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Posts Tagged ‘Gao Zhikai

The recent history of China’s foreign policy

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Gao Zhikai, or Victor Gao, was Deng Xiaoping’s old interpreter and sat in on some of China’s earliest encounters with the outside world, including the 1986 meeting between Deng and John Phelan, the then chairman of the NY stock exchange, during which Deng decided that China must have its own stock exchange.

Today, he is an executive director of the Beijing Private Equity Association and a director of the China National Association of International Studies, and has held positions with Morgan Stanley, PCCW and CNOOC.

But it was his early knowledge of Beijing’s interactions with the outside world that were most relevant for a piece about how Britain should handle its relationship with China.

In his view, China’s foreign policy history during the post-Mao period can be split into three periods:

1. 1978 to 1989: Deng Xiaoping’s opened up China to the outside world after decades of isolation. During this period, China’s tacit support for US policy helped bring about the end of the Soviet Union and the end of Communism in Europe. Mr Gao said China and the US were trading military and political information, and that the US was in the process of selling China helicopters and fighter-jet guidance technology.

2. 1989 to 2001: After the events in Tiananmen Square, the US turned its back on China. A UN resolution was passed against China and sanctions were imposed. No diplomatic meetings took place from 1989 to 1993, when Bill Clinton finally met Jiang Zemin on the fringes of the Apec conference in Seattle. “This was a sensitive and difficult time for China,” said Mr Gao, pointing out that with the Cold War over, China emerged as the next natural ideological enemy for the US, even though its brand of “communism” was a world away from Soviet marxism.

3. Post 2001: After the September 11 attacks, the US reconciled to China, aware that Beijing was a valuable ally in the war against terror, since (a) China has a Western border with Afghanistan and (b) China is not ideological at all, unlike, say Islamic fundamentalists. In addition, China’s admission to the WTO had helped push the country forward economically and given it an incentive to play a bigger role on the world stage.

Last year, said Mr Gao, was a major year of transition. A year in which China fully turned from introverted to outward-looking. The old policy of remaining a humble and non-speaking partner is finally dead and China expressed its position strongly at every international summit, from the G20 to Copenhagen.

Nevertheless, it is clear that there have to be some structural changes in the CCP bureaucracy before foreign policy is given the role it deserves. For their part, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao have travelled abroad to cement business ties, rather than to play the grand game of international diplomacy.

Mr Gao pointed out that the Foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, is not even in the enlarged politburo. “There are two to three dozen officials higher up that him, compared to the US, where the Secretary of State is number two or three”, he said.

高志凯(Victor Gao),曾任邓小平的翻译,陪同参与了中国最早期的一些外事活动,包括1986年邓小平与时任纽约证券交易所所长的John




1. 1978年到1989年,在相对闭关锁国几十年后,邓小平打开了中国和外界交流的通道。在此期间,中国对美国政策的默许支持帮助实现了苏联瓦解和欧洲共产主义的终结。高先生称中美当时交换军事和政治方面的消息,美国甚至准备向华出售直升机和战斗机的指导技术。

2. 1989年到2001年,天安门事件之后,美国冷淡了与中国的关系。联合国通过了制裁中国的决议,并予以实施。1989到1993年,中美之间没有外交往来,直到1993年克林顿和江泽民在西雅图召开的欧佩克会议上的会面。“这对中国来说是一段敏感而困难的时期”,高指出,随着冷战的结束,中国自然而然成为了美国下一个意识形态方面的敌人,尽管中国的“共产主义”和苏联的马克思主义相去甚远。

3. 2001年至今,911之后,美国向中国递出了橄榄枝,冀望中国成为反恐战争中的重要伙伴,原因有二,一是中国西部和阿富汗接壤,其二,中国并没有极端的意识形态,例如伊斯兰原教旨主义。此外,中国加入世贸组织之后,国内经济有所推进,自然在国际事务上想扮演更重要的角色。




Written by malcolmmoore

January 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm