Respect the four principles
It happened in the West Sea again. This time, a captain of a Chinese boat was killed during a Coast Guard crackdown on illegal fishing in Korea’s territorial waters. While Beijing and Seoul are enjoying the best relationship since the countries forged ties in 1992, the illegal fishing operation constantly threatens it. But how can we solve this problem?
Let’s review Chinese President Xi Jinping’s diplomatic moves a year ago. In early September 2013, Xi toured the Central Asian countries, and in Kazakhstan on Sept. 7, he presented the Silk Road Economic Belt plan. He proposed building an economic channel connecting China and Central Asia and sought cooperation. A month later on Oct. 3, he flew to Southeast Asia and spoke to the Indonesian Assembly about building a Maritime Silk Road. China hopes to open a marine trade route connecting Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe. That’s how the “one belt, one road” policy began.
Upon returning from Central Asia and Southeast Asia, President Xi called together all members of his political bureau and major local leaders to Beijing on Oct. 24. The meeting was about diplomacy with neighbors, and the foreign policy direction of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness was announced. Beijing will be friendly, sincere, share benefits and include its neighbors. The four principles are the philosophical foundation for the “one belt, one road” policy.
During the last year, Xi visited neighboring countries and promoted “one belt, one road.” He visited Korea and Mongolia separately, and last month he toured Southwest Asia. One of the stops was the Maldives, an island nation in a key location of the marine Silk Road. Whenever he went, he offered handsome investment offers and signed agreements for infrastructure and energy development. He demanded that Korea join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), an axis of the “one belt, one road” policy.
The foreign policy reflects China’s political intention to counter Washington’s strategy of surrounding the country. It also includes China’s Asian strategy to let Asians solve Asian problems. Nevertheless, many neighbors welcome Beijing’s policy. China has signed an energy investment cooperation agreement with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and a harbor development cooperation project with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The AIIB’s membership is also growing. The amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness are working, and China’s relationship with Korea is at its best.
It is unfortunate that a Chinese fisherman was killed during the crackdown. The case should be investigated and someone should be held accountable. But more importantly, the illegal fishing operation should not be allowed. The vessels that are operating illegally should not be able to leave the port. The Chinese authorities need to make sure to control their fishing operations. We want to remind China of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, the four principles of the “one belt, one road” policy.
*The author is the director of the JoongAng Ilbo’s China Institute.
JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 13, Page 30
by HAN WOO-DUK