Why did Xi Jinping take a detour to visit the U.S.? Former U.S. Assistant Secretary Reveals Inside Story

On May 9, “the wire china,” an online magazine launched only last year, published an interview with Daniel R. Russel, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs under Barack Obama. In the interview, Russel reveals how the Chinese Communist Party’s top brass made Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States a detour to save face and make a show of it. He also explains how the so-called “new type of great power relationship” between China and the United States was developed.

Russell helped the Obama administration formulate the “pivot towards Asia” (pivot towards Asia) and the “rebalancing” policy in Asia, and participated in almost all high-level talks between the U.S. and China during the Obama era, and is familiar with the inner workings of the U.S.-China relationship. He said that the Chinese Communist Party is a Leninist party, especially paranoid, and will only talk about peace when the U.S. demonstrates its strength, etc.

The Arrogance and Dullness of Chinese Communist Party Officials

Russell mentioned that in the first two years after the 2008 financial crisis and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, he received information from China that the Chinese (CCP) had become hubris and arrogance, a little smugness and condescension, that the U.S. had become an emperor with no clothes on, and that the financial crisis was the “Achilles heel” of Western capitalism. The financial crisis is the “Achilles heel” (clay feet) of the Western capitalist economy. China, on the other hand, was coming through and pulling the global economic train forward.

At the time, the U.S. and China had regular strategic and economic dialogues, and Russell dealt mainly with Dai Bingguo, Yang Jiechi, Cui Tiankai and others, while Chinese Communist Party officials read from a script and spoke at length.

Russell said talking to Hu Jintao was like talking to one of those animated presidents from Disney World, and it was really impossible to really communicate with him because it was just a bunch of talking points in suits and ties.

Russell said it’s all too rare for Hu to deviate from the script. Once during the talks, Obama was harshly accusing the Chinese (CCP) on North Korea (kickingthesh*tout), and Hu responded very politely and carefully (mealy-mouthed), very uneasy, picking up a pencil and marking his notebook in front of us.

At the time, seeing this scene, Russell and his colleagues looked at each other in disbelief. Russell thought some of it had to do with personality, some of it had to do with the way he acted, and maybe it had to do with what he thought his role was.

Chinese Communist leaders are very dignified and polite

Russell mentions that the CCP leaders are very decorous and that a visit to the United States must be the highest diplomatic treatment of a state visit, to have something fancy (withbells and whistles) and add some honor. Because they don’t want the Chinese public to see that they are getting anything less than A-list treatment, otherwise there will be misunderstandings.

But Russell argues that the U.S. is not France and can make all these pomp and circumstance all the time. This complicates arranging visits to the U.S. by the highest levels of the Communist Party.

In late 2012, when Xi Jinping was elected General Secretary of the Communist Party, Russell discussed with then Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai the issue of a meeting between the U.S. and Chinese leaders. At the time, a state visit by Xi to the United States was not considered feasible, a meeting with the U.S. president of only 90 minutes was too short, and Obama would certainly not go to China.

So, meeting outside of Washington in an informal setting became an option. The main intention was “let’s have two days, let’s not have a regiment of officials, dogs, ponies, elephants and unicycles, let’s keep it really small and intimate”. The White House eventually settled on the “Sunnylands” (also known as the Annenberg Estate) in the California resort of Palm Springs for the meeting.

But the problem was that Xi could not be seen as being summoned by the U.S. or in some kind of disadvantageous position when it was unlikely that Xi would come to Washington for a state visit.

Finally Cui Tiankai came up with an idea that finally took care of (swing) the matter. They had Xi visit the Central American country first, and then added a stop in the U.S. on the way to the visit, when the U.S. president would be waiting on the West Coast. So it became a case of Xi Jinping stopping by the U.S. president on his way to Central America.

Theytiedthemselves up in knots, Russell said, but they did.

How China’s so-called “new type of great power relationship” came about

According to the report, the Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly and unilaterally stressed the importance of building a “new type of major power relationship between China and the United States,” boasting that it is the “top-level design” and “strategic plan” of the Chinese Communist Party’s diplomacy, and that it is a consensus between the leaders of China and the United States. The consensus reached by the leaders of China and the United States, especially at the Sunshine Manor meeting in the summer of 2013, is clearly untrue.

Russell recalled that he spent a lot of time with Xi Jinping at Sunnyside in 2013 and learned some of his ideas, and met with his heavyweights Li Zhanshu, Wang Huning, Wang Qishan and others.

He said that while the Chinese Communist Party has not shifted to a free market economy and to democratic values and human rights, it is determined to label the U.S.-China relationship as a “new type of major power relationship” with a four-letter word that means “a new model of major power relations based on mutual respect, common interests and win-win situations. “.

Russell strongly suspects that this “new type of great power relationship” may be Xi’s baby, and that an agreement has been reached within the Chinese Communist Party that they cannot withdraw it without losing face themselves.

So when Russell suggested that “these words could not have come out of Obama’s mouth,” all of Xi’s subordinates were horrified, the newspaper said, and Russell told them, “That’s Chinese, that’s your slogan, that’s not what we’re going to do. ” “He (Obama) is also going to say what he means, and what he means is that the United States welcomes the peaceful rise of China, that China is prospering, maintaining good relations with its neighbors and actively assuming its international responsibilities.”

Russell suspects that this is a signal from the Chinese (Communist Party of China) to third countries that some sort of agreement has been reached between the United States and China (Communist Party of China) and that they have a great power relationship that, by definition, is more important than a small power relationship. “When Asian countries are shedding tears and crying for their American friends to come and help because of what the big bad China (CCP) has done to them, the Americans won’t come because it’s China and the U.S. that have a great power relationship.” He said.

Another phrase that the Chinese Communist Party often takes to heart is, “The Pacific Ocean is big enough for China and the United States,” which Russell believes is essentially, “It’s much better if you stay on your side of the Pacific. And when you come, you should respect our rules and our core interests,” “It’s our sphere of influence, call before you come, and don’t stay for dinner.”

Russell believes that on the one hand, the Chinese have been raised to believe that Americans are not to be trusted and want to subvert and contain us. But on the other hand, the Chinese admire the United States for some of its achievements in quality of life, innovation, technology and military might.

One thing seen, at least in 2009, 2010 and 2011, was that people like Dai Bingguo and Wang Qishan won arguments with the Communist Party’s military hawks, who wanted to compete with the U.S. and cause trouble, or at least alienate it, Russell said. These hawks have (temporarily) been curbed.

The CCP is a Leninist party that only listens to strength

Russell argues that fundamentally, the CCP is a Leninist party, and the CCP leadership’s approach to power is very Leninist. Politically, culturally, and strategically, they revere power and despise weakness. Thus, how weakness is shown on the part of the United States, the CCP develops contempt, a certain confidence and aggressiveness. The Chinese Communist Party is full of opportunism and when there is space, they implement occupation.

He said that phase where the U.S. is regaining strength creates a sense of anxiety in Beijing and the CCP has a victim mentality and is particularly paranoid. It is only when the U.S. demonstrates considerable credibility and power that China (the CCP) is usually inclined to back off and do things like make concessions and make peace.

Russell argues that the stages of declining U.S. power and the early stages of power recovery are quite dangerous. At these times, the United States must be prepared for belligerent, confrontational, and problematic Chinese (CCP) reactions and behavior. Unless the United States is strong enough as a competitor in the eyes of the Chinese (CCP), it will be difficult for the United States to achieve that more stable and desirable balance.