Don’t Close Confucius Institutes in Britain – Defend Academic Freedom and Cultural Exchanges

No Cold War (Britain) has issued the following statement urging the British government to abandon its plans to shut down Confucius Institutes.

The British government is threatening to close down Confucius Institutes on university campuses across the UK in what would be a flagrant attack on academic freedom, cultural exchanges and free speech. The British people stand to lose important educational opportunities to learn about Chinese culture and acquire language skills if the government proceeds with its plans to shut down these Institutes at the behest of a New Cold War agenda promoted by the United States government.

Confucius Institutes are public educational and cultural programs funded and arranged by the Chinese International Education Foundation which is under the authority of the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Education. There are hundreds of Institutes worldwide which the Chinese government spends approximately $10billion a year on.

Confucius Institutes play a similar role to other international organisations which promote language skills and cultural exchanges on behalf of countries. These include Britain’s British Council, Portugal’s Instituto Camões, France’s Alliance Française, Italy’s Società Dante Alighieri, Spain’s Instituto Cervantes and Germany’s Goethe-Institut.

The British government justifies its threat to close down Confucius Institutes on the grounds that these programs promote a positive image of China, forming part of China’s “external propaganda”, and therefore constitute a threat to British society and university life. This is clearly absurd.

The British Council in under-taking programs to promote cultural relations and educational opportunities across the world performs an ambassadorial role in favourably promoting Britain internationally. It is hardly controversial or surprising that China’s Confucius Institutes promote China’s culture and language in a positive light internationally too.

The suppression of Confucius Institutes is part of the US’s New Cold War agenda. In the past two years Confucius Institutes have been shut down in the US, reducing the number from 100 to only 20.

Closing down Confucius Institutes in Britain would not only be a direct attack on academic freedom, it would also be a dangerous move. At a time when the British government is intent on pursuing a bellicose foreign policy towards China, including the sending of British warships to the South China Sea and the establishment of the AUKUS military pact directed against China, it is vital to maintain dialogue and an understanding of China’s view of the world – a role that Confucius Institutes clearly play. To shut down such opportunities for exchanges can lead to serious misunderstandings and could lead to catastrophic miscalculations. Understanding, engaging with and learning from China, as with other countries, is vital in the current international political climate. We urge the British government to abandon its self-defeating plan to close down Confucius Institutes which can only damage education and cultural opportunities and lead to greater misunderstanding and hostility in international relations.


Briefing: Taiwan Is a Red Line Issue

The new Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

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In recent years, Taiwan has become a flashpoint for tensions between the United States and China. The seriousness of the situation was recently underscored on 21 December, when US and Chinese military aircraft came within three metres of each other over the South China Sea. 

At the root of this simmering conflict are the countries’ diverging perspectives over Taiwan’s sovereignty. The Chinese position, known as the ‘One China’ principle, is firm: although the mainland and Taiwan have different political systems, they are part of the same country, with sovereignty residing in Beijing. Meanwhile, the US position on Taiwan is far less clear. Despite formally adopting the One China policy, the US maintains extensive ‘unofficial’ relations and military ties with Taiwan. In fact, under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, US law requires Washington to provide arms ‘of a defensive character’ to the island.

The US justifies its ongoing ties with Taiwan by claiming that they are necessary to uphold the island’s ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’. But, how valid are these claims?

A Foothold for Influence

To understand the contemporary geopolitical significance of Taiwan, it is necessary to examine Cold War history. Prior to the Chinese Revolution of 1949, China was in the midst of a civil war between the communists and the nationalists, or Kuomintang (KMT) – the latter of which received billions of dollars in military and economic support from Washington. The revolution resulted in the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the mainland, while the defeated KMT forces fled to the island of Taiwan, which had returned to Chinese sovereignty four years earlier, in 1945, following fifty years of Japanese colonial rule. From Taipei, the KMT declared that they were the rightful government-in-exile of all of China under the name of the Republic of China (ROC) – originally founded in 1912 – thereby rejecting the legitimacy of the PRC. 

