Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and their Mongolian counterpart Norov Altankhuyag kick off visits to China today. Russia, India and Mongolia are important neighbors of China and it seems a coincidence for their prime ministers to arrive in Beijing on the same day.
Some media outlets compare China’s diplomatic achievements on land with its being “encircled” by the US and Japan on sea, and they draw the conclusion that Beijing has made completely different accomplishments on land and sea.
However, it must be noted that China, Russia and India are not embarking on the road of “constructing an alliance” and that the former’s image as a power amid island disputes is not as awful as some analyze. The proverb “no pain, no gain” is an appropriate one for today’s China, which is capable of fostering a favorable external environment based on friendship and cooperation while coping with turbulence in the western Pacific region with its increasing strength.
China is the largest trading partner of Russia, India and Mongolia. In the Asia-Pacific area at large, China is, first of all, a major trading partner as well as a provider of benefits. Its unprecedented economic development and social prosperity have laid the foundation for its relations with surrounding nations.
The recent significant breakthrough in China-Vietnam territorial disputes on the South China Sea, coupled with the proper management of border disputes between Beijing and New Delhi, demonstrate that issues concerning territorial rows are not insurmountable obstacles in China’s peripheral diplomacy. Asia actually has the most intense desire for peaceful development and countries should respect such expectations by resisting the trend of nationalism.
There is no denying that Washington and Tokyo have enjoyed an intimate relationship in the Asia-Pacific region as close allies, but China’s ties with Russia, India and Mongolia are gaining momentum in terms of regional peace and development.
The Sino-Russian strategic partnership has been seeing benign development ever since the Yeltsin era and their bilateral economic, political and security interests are gradually being consolidated.
Despite a number of headaches between Beijing and New Delhi, China-India relations have in a sense become a paragon of ties among countries with territorial disputes. Neither China nor India can afford to suffer a worsening relationship.
Mongolia, long viewed as a wedge beside China, is also happy to undergo smooth development in bilateral ties.
Therefore, it appears that Japan constitutes the biggest troublemaker in China’s maritime sphere, but it is unable to pose an overall threat. By properly handling the frictions with Tokyo, China is grabbing the opportunity to dominate relations with it.
Beijing’s diplomatic work so far this year has indicated boldness and resolve in gaining a greater initiative on the world stage despite complicated and seemingly intractable problems. There is more strategic certainty in the external environment China is facing in the course of its development.