The transcript of Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s participation in the panel interview, ‘What’s the Outlook for China’s Foreign Policy in the Next Five Years?’ on Nov. 4, 2022 follows:
China’s diplomatic efforts are in full swing, with the first round of visits by foreign leaders since the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to China, as the first EU leader since the start of the pandemic, follows that of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan. What does it say about the outlook of China’s foreign policy after the Party Congress? Host Ge Anna is joined by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Founder of the Schiller Institute; Dr. Rong Ying, Vice President and Senior Research Fellow, China Institute of International Studies; Hamzah Rifaat Hussain, News Anchor, Indus News, Islamabad, Pakistan.
GE ANNA: China’s diplomatic efforts are in full swing with the first round of visits of foreign leaders since the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. What does it say about the outlook of China’s foreign policy after the Party Congress? Welcome to World Today, the panel discussion with Ge Anna. We come to you from our studio in Beijing with a different perspective.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Beijing, noting the complex international landscape, the Chinese President underscored the need for China and Germany—two major countries with significant influence—to work together in times of change and instability and contribute more to global peace and development. Scholz’s visit to China as the first European leader after the 20th CPC National Congress follows that of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
So, what does China’s intensive diplomatic efforts say about the outlook of China’s foreign policy after the Party Congress, as China strives to translate its visions into reality? What can the rest of the world’s developed countries and developing ones alike expect from the rapid growth in the country?
To delve into this and more, let’s have: Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute, a Germany-based political and economic think tank; Dr. Rong Ying, Vice President and Senior Research Fellow, China Institute of International Studies; Hamzah Rifaat Hussain, News Anchor from Indus News, Islamabad, Pakistan. Thanks for joining us today.
Zepp-LaRouche, the just-concluded 20th National Congress of the CPC has laid out a new blueprint for China’s future development, including shaping the trajectory of its engagement with the world. So, with such a background, what messages are being sent by China’s active diplomacy this week, shortly following the Party Congress?
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think this constitutes a major new initiative towards harmonic development in the world. I think this is a very important step, because the world is in deep trouble. We have incredible challenges as President Xi Jinping has always emphasized; challenges which have not been seen since 100 years. We face the danger of nuclear war; we have out-of-control inflation in many of the countries of the trans-Atlantic sector. I think what China is bringing into this world is a completely different approach. I think the potential of the combination of the Belt and Road Initiative, the global development initiative, and the global security initiative, are all conceptions which can bring a completely different paradigm into the world situation.
[Ge asks other guests questions.]
GE ANNA: Speaking of the purpose and objectives of China’s foreign policy, that is, to maintain world peace, promote common development, and a view to a community with a shared future for mankind, Helga, how do you read these objectives of China’s foreign policy? Especially when many believe we are living in a world where forces are keen to draw ideological lines and provoke confrontation between camps?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, I think this idea of a community with a shared future of mankind is very important, because it should remind people that we are sitting in one boat. And especially in times when the danger of a global nuclear war is on the horizon, I think it is a very useful concept to remind people that if it ever would come to that, nobody would survive such a war. And at the same time, it’s also a forward looking conception for the New Paradigm, because I think we have reached an epochal change in the history of mankind where we have to overcome geopolitical thinking. Geopolitical thinking was the cause for two world wars in the 20th Century, and if we continue to think in terms of blocs, this can go awfully wrong. So, the idea of the shared community of the future of mankind is the idea that we have to think about the one humanity first; that there can be no national interest, or the interest of a group of nations which would be in contradiction to the one humanity. I think this is a very important concept, and I think it would be very good if the Western countries would not just push it aside, but recognize that this is a philosophical idea which does give a concept for how we can build a future where all of humanity can prosper and survive.
[Ge asks other guests questions.]
GE ANNA: Helga, what’s your take? How do you look at the centrality accusation against China?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think if you go away from the words and actually look at the substance, behind all of this is the fact that the Western countries have pursued the neo-liberal model of economy and that is collapsing right now. I would even say that we are in the final phase of a hyperinflationary blow-out of the trans-Atlantic system. Because of that, they look at the rise of China as a systemic threat.