The US military soon followed, establishing the United States Taiwan Defence Command in 1955, deploying nuclear weapons to the island, and occupying it with thousands of US troops until 1979. Far from protecting ‘democracy’ or ‘freedom’ in Taiwan, the US instead backed the KMT as it established a dictatorship, including a 38-year-long consecutive period of martial law from 1949–1987. During this time, known as the ‘White Terror’, Taiwanese authorities estimate that 140,000 to 200,000 people were imprisoned or tortured, and 3,000 to 4,000 were executed by the KMT. Washington accepted this brutal repression because Taiwan represented a useful foothold – located just 160 kilometres off the south-eastern coast of the Chinese mainland – that it used to pressure and isolate Beijing from the international community.

From 1949–1971, the US successfully manoeuvred to exclude the PRC from the United Nations by arguing that the ROC administration in Taiwan was the sole legitimate government of the entirety of China. It is important to note that, during this time, neither Taipei nor Washington contended that the island was separate from China, a narrative that is advanced today to allege Taiwan’s ‘independence’. However, these efforts were eventually defeated in 1971, when the UN General Assembly voted to oust the ROC and recognise the PRC as the only legitimate representative of China. Later that decade, in 1979, the US finally normalised relations with the PRC, adopted the One China policy, and ended its formal diplomatic relations with the ROC in Taiwan.

For Peace in Taiwan, US Interference Must End

Today, the international community has overwhelmingly adopted the One China policy, with only 13 of 193 UN member states recognising the ROC in Taiwan. However, due to the continued provocations of the US in alliance with separatist forces in Taiwan, the island remains a source of international tension and conflict.

The US maintains close military ties with Taiwan through arms sales, military training, advisors, and personnel on the island, as well as repeatedly sailing warships through the narrow Taiwan Strait that separates the island from the mainland. In 2022, Washington pledged $10 billion in military aid to Taiwan. Meanwhile, US congressional delegations regularly travel to Taipei, legitimising notions of separatism, such as a controversial visit by former US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi in August 2022. 

Would the US or any other Western country accept a situation where China provided military aid, stationed troops, and offered diplomatic support to separatist forces in part of its internationally recognised territory? The answer, of course, is no.

In November, at the G20 summit in Indonesia, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden held their first in-person meeting since Biden was elected president. At the meeting, Xi strongly reiterated China’s stance on Taiwan, telling Biden that: ‘the Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed’. Although Biden responded by stating that the US adheres to the One China policy and that he is ‘not looking for conflict’, just a few months prior, he affirmed in a televised interview that US troops would militarily intervene to ‘defend Taiwan’, if necessary.

It is clear from the US’s track record that Washington is intent on provoking China and disregarding its ‘red line’. In Eastern Europe, a similarly reckless approach, namely the continued expansion of NATO towards Russia’s border, led to the outbreak of war in Ukraine. As progressive forces in Taiwan have declared, ‘to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait and avoid the scourge of war, it is necessary to stop US interference’.


“Stop US interference”: Interview with the Labour Party of Taiwan

No Cold War is pleased to publish the following interview of Wu Rong-yuan, Chairperson of the Labour Party of Taiwan, conducted by Wim De Ceukelaire. The interview has been edited for clarity.

In 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People’s Republic on the mainland of the country, Chiang Kai-shek, China’s deposed leader, fled to the island of Taiwan together with his soldiers, political followers and their families. In total, roughly one million people would cross the Taiwan Strait. Chiang’s government and party, the Kuomintang, established a repressive dictatorship over the island’s 6.5 million inhabitants – imposing martial law for 38 years from 1949 to 1987 – and developed a close alliance with the United States.

Recently, Taiwan has been at the centre of headlines around the world as tensions increase between the United States and China. Little of this media coverage has discussed the island’s history, let alone the points of view of local progessive and left-wing forces. This interview with Wu Rong-yuan (吳榮元), the chairperson of the Labour Party of Taiwan, tries to fill that gap.

In the West, very little is known about the politics and history of Taiwan. Some will remember the island was ruled by the Kuomintang dictatorship for decades during the latter half of the 20th century. Others will know that, since becoming a presidential democracy in the 1990s, the island has had a two-party system with the Kuomintang and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as the main political parties. Few will know of your party, the Labour Party of Taiwan. Can you tell us about its history?

