Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, March 04, 2003

An Analysis of China's Policy on Iraq Issue

The explosive Iraqi war has attracted world attention. The Chinese public is concerned about the development of the Iraqi situation, as well as about China's policy toward, and the role it plays, on the Iraq issue.


The explosive Iraqi war has attracted world attention. The Chinese public is concerned about the development of the Iraqi situation, as well as about China's policy toward, and the role it plays, on the Iraq issue.

Peace be valued-China's consistent stand
China advocates that the Iraq question should be resolved peacefully and has done a lot of work for this. When the Security Council was deliberating the resolution on Iraq last November, China, in the capacity as the presidency of the Security Council, did a great deal of mediation work among the Security Council members, thus boosting the passage of the Security Council Resolution 1441 by all votes. The resolution demands that Iraq be fully coordinate with weapon inspection, otherwise it would face "serious consequences", but it does not include the content of automatically authorized use of force, with the aim of providing opportunity for peace. In the past half year, Chinese government leaders and officials of relevant departments had repeated exchanges of views with their counterparts of the United States, Russia, France and Britain through phone calls, letters and personal talks in order to seek solutions to the Iraq issue. Chinese Foreign Minister went to New York thrice in a month to attend the Security Council meeting in an effort to diffuse the crisis. Chinese Foreign Ministry, embassies in foreign countries and permanent missions in the United Nations and other related agencies did much backstage work in relevant countries and international organizations.

China's policy and stance on the Iraq issue can be summed up as "one principle", "two propositions" and "three demands". "One principle" means solving the Iraq issue peacefully, i.e., by means of consultations and dialogs and not recourse to the use of force. "Two propositions" mean: first, advocating that the Iraq issue be solved politically within the framework of the United Nations, and the unity and authority of the Security Council be safeguarded; second, advocating that the UNMOVIC (UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) be given necessary time, personnel and equipment for comprehensive inspection. "Three demands" mean: first, demanding that relevant countries should respect and defend Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity; second, demanding that Iraq earnestly carry out relevant UN resolutions, destroy all weapons of mass destruction; third, demanding that the UNMOVIC and IAEA strengthen inspection and submit reports in a just and objective attitude.

China's policy gives expressions to the traditional Chinese ideology of showing good intention toward others and valuing peace, and reflects the Chinese government's sound mindset of seeking no private interest and upholding justice. This policy is a sensible choice made after dialectically analyzing the historical origin and the current situation of the Iraq issue.

Reasons for striking Iraq at present insufficient
The first Gulf War triggered by boundary disputes between Iraq and Iran and Iraq's invasion of its neighboring Kuwait inflicted tremendous losses to the people of Iran, Iraq and Kuwait. Demanding that Iraq give up the research, manufacture and possession of weapons of mass destruction meant punishment of it for launching the war and was required by maintenance of peace and stability in the Gulf region. Forgetting history makes it impossible to face the future.

In the meantime, it should be noted that after international sanctions for a dozen years or so, the Iraqi economy has collapsed, its military strength has sharply decreased, besides, there are two "no-flying zones" in its south and north, even if Iraq still has hidden biological weapons and irregular missiles (it is generally held that Iraq has no nuclear weapons), their quantity is limited, under the "hot pursuit" of the inspectors, it is hard for the Iraqis, "who hide themselves here and there", to turn out large quantities of such weapons. In light of the present circumstance and with its current strength, Iraq shouldn't constitute major threat to any country. Judged from the progress of inspection thus far, Iraq has, on the whole, if not wholehearted, adopted a cooperative attitude to coordinate the work of the two inspection agencies. With regard to Iraq's contact with terrorism, America's evidence still cannot clearly illustrate the substantive matter. Clearly, Iraq's strength is limited, and its behavior is not bad, at present, reasons for the use of force against Iraq are not sufficient.

Despite their high-pitched tune, France, Germany and Russia leave leeway in their attitude
After the tense Gulf situation, France, Russia and Germany raised their tune in their opposition to armed attack on Iraq. Here contain both the anti-war demand and the need of traditional and present interests. After WWII, Germany has all along been opposed to war, its domestic political factor also determine that the current government can only raise high the anti-war banner. France has all along been flaunting its independence. France, Germany and Russia have major economic and strategic interests in Iraq. Against the background of the momentous US unilateralism and the prevailing "pre-emptive strike" theory, France and Russia, as big powers and permanent Security Council members, are greatly dissatisfied with US hegemonic practice of going its own way, worrying that the United States would become more overbearing after it succeeds in Iraq. It is worthy of note that sufficient leeway is left in the attitudes of France, Germany and Russia, "solving the Iraq issue by force is the final choice" is a reflection of this stand, so it is possible that they would not oppose, and instead, support the use of force and even participate in war.

People love peace, do not hope for war
Large-scale anti-war demonstrations have recently erupted in some countries, including the United States, reflecting the wishes of the common people hoping for peace and opposing war. But one must not overestimate the influence of demonstrations in stopping war. Parade is a common method used by the people of some countries to express their feelings. For example, the Americans have organized many million-strong massive demonstrations on "Mother's Day", demanding that their government enact stricter law on prohibiting guns, however, not much improvement has therefore been made on US legislation on guns. The fact that no massive demonstrations have taken place, or people took to streets in many countries doesn't indicate that they support the use of force; taking to the street cannot halt the war. If demonstrations could check war, then the conflicts between Israel and Palestine had ended long ago. Western politicians .regard votes, not demonstration, as more important. At present, most Americans support their government's stand on the Iraq issue, so George W. Bush need not pay a heavy political price; on the contrary, if he really can fight and win the war with quick decision, it will be possible for him to raise the rate of support for him.

Doing things dynamically, or quietly-both are diplomacy
China's policy for peace and its just stand on the Iraq issue has withstood the tests of time and won the respect of various countries, it has also protected China's vital interests. Diplomacy is an art of the integration of policy and flexibility: without principle, diplomacy will lose its support and will not be able to win the trust and respect of the international community; without flexibility, diplomacy will become a pool of stagnant water, what it leaves behind will only be dull dogmas, in that case, it will be impossible to exercise one's influence and will be difficult for one to win over friends. Dealing with each other tit for tat is diplomacy, advancing in a roundabout way is also diplomacy; doing things dynamically is diplomacy, doing things quietly is also diplomacy.

The aim of diplomacy is to defend national interests to the maximum. Since the national conditions, circumstances and interests of various countries are different, therefore on the Iraq issue, their policies are not entirely the same and the means they use will not and need not be completely the same.

By People's Daily Online

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