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Zepp-LaRouche Briefs China’s ‘World Today’ Broadcast on the Macron and Xi Meeting

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EIRNS—China Radio International’s (CRI) World Today broadcast interviewed Helga Zepp-LaRouche today on Xi Jinping’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Bali, Indonesia.

WORLD TODAY: You are listening to World Today. … Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to bolster communications in response to global challenges such as climate change and food security. Xi Jinping and Macron met on Tuesday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. Xi Jinping underscored that China’s pursuit of high-level opening up will provide new opportunities to many countries, including France. For his part, President Macron said France is upholding independent foreign policy, vowing to deepen cooperation with China in trade, aviation, and the nuclear sector.

In the meantime, President Xi Jinping also held bilateral talks with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday in the first one-on-one meeting between the leaders of the two sides since 2016. And for your note, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Monday meeting between Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden has set a clear direction to prevent China and the U.S. from decoupling, and to find the right way for the two major powers to get along with one another.

Joining us now on the line is Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute, a German think tank. Welcome back.


WORLD TODAY: Let’s first of all talk about this meeting between Xi Jinping and Emmanuel Macron. What are the messages that President Xi has sent to Macron?

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think it’s clear that China puts a lot of importance on the relations with France, given the tradition of de Gaulle and the strong sense of sovereignty in many layers in France. I think that President Xi probably told Macron that China is continuing with the opening-up process, and given the fact that the modernization in China is making big steps forward, this means many opportunities in France. I think the civil nuclear cooperation is very important, aviation, but also, France pushing a multilateralist view on foreign policy. I think these are important areas.

WORLD TODAY: Now, of course, President Xi called for independence in China-France relations, while on his part, Macron said France is upholding a kind of independent foreign policy. So, what do you think needs to be done in order to have real independence, not only in the relations between China and France, but also in the relations between China and the European Union?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think this is all in a process of change, because you can’t look at just bilateral relations, but you have to look at the whole strategic situation. There, the U.S. and the British—and unfortunately also the European Commission—had up to now the policy of trying to completely isolate Russia, contain China, and one has to see if this is now changing after the meeting of Xi Jinping and President Biden.

If France would pursue its real independence, it would go back to the tradition of Charles de Gaulle, which is by the way what the majority of the French military really want. They want France to leave the integrated command of NATO, and if France would be independent, it would respond positively to the proposal of President Xi Jinping to have a Global Security Initiative. I think that is a very urgent issue, and if France would cooperate with China on the GSI [Global Security Initiative], this would go a long way.

For sure, a greater strategic autonomy has always been a stated goal on the part of President Emmanuel Macron, and in order to realize that goal, definitely independent foreign policy is a precondition. And going forward, it will be very interesting to keep an eye on to what extent this particular goal can be pushed forward.

Now of course, the ongoing war in Ukraine is one key issue discussed during the Xi-Macron meeting. Do you think on this issue China and France can seek any common ground?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think they can, because if those two countries would put their weight together, they represent a significant force. I think the most important right now is to end the fighting, to start real, serious peace negotiations. Look, the Ukrainian population is in a terrible condition. They are facing winter right now, so they need economic reconstruction. I think if China would reissue the proposal of putting the Ukraine reconstruction in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative, then Ukraine could be a bridge between Europe and Russia, and it could lead to a real peace-building for the whole region, which I think the world urgently is looking for.

WORLD TODAY: Of course, when we talk about President Xi Jinping and President Biden’s meeting, this meeting between these two leaders, it was largely in the news yesterday, but today it has continued to generate a lot of headline news, as well as political and geopolitical ramifications across the world. Because of the positive tone from this meeting, I think that stock prices in many different markets have soared quite surprisingly. But on the other hand, it also seems to be a natural and inevitable reaction.

Regarding this meeting, it seems a key signal from the meeting is that China and the United States don’t want a new Cold War. Chinese officials keep saying to the rest of the world that great and unprecedented changes and challenges are taking place in the current era. In your observation, if a new Cold War would really be avoided between Beijing and Washington, what would that mean to the world today?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think it would mean a lot, because you are not only looking at the danger of a new Cold War, but there are many experts in many countries who are warning that we are one minute to midnight concerning the danger of a global nuclear war, because there are some people who have the illusion that a regional nuclear war would be possible, which I think is definitely not the case. So, if the two largest economies, the U.S. and China, could work together, they could respond, for example, to the real big issue, which is right now the aspiration of the Non-Aligned Movement or the countries in that tradition of the Non-Aligned Movement to overcome colonialism for good. If the two would respond to that, we could really start thinking about a completely new world economic order.

WORLD TODAY: OK. Regarding this Tuesday meeting between President Xi and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, do you think it can stabilize the China-Australia relations? Because really the background information is that since 2016 there has never been this kind of one-on-one, in-person meeting between the top leaders of the two countries.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think it’s an important first step, but given the strategic environment, one has to look if deeds are following these words. I think also between Prime Minister Albanese and Li Keqiang, they regarded the beginning of this dialogue as very positive, and that a downward trend has stopped. But naturally, the framework is the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy. So one has to see what will happen to the AUKUS treaty, if that can be reversed. So, one has hope, but I think deeds have to follow the words.

WORLD TODAY: Earlier, we talked about this independent foreign policy being emphasized by President Macron, but on the part of the Australian politicians, do you see this kind of similar spirit in your observation?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I don’t know about the politicians. I know that the people of many countries really don’t want this confrontation. I think one can observe worldwide there is a huge gap between what many governments are doing, and what the interests are of the people. So, I would assume that that is the case in Australia as well.

WORLD TODAY: Indeed. The final question before we let you go, Helga: Some Western observers and media outlets as well, they are day-by-day increasingly describing China as a threat, or describe China as a country that is embracing self-isolation. Do you think that’s really the case, if we consider President Xi Jinping’s diplomatic engagement bilaterally and multilaterally with Western leaders at this ongoing G20 summit?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: The only people who paint China as a threat are those who want to keep a unipolar world. They say the rise of China is a threat, but if you ask the 140 developing countries that regard the Belt and Road Initiative as a positive opportunity, they definitely don’t think that way at all. And even in Western countries, there is a realization that it is much more in their interest to cooperate with China. You can see it by the recent trip of Chancellor Olaf Scholz to China, and you can also see it in the attitude of Macron. I’m not saying all problems are over, but I’m seeing certain tiny positive steps, that maybe we can pull the world from the abyss of a catastrophe which has been the case up to now.

WORLD TODAY: Thank you very much for joining us. That was Dr. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute, a Germany based think tank. [hzl/ssu]