Wu Rong-yuan: The Labour Party of Taiwan was founded in March 1989 by three groups of people. First, the veteran political prisoners of the martial law period in Taiwan who persisted in their struggle while they were imprisoned for a long time. Second, a collection of progressive intellectuals who were united by the well-known magazine “China Tide” (夏潮) in the 1970s and the equally prominent publication “The Human World” (人間) in the 1980s, including Chen Ying-zhen (陳映真), Su Qing-li (蘇慶黎), Wang Li-xia (汪立峽), and others. Third, there were some leaders of the labour and social movements at that time, such as Luo Mei-wen (羅美文) (now a member of the Hsinchu County Council), Ngan Kun-chuan (顏坤泉), and others.

The establishment of the Labour Party of Taiwan initiated the third period in the history of the Left in Taiwan. The first period, from the early 1920s to 1931, was defined by the resistance against the Japanese Empire’s colonial rule;1 the second period, from 1945 to the 1950s, was marked by the participation of the “Old Classmates” in the New Democratic Revolution2 in Taiwan; and the third period, from 1988 onwards,3 has been characterised by the re-uniting the labour movement with the movement for the reunification of China. Therefore, we can say that the Labour Party of Taiwan has inherited the history of the left-wing movement of the Taiwanese people since the 1920s, and has continued the history of its patriotic anti-imperialist and unification movement, which was interrupted for nearly 40 years due to the so-called “White Terror”.

Every fall, the Labour Party of Taiwan and many pro-unification groups pay tribute to the victims who died during the “White Terror” in Taipei City. Can you tell us more about what happened to them?

Wu Rong-yuan: My heart is heavy when I talk about this historical tragedy. Most of the victims of the White Terror in Taiwan during the 1950s were local patriotic progressives. Thousands were killed and at least 140,000 were imprisoned in harsh conditions.

During Taiwan’s martial law, the former political prisoners linked up across the island after their release from prison through mutual aid associations. Immediately after the lifting of martial law in October 1987, the Taiwan Political Prisoners’ Mutual Aid Association was established and in March of the following year, Lin Shu-Yang (林書揚), the longest-serving political prisoner in Taiwan, was elected chairperson. They called each other “Old Classmates” and worked hard to continue the tradition of the anti-imperialist patriotic movement of the Taiwanese people.

These “Old Classmates” had been eyewitnesses to Japanese colonial domination and to the civil war between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang. After the lifting of martial law, they laid the basis for a number of unification organisations, including the Labour Party of Taiwan.

Did you have experiences with repression yourself?

Wu Rong-yuan: In the early 1970s, when I was a student, young Taiwanese students had a strong Chinese national identity. The more critically minded young Taiwanese began to question the Kuomintang because its version of nationalism was full of pointless formalities and sounded hollow. Instead, we were inspired by Sun Yat-sen’s statement that “socialism and communism are the solution to people’s livelihood”4 and identified with the American, European, and Japanese student movements at the time, as well as the anti-Vietnam War movement and the African American civil rights movement.

During this period, Taiwan was also impacted by two major international events. One was the adoption of Resolution 2758 by the United Nations General Assembly in 1971, which recognised the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legitimate representative of China to the United Nations.5 The other was the “Defend the Diaoyu Islands movement”6 that asserted Chinese sovereignty over these islands when the United States turned them over to Japan. In this way, my personal political views didn’t stop at criticising capitalism and advocating anti-imperialism but were also characterised by a strong identification with our motherland.

I was arrested for organising the “Communist Party of National Cheng Kung University” with my classmates in college and sentenced to death by the Taiwanese authorities. This sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment and then to fixed-term imprisonment. For a young political prisoner, that meant 15 years.

At that time, political prisoners were sent to Green Island, known as the Bonfire Island, to serve their sentences. It was there that I met many renowned political prisoners who, despite having been imprisoned for almost 20 years, were not demoralised. They were still in high spirits, displaying a rational attitude toward life. What I learned from my predecessors in Green Island Prison provided me with a systematic understanding of patriotism and socialism. The ideals of the “Old Classmates” became the political and ideological inspiration for my work in the patriotic unification movement after my release from prison.

Who were those people whom you met on Green Island?

