As the relationship between the United States and China deteriorates, Beijing is looking to tone down its rhetoric and salvage something, The New York Times reports.
Recently, top Chinese diplomats, academics, and state-run media outlets have — publicly, at least — taken a more moderate stance and backed efforts to find a way to co-exist peacefully with the United States. "There's a reflection that we should not let nationalism or hotheadedness somehow kidnap our foreign policy, " Xu Quinduo, a commentator for state-run broadcaster China Radio International, told the Times. "Tough rhetoric should not replace rational diplomacy. "
There have been both fewer calls for China to challenge the U. S. military and direct attacks on President Trump, and the strategy seems to be backed up by actions, as well. Earlier this week, for instance, The South China Morning Post reported that Chinese troops were given orders not to escalate the situation in the disputed South China Sea, where both the U. S. and Chinese have upped their military operations. "China won't fire the first shot, " Jin Canrong, an international studies professor at Renmin University, told the Times.
It's not all about the U. S., however. China has also strained its relations with neighboring India, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia of late. "Beijing's rhetoric appears aimed at defusing the global backlash its brash diplomacy and harsh policies have provoked, " said Jessica Chen Weiss, an associate professor of government at Cornell University. Gabon on Monday marks 60 years since it gained independence from France, and yet a glance around the capital Libreville begs the question whether it has ever made a clean break from the former colonial ruler.
The French influence still permeates every crack and crevice of Gabonese life from the language to the waft of fresh croissants in the bakeries and the horse races in Paris playing out on televisions as gamblers sip on French-brewed beer.
"The French are at home in Gabon, they have their shops, their restaurants, " laughed Annie, the Gabonese manager of a bar who is dismissive of the Gabonese who frequent the same places.
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