China is doing nothing to give a reason to be regarded as a threat, but I think it’s the idea that only if you contain the rise of China, if you decouple from Russia, from China, that you can somehow maintain what they call the “rules-based order.” Now, what this rules-based order is, nobody knows exactly. It’s also not so clear who is making these rules. We have the UN Charter, which should be the standard for international law, but I think the idea that China should be a systemic rival is not what the majority of the world population thinks. I think more than 150 countries that are cooperating with China in the Belt and Road Initiative do not see China as a systemic rival, but they see China as the country which helps them to overcome the relics of colonialism and poverty and under-development.
So, I think it’s really a tragedy that the Western media are so absolutely unified—the German word is Gleichschaltung—that they don’t allow anymore any truthful coverage. Because if the people of Europe and the United States would know the reality of what enormous progress China has made, they would not believe the story about systemic rivalry, because China has said many times that there is absolute room for everybody. Xi Jinping has made many times offers, especially to the United States, saying that there is a new concept of great power relationships; that the two strongest economies of the world must cooperate. I think the idea of finding a win-win cooperation remains the only way how we will get out of these many calamities in which the world is right now.
GE ANNA: Zepp-LaRouche, another question based on what you were just talking about, because China has repeatedly stated that it will never accept any zero-sum game, or the law of the jungle. But many experts believe this is a challenge to Western values. How do you look at such accusations?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: What is behind that, is that since about 2017, especially the British, but also the U.S. National Security papers, the National Security doctrines, started to characterize China as a systemic rival, as a competitor, and even harsher words. In a certain sense, China pursues a policy of harmonious development. I have not found—and I’m really a critical observer of politics—I have not seen any country of the developing sector, of the Global South, that would complain that they have been coerced by China. These accusations only come from the Western media. I think China has, on the other side, learned the lesson from its long history; from the century of humiliation, the enormous struggles of the 20th century. Now that China is finally strong enough to not have to put … [show goes to break while Zepp-LaRouche is still speaking].
GE ANNA: Let’s move on to the most recent visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. This is the first visit by a leader of a European Union country since the start of the pandemic, and the first visit by Scholz since he took office as Chancellor of Germany. This trip also attracted much attention from the media. Zepp-LaRouche, what do you think makes this meeting so significant to China and Germany in particular?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think it is extremely important, because it brings together the second- and fourth-largest economies of the world. Obviously, their collaboration is extremely important to solve any problem in the world. It is also very noteworthy because Scholz did this trip despite enormous pressure to not have a good relationship with China. He’s being pressured enormously from the U.S., from the British, and the Atlanticists inside Germany. As a matter of fact, the German Foreign Minister Baerbock, she is completely unreasonable in relationship to China. Therefore, I think it’s very important that Scholz does this, especially as the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Germany has just occurred last month. Obviously, with the enormous rise of China, Germany has profited enormously, a lot of the living standard in Germany was also supported by the strong integration of the two economies. So, I think it is extremely important, and I’m actually happy, because I hope that this will be a signal for all the other European countries, and it will be a sign of at least a little demonstration of sovereignty on the side of Germany.
GE ANNA: But the German-based media has been bombarded for days with commentary on whether Scholz’s visit to China is showing weakness to Beijing, or is buying time for Germany to wean itself off its dependence on China. What’s your reflection on their perspective? What’s the meaning, in your opinion, of Scholz’s trip to China?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Scholz just wrote a longer piece in the German newspaper FAZ, where he says he wants to reduce the dependencies on certain supply chains. That makes sense, because as we have seen in the pandemic, if you don’t have a certain security in terms of essential goods, this can be devastating in times of crisis. But that is different than to say that Germany should decouple. If Germany would decouple right now, because of Atlanticist pressure the relationship with Russia has already been completely ended. Right now, there is no relationship between Russia and Germany anymore. These are the words of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. I think if Germany would give in to this pressure, and also decouple from China, that would be the end of Germany as an industrial nation. We will look for an enormously difficult period in the coming fall and winter. The energy prices, the food prices, the inflation; we are looking at the potential de-industrialization of Germany. Many leaders of German industry have said that very clearly.