Wu Rong-yuan: I was most impressed by the late comrades such as Lin Shu-yang, Chen Ming-zhong (陈明忠) and Chen Ying-zhen, who all made important contributions to the founding and development of the Labour Party of Taiwan. Lin Shu-yang was the honorary chairman of the Labour Party until his death in 2012. When I was on Green Island, Lin Shu-yang used to say: “Prison is a school for revolutionaries, so we must stick to our principles and maintain our fighting spirit.” Lin was an outstanding leader and theoretician of the patriotic unification movement in Taiwan. After his release from prison, he wrote and translated numerous articles on cross-strait relations, Taiwan’s history, Marxism, and the international situation.

Lin Shu-yang, who had been imprisoned for 34 years and 7 months, often emphasised the importance of combining theory and practice, and he tried his best to be personally involved in various movements that we were engaged in. Lin once said that when looking at the Taiwan issue from the historical perspective, the complete unification of the country would complete the liberation movement of the entire Chinese nation. This is the continuation of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, and anti-colonial Chinese national liberation movement that goes back to the 19th century.

Chen Ming-zhong also was one of the key founders of the Labour Party of Taiwan. During the period of martial law, he risked ordering progressive books and voluntarily photocopied articles that were worth reading and recommended them to “Old Classmates” who wished to learn. He was particularly concerned about the socialist revolution and construction of China and the socialist future of humanity, and authored a book entitled “China’s Road to Socialism”. His biography, “No Regrets”, has become a reference book for young people who want to understand the real history of Taiwan.

Chen Ying-zhen was another strong supporter and promoter of the Labour Party of Taiwan after his release. He had already written a number of novels before his imprisonment. In 1985, he presided over the creation of a news and photojournalism magazine, called “The Human World”, which had a profound impact on the social movements in Taiwan. He has been the most important author of the unification movement and the Left in Taiwan.

Chen was also a revolutionary practitioner, and he was present at the May Day rallies of Taiwanese workers, the protest against the US invasion of Iraq, and the demonstration against the occupation of the Diaoyu Islands. When organisers invited him to speak, he would give lively speeches to inspire the participants; and when he did not have the opportunity to speak, he would carry the banner together with the others, just like any ordinary member of the group. And he would enjoy it as well.

You have provided us with an important overview of the recent history of Taiwan. Can you tell us more about the Labour Party? What kind of party is it and how has it evolved since its founding in 1989?

Wu Rong-yuan: Since its founding, the Labour Party has represented the interests of the working class in Taiwan. Therefore, we have been fully involved as a political party in the Taiwan workers’ movement, the movement against imperialist domination and interference, and the movement for reunification.

To give you an example of our influence in the labour movement, we can look at the establishment of the Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions in 2000, the first general trade union after the end of the dictatorship. At the inaugural meeting, the Labour Movement Contribution Award was given to labour movement leaders and intellectuals. Of the five individuals who were nominated by the labour movement, three were members of the Labour Party.

At present, the Labour Party is promoting the annual May 1st Labour Day activities together with various labour organisations in Taiwan. We also have offices to provide services to the labour movement in the cities of Hsinchu, Taichung, and Kaohsiung, as well as in the North, Central and South of Taiwan.

In addition, we insist on combining social and political movements, and have been participating in local elections for more than a decade. We hope to gain seats to represent the people’s point of view through our participation, so that we can continue to expand our influence and gain favourable conditions to serve the people. At present, the Labour Party has two seats in Hsinchu County,7 which is the result of its hard work under unfavourable circumstances.

In the Labour Party of Taiwan’s analysis of the social and economic situation in Taiwan at the current historical stage, the contradiction between unification and independence is the main contradiction in Taiwan’s society, while the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie is the basic contradiction. The Labour Party has always adhered to the One China principle.

Faced with the downturn of the international socialist movement in the 1990s and the subsequent deterioration of Taiwan’s political and social situation, the party is in a very difficult situation. However, it is increasingly clear that its analysis remains valid. The main contradiction has not changed regardless of which political party has been in power in Taiwan. It has become more and more pronounced in Taiwan’s political environment and even in the daily lives of the general public.

The war in Ukraine has sharpened the contradictions between the West and Russia, and the contradictions with China have also become more prominent. In the Western media, many commentators have begun to compare Taiwan with Ukraine. What do you make of this analysis? Is Taiwan also facing the threat of a military invasion?

