the two countries,

Kim Jong Un said in order to achieve peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and realize its denuclearization, the two countries should commit themselves to refraining from antagonizing each other out of mutual understanding, and take legal and institutional steps to guarantee it.

He also underlined the need for the DPRK and the U.S. to take practical measures actively to carry out the issues discussed at the talks and the joint statement at an early date.

Kim Jong Un made an immediate agreement on Trump’s proposal for recovering the remains of American soldiers and repatriating those already identified and gave an instruction to take a measure for settling it as early as possible.

Noting that the building of lasting and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean Peninsula is of weighty significance in ensuring peace and security in the region and the rest of the world, he said that it is urgent to make bold decision on halting irritating and hostile military actions against each other.

Expressing his understanding of it, Trump expressed his intention to halt the U.S.-south Korea joint military exercises, which the DPRK side regards as provocation, over a period of good-will dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S., offer security guarantees to the DPRK and lift sanctions against it along with advance in improving the mutual relationship through dialogue and negotiation.

Kim Jong Un clarified the stand that if the U.S. side takes genuine measures for building trust in order to improve the DPRK-U.S. relationship, the DPRK, too, can continue to take additional good-will measures of next stage commensurate with them.

Kim Jong Un and Trump had the shared recognition to the effect that it is important to abide by the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

That day, a luncheon was given in honor of the top leaders of the DPRK and the U.S. and participants in the talks.

Exchanged at the luncheon were views on further animating communication, contact and visit between both sides to cement the achievements made at the DPRK-U.S. talks and remarkably develop the DPRK-U.S. relations.

After the luncheon, the top leaders had a walk, deepening friendly feelings.

Kim Jong Un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, and Donald J. Trump, president of the USA, signed a joint statement of the historic Singapore summit talks.

Kim Jong Un said that today both sides came to sign the historic joint statement heralding a new start, passing the past over, stating that the world would witness an important change.

Kim Jong Un had a meaningful photo session with Trump to commemorate the signing of the historic document and bid him farewell.

Chairman Kim Jong Un and President Trump expressed expectation and belief that the two countries which have lived in the quagmire of hostility, distrust and hatred would pass the unhappy past over and dynamically advance toward an excellent and proud future beneficial to each other and another new era, the era of the DPRK-U.S. cooperation would open up.

Kim Jong Un invited Trump to visit Pyongyang at a convenient time and Trump invited Kim Jong Un to visit the U.S.

The two top leaders gladly accepted each other’s invitation, convinced that it would serve as another important occasion for improved DPRK-U.S. relations.

The DPRK-U.S. summit talks held in Singapore with success amid enthusiastic support and welcome of the whole world come to be a great event of weighty significance in further promoting the historic trend toward reconciliation and peace, stability and prosperity being created in the Korean Peninsula and the region and in making a radical switchover in the most hostile DPRK-U.S. relations, as required by the developing times.

Of course, KCNA has the best pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mao’s ‘contradiction analysis’ valid more than 60 years later

Back in 1957, Mao gave a long speech called ‘On Correctly Handling Contradictions Among the People‘ (I am reading it at the moment as part of my Chinese language study). He was thinking about such matters more intensely at the time, since he had been revising part of his lectures on Dialectical Materialism, first given in Yan’an in 1937. That part would become ‘On Contradiction‘, the most important and influential writing on philosophy in China in the twentieth century.

‘On Correctly Handling Contradictions’, has many insights, including the development in a Chinese context of non-antagonistic contradictions’. But I am here interested in his deployment of contradiction analysis to understand developments in international relations.

At one point, he writes:

The United States now controls a majority in the United Nations and dominates many parts of the world – this state of affairs is temporary and will be changed one of these days. China’s position as a poor country denied its rights in international affairs will also be changed – the poor country will change into a rich one, the country denied its rights into one enjoying them – a transformation of things into their opposites. Here, the decisive conditions are the socialist system and the concerted efforts of a united people.

How true this is today, more than 60 years later.