Chinese relations with major powers
The post war context between the major powers is a matter of immense importance during the past three decades. The Seno-US relations were antagonistic for more than twenty years following the establishment of PRC. The United States recognize China as a single communist block headed by the USSR. The US thus signed a mutual security treaty with the nationalist Government of Taiwan in 1954. Resultantly, China also regarded the US as a prime threat to her security. But, during the 1960’s, the Seno-Soviet relation began to deteriorate and, hence, the Charter administration gradually establish full diplomatic relations with China.
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During the past ten years the US has softened its policy on China and even convinced the later to co-operate with them in their fight against terrorism following the September 11 massacre. China achieved its MFN status in the year 1980. In the background of such developing condition China signed a deal with the United States in 1999 while enabled to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. It implied, surely, a reduction in the protection afforded to the domestic producers. Of course, China’s entry into the WTO does not mean a total liberalization of the economy.
But, there can be no doubt that it marks a significant turning point in the Chinese economy which, in 1947, started with a policy of isolation and socialistic public-sector emphasis. It has, obviously, raised some political problems as well. It was declared, on Marxian line, that private economy encouraged profit-motive and, hence, paved the way for gross inequality. But the new economic policy has surely endangered a trend of economic inequality in the society. China is now at fifth in the list of most unequal economies in the world, and it presents as the fastest-growing rates of inequality in the world.
This inequality is surely the direct product of the privatization of the economy in the capitalist line. In that sense, it has markedly deviated from the classical Marxian model which stands for equality and justice by the complete abolition of private initiative and investment. But perhaps, the leaders of the post-Mao era have felt that some concessions to the capitalistic order that is extremely necessary for the rapid growth of the economy. During the last decade of the 20th century the US-China-Japan trio came into being replacing the strategic US-China-USSR triangle of the 1980s.
However China also regarded Japan as its enemy since the World War II but during the late 1980s a number of developments have changed the above relation. Firstly, with the increasing pressure from the US, Japan agreed (Reagan-Suzuki communique in 1981) to protect there land, sea and air routes of communication up to the range of one thousand miles from its territory. Secondly, in 1992, five years after the removal of the limitation on Japanese defense spending, Japan overcomes another taboo by adopting PKO. It enabled Japanese force to join the UN’s peace keeping missions in the vulnerable areas.
China is willing to set aside ideological barriers, and improve diplomatic stamps with newly independent Russia. However, this move again deteriorated China’s relations with the United States and other Western powers to a certain extant. Basically China’s prime intention was to maintain a positive relation with Russia which might help it for mitigating any western hostilities. Russia was a large neighboring country and still regarded as one of the major nuclear power having permanent membership on the UN Security Council.
Both Beijing and Moscow recognized the importance of foreign trade and other needs. In December 1992, Russia recognized Taiwan as China’s integral part. Both this countries believed that they are the victims of containment policies of the United States and other Western powers, thereby creating a sense of mutual trust and common interest between both this nations. Russia is now one of the largest trading partners of China. This political economic cooperation is very important from Beijing’s point of view in case of any crisis in the Seno-Japanese or Seno-Western relationship.
In Asia, Japan adopts the US policy of no extending diplomatic recognition to the PRC and supported the US policy of containing China. However, after the Sino-US bond, Japan was eager to improve its diplomatic relations with China through the Seno-Japanese communique in 1972. But, then the Sino-Japanese dispute once again came into being, with China declaring indisputable sovereignty over this island. The war-guilt issue was the most prominent for Japan’s point of view during 1995, but was not enough to resolve the Sino-Japanese relations.
While the Chinese leadership demanded a formal apology from the Japanese government for its behavior during the Sino-Japanese war, the Japanese leaders, instead, were only willing to express their regrets rather than an apology. One of the most important affairs in China’s international relation is the Taiwan issue. Although the island was, in 1945 returned to China the communist regime, formed in 1949, was hardly successful to set foot on it. However during the later half of the 20th century some big powers like US, USSR etc. recognized Taiwan as an integral part of China.
For obvious reasons, China had to establish a peaceful relation with Soviet Russia. One of the most important reasons behind this decision was that, both of these countries were mainly inspired by Marxian thoughts. Especially after First World War two camps were originated – one supporting United States and other were supporting Soviet Russia. China, however, took the side of Soviet Russia. As a result, the “Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Aid” was signed between the China and Russia. Due to this treaty, the two nations stood united not only in terms of political issues, but also in technical and scientific fields.
The above principals were the chief aspects of Mao’s foreign policy which inspired China during that period. However, during the later part of his life, Mao introduced some changes in his theories. For practical reasons, gradually, the relation between China and Russia worsen with the passage of time. America was, at that time, marching towards plenty and prosperity along with strengthening their position as the supreme nuclear power of the world. And hence, for natural reasons, China rightly decided to change their stance with America and seek for a friendly relation with the later.
But the Chinese policy towards Asia evoked much confusion. As a matter of stark reality, India and China signed the famous declaration of the ‘Pancha Seela” which emphasized mutual respect for each other’s territory, non-aggression, mutual non-interference in internal affairs, equality and co-existence. But, suddenly, in the winter of 1962 (a year after the declaration), China invaded India and, by taking the opportunity of India’s unpreparedness, it proceeded a deep into the northern portion of the country.
At that juncture, the western powers like the United States, Britain and France interfered in the Chinese aggression and came forward to help India with arms and superior military support. Thus, after the Chinese aggression on India in 1962, all other Asian states began to develop suspicion about China’s intention. Hence, during the ending periods of Mao’s life, China began to develop friendly relations with the Asian state like Burma, Pakistan and Bhutan.