Wu Rong-yuan: We believe that the Russian-Ukrainian War was caused by the expansion of the US-led NATO military alliance to the east. However, we oppose the use of war as a means of resolving this dispute and we call on both sides to sit down for negotiations and talk.

It is now clear that this is a proxy war, and Ukraine is just cannon fodder for Washington. The United States is gaining economic benefits from the war, including the expansion of the global arms market, and military benefits from weakening Russia. Therefore, if the United States is not willing to stop the war, the war will not stop. We must strongly condemn the US empire.

Taiwan is not Ukraine, because Taiwan is a part of China. Taiwan and the Chinese mainland are one country. It is an internal political issue. However, the Russian-Ukrainian war has given us a lot of insight; we are worried that Taiwan might similarly be used as a proxy to start a war in the Taiwan Strait. For example, the United States could deliberately let Taiwan cross China’s red line and provoke the mainland to attack. Such a tactic could be pursued as part of Washington’s efforts to contain and slow down the rise of China.

Now more than ever, we want peace across the Taiwan Strait. So we must defeat the attempts of the United States, in conjunction with conservative regimes in East Asia, to encircle China and escalate the conflict. 

When a number of high-profile US politicians visited Taiwan this summer, most notably US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it did provoke tensions with the Chinese mainland. Interestingly, the Taiwan government, led by President Tsai Ing-wen, seemed to welcome these visits and has generally been very receptive to US attempts to drum up tensions with China. How do you explain this?

Wu Rong-yuan: The emergence of the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces or the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has its historical roots. The DPP is the representative of the local bourgeoisie in Taiwan, which emerged as a political force at the end of the martial law period, when the Kuomintang was in power. With the rise of their economic stature, the DPP are no longer satisfied with having money but no power.

Their anti-communist politics and their desire for a Western political system gradually led to the formation of a separatist “one China, one Taiwan” political line. Following several changes of political power between these two main parties, the “Taiwan independence” forces have now become bigger, and they are going further and further down the road of national secession, pushing cross-strait relations into an increasingly dangerous situation.

The “Taiwan independence” forces have been in power twice8 and still have not dared to touch the political red line drawn by the mainland. The “Taiwan independence” forces understand that they will pay a price if they cross it. Therefore, the DPP authorities are trying to strengthen the island’s security system. Internally, they stir up the so-called Taiwan nationalism ideology and externally, they rely on the United States (and Japan) to resist the Chinese mainland.

In the January 2020 elections, the DPP and its leader, Tsai Ing-wen, won the elections and came to power for the second time. However, prior to this, in the 2018 local elections, the ruling DPP government suffered an unprecedented defeat, and, in 2019, Tsai’s popularity rating had dropped to just 15 percent. Ahead of the 2020 elections, any observer would have thought that there was no hope for Tsai’s re-election.

As a result, Tsai’s government launched a desperate counter-attack and began to create an anti-communist political atmosphere. The Tsai Ing-wen administration began to drum up ‘espionage incidents’. Mainland students, retired military personnel, Hong Kong businessmen, and political figures advocating unification were accused of espionage. In the second half of 2019, the DPP strengthened the national security legislation with a provision directed against so-called ‘agents of the Chinese Communist Party’. It is forbidden for people or organisations to act as ‘agents’ of the mainland or to engage in political propaganda that is deemed to endanger national security. This reminiscent to the Cold War: the regime can criminalise anyone it wants to.

In addition, other new security laws were passed and a new provision was added to the Cross-Strait People’s Relations Ordinance to de facto block the possibility of the government signing any political agreement with the mainland. This provision stipulates that a political agreement with the mainland requires the presence of three quarters of the members of the Legislative Yuan (the parliament) and the approval of three quarters. This is a higher threshold than is required for a constitutional amendment!

In 2018–19, the Trump administration escalated its trade war against China on the pretext that China was stealing US intellectual property and trade secrets. Some DPP politicians were overjoyed by this development, openly welcoming the return of the anti-communist Cold War and arguing for Taiwan to return to its old anti-communist system. Some independent Taiwanese and DPP leaders have even placed newspaper advertisements calling on the opposition Kuomintang and the DPP to return to the old anti-communist system of Chiang Kai-shek.

