This weekend’s G-20 summit gets underway with an unforeseen event crooked step, a novelty that can help gauge the moment that planetary geopolitics is experiencing.
For the first time since this multilateral organization exists, the Chinese president Xi Jinping He looked the other way and left the attendance, a door slamming that had not hpened even during the pandemic when, like the rest of the members, he defended his presence on Zoom.
The consequence of this novelty has been a feeling of wonder and crossed interpretations of diplomats and analysts. Beijing dispatched the newly pointed Prime Minister, Li Quian, as head of the delegation.
As the site of the summit was New Delhi, there was some trouble in the analyzes explaining this attitude of the Asian power supposedly in the resentments that persist in the critical bond between India and the People’s Republic.
He flies over the incident from three years ago in the call “control line” In the Galwan Valley he left 24 soldiers killed, 20 of them Indians. They are powers that compete, it is true, with allies at both ends of the planetary m, but that is not where we should look.
The Chinese leader has just returned from Johannesburg where he was central figure of the summit of the countries of the group BRICS. A structure minilateralist which intends to expand with six new members, including Argentina. And it repears with a clear imprint of the Asian power for its global strategy.
Xi Jinping’s presence there and his absence in New Delhi draws a new geopolitical picture from the perspective of the power. An eloquent showcase of preferences against strongly western tonal artifacts like the G20 or the G7. It is not India that Beijing is looking at with these gestures, It is to its North American rival, but also to its own domestic reality.
This path would be confirmed next November if, as expected, the Chinese president repeats the absence at the San Francisco meeting of the very important Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, APEC.
There is data, it suggests Associated Press from Beijing, of an early reluctance of the head of state of the People’s Republic to participate in that meeting, which would be the last opportunity of the year that North American President Joe Biden has to meet his global adversary.
There has been a season prior to these two pointments. This week the meeting was held at the level of presidents of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN. A forum also of special importance in the configuration of the board in an era that essentially looks at that part of the planet for its extraordinary commercial value.
There The Chinese leader was not present either. in the same way that his American colleague was missing, who sent the vice president, Kamala Harris, in his place.
Everything seems very far from the closeness exhibited at the previous G20 summit in Indonesia, which allowed a bilateral meeting of more than three hours of the leaders of the world’s two largest powers. There was built a ephemeral alternative of a stop that boosts the global economy and leaves aside, moving forward, the deep axes of the conflict. None of that hpened.
The disdain of the Asian giant towards these diplomatic showcases that have always allowed us to show influence and agenda, connects as a political attitude with the worsening of the East-West clash due in particular to actions on the US side. Both the protectionist measures against the expansion of the Chinese telecommunications business, as well as the obstacles to the technological development of the rival under the pretext of protecting national security.
Washington now seems to seek with greater intensity the decoupling of the two gigantic economies to deepen the weaknesses that the People’s Republic registers. Argue a concept, ““derisking”the reduction of the risk originated in the trade pacts of globalization whose defects were exposed by the pandemic and the war on Ukraine.
Moderate growth in China does not generate profitsit is foolish to seek to promote it, but it is a flaw that is not entirely attributable to the battle with the Western counterpart.
Errors and own costs
Behaviors typical of Xi’s leadership style weigh heavily there. more intrusive and less Atlanticist than his predecessors. This behavior contributed to grinding down the previous boom based on an exaggerated distrust of autonomy among those responsible for that growth.
One extreme of these ways is the recent novelty of involving ordinary citizens with rewards if they help detect the possible existence of spies in multinational companies, in social networks, or universities. “We must prepare for the worst scenario”Xi said recently.
Magazine The Economist, which closely follows the Chinese reality, recently speculated that the regime could be giving up growth at the expense of strengthening its military structure. It would be because he has come to the conclusion that a total clash with the US is inevitable. It does not seem possible.
The truth is that China recovered very little from the costs of the total closure it plied during the pandemic to discipline the population. The result is that the country will expand up to 5.2% this year according to data from the World Bank. It’s not a big number. It will repeat it with a slight decrease the following year and even less in 2025.
An agency investigation Bloomberg maintains that if these data are projected, the Asian power will reach the end of the decade with an average of 3.5% growth. The calculation would indicate that this figure would not exceed 1% by 2050.
These findings would imply that the People’s Republic moves away from the possibility of overtaking the US by mid-century as the largest planetary economy, an issue that until recently was assumed to be unanswerable, even with the possibility of being achieved at the beginning of the next decade, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.
The prospects research indicates that, even if China were to achieve it, it would be minimal and, furthermore, would retreat almost immediately giving up the advantage.
Conspiracy suspicions aside, these are numbers that are not fully disputed from the other side. It is clear that if an agreement like the one the presidents hinted at at the Indonesian summit is formed, would boost the global accumulation system. The US, which has managed to esce recession, would also need that baton. Power will grow 1.2% this year and slightly or the same or less next year.
Since that alternative of agreements does not exist, China’s harshness builds a nationalist reaction to channel the severe social contradictions that the scenario produces, in particular the rise above 20% in youth unemployment of university graduates.
Data that the regime has announced that it will no longer disseminate with the argument of improving the research systems for this information. It is presumed that the decision is actually based on the discomfort of this information for the social pact that governs between the regime and the population to which it must guarantee growth in exchange for preserving the power model.
Chips like in the West?
This scenario, however, is not complete. China has managed to scale towards innovation and not imitation. In that sense, for many analysts, Beijing is not growing as before but has reduced its dependence on the Westa key step that gains greater political value in an environment of growing global hostility.
In this sense, the news that the main semiconductor company of the People’s Republic, SMIC, had developed chips was surprising among the scientific analysis media. at a scale of 7 nanometers, a border until now reserved for the West. Specialized portals, such as Xataka, They claim that a device with this characteristic would pear in a new Smartphone, the Huawei Mate 60 Pro.
The technicians of TechInights, a Canadian platform with great credibility, point out that China would then have an unexpected cacity to produce semiconductors with even 5nm lithogrhy. To calibrate the point, keep in mind that 50 nanometers of thickness is the thousandth of a hair. We are talking about something even much smaller.
The size is important because the greater the number of these elements in the workspace, the more efficient is the response of the system that uses them. USA. has achieved block China to purchase equipment extreme ultraviolet, SVUeither deep ultraviolet, UVP, that these mills produce. Argues national security.
Beijing was supposed to be very far from that scientific frontier. But if this information is correct, the North American strategy should be moderated to a level of realism to prevent the hawks from defining the fate of the binational conflict. There is no room for underestimations.
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