China’s new State Councillor and top diplomat Yang Jiechi has said that the new leadership under Xi Jinping would emphasise building a new model of relations with the U.S. and consolidating ties with the country’s neighbours as it looks to carve out its diplomatic priorities in the coming decade.
In his first detailed comments after taking over as the top foreign policy official earlier this year, Mr. Yang, in an article published this week by the Communist Party’s official magazine Qiushi , pointed to Mr. Xi’s trip to the U.S. and recent visits by leaders from South Korea, Pakistan and Vietnam to Beijing as reflecting the new direction of the country’s foreign policy priorities.
Regarding disputes with neighbours, Mr. Yang said China would act firmly in disputes with Japan over the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands and also with several countries in the South China Sea The boundary dispute with India was, however, not discussed by Mr. Yang. Interestingly, India did not find any mention in the 3,600-word essay, which attempted to outline China’s diplomatic priorities and challenges under the new leadership.
The new Chinese Premier and second-ranked leader Li Keqiang chose New Delhi as his first destination after taking office as he embarked on a four-nation tour in May. But analysts in Beijing say the initial momentum has appeared to fizzle out, particularly following the Depsang stand-off in April.
The essay also left little doubt that China sees relations with the United States as its single biggest priority. The new leadership would emphasise “putting forth the vision of building a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States”, as suggested by the June Sunnylands summit meeting between Mr. Xi and U.S. President Barack Obama in California.
This “new model”, he said, would include “non-conflict and non-confrontation”.