In short, after suffering a crushing defeat in the 2018 local elections, Tsai Ing-wen’s government weaponised the anti-communist and anti-China atmosphere both inside and outside of Taiwan. In less than a year, the administration increased its support in the polls to almost 60 percent, winning the 2020 elections with 57.1 percent of the votes. Based on this, one should be able to imagine the violent anti-communist and anti-China atmosphere the presently exists in Taiwan.

Taiwan is gradually returning to the dictatorial system of the past. A year and a half ago, a news channel in Taiwan which opposed the DPP had its licence withdrawn by the government on trumped up grounds. Meanwhile, it is a recognised fact that the DPP uses the government’s budget to maintain a large online army to manipulate public opinion in an organised manner. When people post or share comments critical of the government on the internet, they are often prosecuted by the government for allegedly creating or spreading false news; these charges are levied under legislation which dates back to the martial law era, now renamed the Social Order Maintenance Law.

The DPP has established a far-right, anti-communist, anti-China, and pro-US regime. The anti-communist operation from 2019 to 2020 has been quite successful in spreading fear among the public. As a result, in the past few years, almost no one has dared to oppose the increasing public debt accumulating from arms purchases from the United States. At the behest of Washington, Taiwan’s defence spending has risen to 2.3 percent of GDP, which is having a serious impact on social welfare and education. Despite this, the US has not relaxed its pressure on Taiwan to increase military expenditures, demanding that the government increases its spending to 3 percent of GDP. Also at the behest of the United States, the DPP government will change the military service system to a one-year conscription system.

These are very worrisome developments. How does the population understand the situation, especially the increasing closeness to the United States?

Wu Rong-yuan: In Taiwan, more and more people are seeing the true face of the United States as a result of the war in Ukraine. In particular, they see that the United States itself does not send troops to support Ukraine, but continues to supply weapons so that the Ukrainian people keep sacrificing their lives in order to combat Russia.

In the past, most Taiwanese believed that the United States would send troops to support the island in the event of a war in the Taiwan Strait. However, according to the latest poll, the number of Taiwanese who “strongly believe” or “fairly believe” that the United States would send troops to Taiwan in such a situation has dropped to 36.3 percent. We hope that the decline in Taiwanese people’s trust in the United States will help to build an atmosphere of reconciliation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

However, we are not optimistic. There are still many pro-independence forces in Taiwan who firmly believe that, unlike Ukraine, Taiwan’s geographical location is strategically important to the United States in blockading the Chinese mainland and that Washington will send troops to Taiwan in the event of a cross-strait war. Moreover, the DPP and other pro-independence forces see the Russian-Ukrainian war as an important opportunity to continue to increase military purchases from the United States and intensify militarisation.

You referred to the growing influence of United States in Taiwan under former President Donald Trump as a destabilising factor. Under President Joe Biden tensions have escalated further, including the recent passing of the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act (formerly known as the Taiwan Policy Act). What do you think is behind trend? Why is the US interested in increasing tensions with China over the issue of Taiwan?

Wu Rong-yuan: The objective of the Taiwan Policy Act is to advance the United States’ own strategic interests in the name of Taiwan. It aims to provoke China and challenge China’s peaceful reunification policy. Politically, it intends to create “one China, one Taiwan” by enhancing relations with Taiwan and undermining the internationally recognised One China principle.

Militarily, it gives the Taiwanese authorities the status of major non-NATO ally and establishes the so-called “Taiwan Security Assistance Initiative” to provide USD 4.5 billion in foreign military funding over the next four years. These funds will be used to finance further arms sales to Taiwan with the intention of stockpiling a huge arsenal of weapons on the island and making it the frontline of the battlefield, and of course for the benefit of the US arms industry.

Economically, it is forcing important companies such as the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to set up factories in the United States in an attempt to cut off the natural cooperation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Worse still, there have been a number of recent reports in the US media that Washington intends to sabotage and destroy important semiconductor industries on the island of Taiwan, in a so-called “Taiwan-Chinese destruction” plot.

In terms of public opinion and propaganda, the United States has stigmatised national unification efforts between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and misled the world by referring to it as aggression. The United States believes that the status quo of “peace without unification nor separation” across the Taiwan Strait is in its national interest. However, the United States has been escalating its use of the so-called “Taiwan card”, which has encouraged separatists, changed the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, and created tension in the region.

