BEIJING, 11 January (BelTA - China Daily) - China's lifting of quarantine requirements for arrivals should be welcomed by its neighbors and trading partners. Travel and international trade certainly do not guarantee global peace and increasing prosperity, but they are both almost always huge and necessary steps toward achieving and sustaining those goals.
Travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the exceptionally contagious COVID-19 virus were certainly necessary. But because of the continually reducing potency of successive waves of the virus and the global use of new vaccines and their concomitant booster shots developed to protect against it, the threat posed by the disease has been reduced to a degree thought inconceivable three years ago.
However, in the current grim, deteriorating state of relations between the West and China, even the most constructive of measures are seized on to be misrepresented and twisted in order to make cheap political points.
Any efforts to restrict the free movement of Chinese citizens and goods around the world in the coming year would certainly fit into that cynical and destructive category.
The global economy desperately needs to attract a new wave of Chinese trade and investment so that China can once again fulfil its great constructive role as the main engine driving rising world prosperity and growth that it has so dramatically fulfilled over the past two decades, especially across Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. The rapid growth in trade and deepening of ties between Beijing and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states is a most welcome and vital development in that direction.
Similarly, in the context of the Ukraine conflict and continuing tensions between the United States and China, nothing is more important for world peace than to rapidly increase personal travel and interactions in the broad business and tourism fields to create a far more positive climate for renewed diplomatic discussions and interactions.
Major nations across Asia from Japan and the Republic of Korea to Vietnam and India have made clear they see no future in subscribing to the Biden administration's fantasy of a zero-sum contest across the Pacific between Washington and Beijing. Neither does the government of China. The sooner that dangerous delusion is laid to rest, the better.
For the nations of the developing world across Latin America and Africa, the need to attract a new wave of Chinese investment to jump-start their stalled and failing economies is more pressing than ever. Outside the think tanks of Washington and London, the whole world knows that China is not in the business of seeking to destabilize governments and societies around the world in the spurious garb of ideology clothed in the false rhetoric of protecting human rights or spreading democracy.
China has consistently proven itself to be a reliable, loyal and predictable partner ready to invest in and partner with countries around the world with no regard for ideological differences or different forms of government. In a world of nearly 8 billion human beings and well over 200 sovereign nation states and independent political entities this is, indeed, the only realistic path to preserve long-term peace and conditions for global development and prosperity.
Once again, Beijing has taken a constructive, wise and encouraging initiative to revive world trade and encourage renewed ties and understanding between peoples as well as their governments. Other major nations and national blocs should respond positively to this move. Instead of tit-for-tat destructive responses by nations to each other's provocations, the peoples of the world enter 2023 hoping for a new escalating cycle of positive reactions that contribute to reducing hatreds and tensions and increasing investment, understanding and true tolerance.
There have been encouraging signs in different parts of the world that some long-standing leaders recognize the need for longer-term statesmanship instead of grandstanding with cheap insults and demagogic accusations and lies on the international stage. But honeyed words by themselves are never enough and China, like many other nations, has had enough experience of empty words coming out of Washington's leaders and politicians that are not backed by the hard collateral of positive actions. A rapid positive response to China's latest optimized pandemic protocol after the long COVID-19 health crisis would be a very good place to start.