China’s new top diplomat, Wang Yi, has vowed to work towards improving relations between China and the United States in a New Year’s Day message, as per a report from South China Morning Post. In an article published in Qiushi, the magazine of China’s ruling Communist Party, Wang, who is now director of the general office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, confirmed that he had taken over from Yang Jiechi as China’s foreign policy supremo. Wang also pledged to deepen ties with Russia and achieve closer communication with Europe, as well as to deepen convergence on common interests with China’s neighbors.
In his article, Wang also vowed to fight against “all forms of hegemony” and to defend China’s sovereignty and security against any attempts by “external forces” to interfere in China’s domestic affairs. Wang specifically mentioned China’s reaction to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, calling it a “firm willingness” to defend national security and sovereignty. It isn’t clear what was “firm” in that reaction as it more akin to a tantrum. It is possible that the rhetoric of Chinese diplomats is targetted at the domestic audience. In the absence of substantive gains, rhetoric is used to distract the populace.
Wang was promoted in October
Wang’s promotion to the Politburo, the top decision-making body of China’s ruling Communist Party, was announced at the party’s 20th national congress in October. He was widely expected to take over Yang’s role at that time. On Friday, Beijing named Qin Gang, its ambassador to Washington, as the new minister of foreign affairs, Wang’s former title. A new top envoy to the US has yet to be announced.
The overall tone of Wang’s message was one of cooperation and diplomacy, as he emphasized the importance of working towards a better relationship with the US and other countries. However, he also made it clear that China will not back down on issues related to its sovereignty and will defend itself against any attempts at “interference”. It should be flagged that China’s words have very little to do with its actions. In fact, its actions are almost always the opposite. Recently, reports emerged which revealed that China has been setting up police stations in foreign nations, to threaten and stifle the voices of people who oppose the CCP, especially people from Tibet, Xinjiang and China.
Chinese espionage in the US is also a big concern
In 2018, a Chinese national named Ji Chaoqun was arrested in Chicago on charges of acting as an agent of the Chinese government. Ji was accused of attempting to gather information on American engineers and scientists for the Chinese government, and was later sentenced to prison. Other cases have involved Chinese agents attempting to steal trade secrets from American companies. In 2019, a Chinese scientist named Hua Jun Zhao was sentenced to prison for attempting to steal genetically modified corn seeds from an American company.
In 2020, a Chinese researcher named Tan Dailin was charged with economic espionage for attempting to steal trade secrets related to aviation technology from an American company. The US government has also accused Chinese hackers of attempting to steal sensitive information from government agencies and American businesses. In 2020, the US Department of Justice indicted two Chinese hackers for their alleged involvement in a massive data breach at the Marriott hotel chain.