Facing these provocations, the Chinese mainland will certainly strengthen its defence of its territorial sovereignty, exemplified by the recent military exercise around Taiwan in reaction to Pelosi’s visit. This is because China believes that the resolution of the Taiwan issue and the realisation of unification is in its core interest.

To maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait and avoid the scourge of war, it is necessary to stop US interference, to encourage cross-strait exchanges under the One China principle, and to move toward the completion of national reunification through internal consultation on the basis of equality. Therefore, the slogan of the Labour Party is: “One China on both sides of the Taiwan Strait for peaceful development”.

What are the concrete proposals of the Labour Party of Taiwan to resolve the tensions?

Wu Rong-yuan: In the face of the current serious and tense situation in the Taiwan Strait, we in the Labour Party advocate peace negotiations and peaceful reunification. We believe that after cross-strait reunification, Taiwan will no longer be a neo-colony under the hegemonic control of the United States and Japan, and that the people of Taiwan, who have returned to the Chinese national community, will be in power. Without the external interference of the United States and the squeeze placed on Taiwan’s finances by arms purchases, Taiwan’s budgetary resources will be available to increase the welfare of the people.

Finally, we call on the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and the progressive peace-loving people of the world to unite against the hegemonic intervention of the United States in China’s internal affairs and the Taiwan issue.

With thanks to Mrs. Wang Juan-ping (王娟萍) for her assistance with translations.

1 Taiwan was occupied by Japan from 1895 to 1945. After the violent suppression of local resistance, came a period of enlightened colonial rule in the 1920s until Japanese militarism got the upper hand in the 1930s, and especially the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria on the Mainland.

2 According to the theory of the two-stage revolution, the New Democratic Revolution is the first stage that countries have to go through as long as they are subjected to imperialist domination. The New Democratic Revolution aims to defeat imperialist domination and bring an end to feudal exploitation. In the case of China, the Communist Party of China successfully completed this stage in 1949, when it defeated Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang and established the People’s Republic. This was also the start of the second stage, the socialist revolution.

3 This is the period after the lifting of martial law in July 1987.

4 Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) became the first provisional president of China and the first leader of the Kuomintang in 1912. In 1923, he forged an alliance between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China. Sun is unique among 20th-century Chinese leaders for being widely revered in both Mainland China and Taiwan. According to Sun Yat-sen, the three people’s principles are nationalism, democracy and people’s livelihood.

5 China was one of the original member states of the United Nations, which was created in 1945. At that time, the Republic of China (ROC), led by the Kuomintang, was the government of China and even when they didn’t control Mainland China anymore, tthis government held on to the seat of China in the United Nations. It is only in 1971 that United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 on the “Restoration of the lawful rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations” recognised the PRC as “the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations” and removed “the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek” (referring to the ROC) from the United Nations.

6 The Diaoyu islands, also known by their Japanese name as the Senkaku islands, are a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, that were annexed by Japan in 1895 and came under United States occupation in 1945. The United States turned them over to Japan in 1972.

7 Hsinchu County is one of the 13 administrative regions of Taiwan.

8 The DPP was in power for the first time from 2000 to 2008 under president Chen Shui-bian.


Briefing: NATO Claims Africa as Its ‘Southern Neighbourhood’

The new Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

English | Español | Português

In August 2022, the United States published a new foreign policy strategy aimed at Africa. The 17-page document featured 10 mentions of China and Russia combined, including a pledge to ‘counter harmful activities by the [People’s Republic of China], Russia, and other foreign actors’ on the continent, but did not once mention the term ‘sovereignty’. Although US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that Washington ‘will not dictate Africa’s choices’, African governments have reported facing ‘patronising bullying’ from NATO member states to take their side in the war in Ukraine. As global tensions rise, the US and its allies have signalled that they view the continent as a battleground to wage their New Cold War against China and Russia.

A New Monroe Doctrine?