So, I think for Germany, the relationship with China must absolutely be a cornerstone of the existence of Germany as an industrial nation. But I’m optimistic that the industry leaders who are accompanying Scholz on this trip have said very clearly that they see the future of the German economy being very closely tied to that of China.
But it will be a battle, because I expect that the pressure is coming from the U.S. and Great Britain, so it will be a question of whether Germany can assert its sovereignty and its own interests. Hopefully that will happen, and then the future is bright. I have said many times that the fact that there is now a new economic system developing between the countries of the Global South, the BRICS, the SCO, the Eurasian Economic Union—these countries are all building a new economic system. It would be in the fundamental interest for Germany, which is an export nation, to cooperate. Hopefully if Germany goes in this direction, many other European countries will see the benefit for themselves as well.
[Ge asks other guests questions.]
GE ANNA: Zepp-LaRouche, besides differences between China and Germany, both China and Germany are actually the beneficiaries of globalization, and are striving for a more just international order with less political gains, sanctions, and confrontations. Do you think both sides do have the same vision in these turbulent times, as Dr. Rong suggested? In what areas can China’s and Germany’s cooperation and communication better insure multilateralism in the world?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Obviously, when you think small-minded, then you think that the world is only made up of competitors. But if you think creatively, and you think that scientific and technological progress are what make the economy progress, which was the philosophy of Germany for a very long time, and it is now the philosophy of China with the continuous application of innovation. If those two countries would join their creative efforts in discovery of new fundamental physical principles, scientific and technological progress, and they would cooperate, they could become so strong as a locomotive of the world economy.
For example, if Germany and China would cooperate in the area of artificial intelligence, digitalization, manned space flight, it would open up a whole array of new technologies; real fundamental breakthroughs as they go along with space science and space travel. It would really be a complete science driver for the whole world. So, hopefully, those elements of the German economy which are still in the traditional German sense and have not been infected by the Green delirium as Vaclav Klaus, the former President of Czechia, was calling it, then these two countries could cooperate tremendously to the benefit of the whole world. Because the industrial capacity of the entire world economy presently is below that which is needed to create enough food and development for all countries. That is the reason we have world famine and lack of clean water and all of these problems.
I think philosophically we must go back to the spirit of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who was a philosopher in the 17th and 18th centuries, who in 1697 wrote the beautiful Novissima Sinica, What Is New from China. He was at that time advertising that Germany and all of Europe should cooperate with China, to reach out and touch their hands and develop all the countries on the planet. I think that would be the joint mission for China and Germany to adopt in the best tradition of the Leibnizian outlook, which was the most advanced philosophical conception Germany had.
[Ge asks other guests questions.]
GE ANNA: Zepp-LaRouche, what’s your reflection on China’s emphasis on neighboring diplomacy as a top priority of these foreign relations?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think the success of that outlook is pretty obvious, because, for example, when you look at the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which was founded in the beginning of this year, this has now become the largest free-trade zone in the world. In ASEAN you have a similar very good cooperation. And all the other economic and political alliances, partnerships China has, the BRICS, for example—that’s not all neighbors, but nevertheless—the SCO, all of these are examples of extremely well-functioning relationships among China and its neighbors. I think the success of that is seen by the fact that the economic dynamics in the world have clearly shifted to Asia. I think the Asian economic cooperation, not only China, but many other Asian countries, has become really the motor of the world economy. I think this is very important for the future, because we are in a transition form. It’s very clear that the old system of geopolitical control and bloc-building, this will not be suitable for the future, and a new model for cooperation has to be found. And I think what China has done in making these new kinds of diplomatic relations, that can actually be a role model for many parts of the world based on sovereignty, non-interference, acceptance of a different social model. All of these are ideas which would be very useful for other countries to study.