At its annual summit in June, NATO named Africa along with the Middle East as ‘NATO’s southern neighbourhood’. On top of this, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ominously referred to ‘Russia and China’s increasing influence in our southern neighbourhood’ as a ‘challenge’. The following month, the outgoing commander of AFRICOM, General Stephen J Townsend, referred to Africa as ‘NATO’s southern flank’. These comments are disturbingly reminiscent of the neocolonial attitude espoused by the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, in which the US claimed Latin America as its ‘backyard’.

This paternalistic view of Africa appears to be widely held in Washington. In April, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Countering Malign Russian Influence Activities in Africa Act by a vote of 415-9. The bill, which aims to punish African governments for not aligning with US foreign policy on Russia, has been widely condemned across the continent for disrespecting the sovereignty of African nations, with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor calling it ‘absolutely disgraceful’.

The efforts by the US and Western countries to draw Africa into their geopolitical conflicts raise serious concerns: namely, will the US and NATO weaponise their vast military presence on the continent to achieve their aims?

AFRICOM: Protecting US and NATO’s Hegemony

In 2007, the United States established its Africa Command (AFRICOM) ‘in response to our expanding partnerships and interests in Africa’. In just 15 years, AFRICOM has established at least 29 military bases on the continent as part of an extensive network which includes more than 60 outposts and access points in at least 34 countries – over 60 percent of the nations on the continent.

Despite Washington’s rhetoric of promoting democracy and human rights in Africa, in reality, AFRICOM aims to secure US hegemony over the continent. AFRICOM’s stated objectives include ‘protecting US interests’ and ‘maintaining superiority over competitors’ in Africa. In fact, the creation of AFRICOM was motivated by the concerns of ‘those alarmed by China’s expanding presence and influence in the region’.

From the outset, NATO was involved in the endeavour, with the original proposal put forward by then Supreme Allied Commander of NATO James L Jones, Jr. On an annual basis, AFRICOM conducts training exercises focused on enhancing the ‘interoperability’ between African militaries and ‘US and NATO special operations forces’.

The destructive nature of the US and NATO’s military presence in Africa was exemplified in 2011 when – ignoring the African Union’s opposition – the US and NATO launched their catastrophic military intervention in Libya to remove the government of Muammar Gaddafi. This regime change war destroyed the country, which had previously scored the highest among African nations on the UN Human Development Index. Over a decade later, the principal achievements of the intervention in Libya have been the return of slave markets to the country, the entry of thousands of foreign fighters, and unending violence.

In the future, will the US and NATO invoke the ‘malign influence’ of China and Russia as a justification for military interventions and regime change in Africa?

Africa Rejects a New Cold War

At this year’s UN General Assembly, the African Union firmly rejected the coercive efforts of the US and Western countries to use the continent as a pawn in their geopolitical agenda. ‘Africa has suffered enough of the burden of history’, stated Chairman of the African Union and President of Senegal Macky Sall; ‘it does not want to be the breeding ground of a new Cold War, but rather a pole of stability and opportunity open to all its partners, on a mutually beneficial basis’. Indeed, the drive for war offers nothing to the peoples of Africa in their pursuit of peace, climate change adaptation, and development.


International Peace Forum: The United States Is Waging a New Cold War

Join us for a webinar on 17 September jointly organised by No Cold War, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, and Monthly Review.

We are witnessing a dangerous military, economic and political escalation by the United States and its Western allies against Russia and China. The US-led expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe is paralleled by an aggressive policy around Taiwan, symbolised by Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit.

Not only is the majority of the US political establishment united around pursuit of such hostile policies, some go even further, seeking to gain a “first strike” nuclear capacity. To secure its global hegemony, Washington appears willing to use any means to “weaken” both Russia and China, even at the risk of destroying the planet.

Confronted with this dangerous trend in international politics the No Cold War campaign, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, and Monthly Review have jointly produced a book analysing the situation titled The United States is Waging a New Cold War: A Socialist Perspective. The book contains essays by Deborah Veneziale, John Bellamy Foster, and John Ross, along with an introduction by Vijay Prashad

Join the authors for a panel discussion moderated by Mikaela Nhondo Erskog. The webinar will be held on Saturday 17 September at 09:00 Pacific Time, 12:00 Eastern Time, 17:00 British time, and 00:00 China time.

Register for this important event, here.


Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is a dangerous provocation

On 2 August, United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island of Taiwan in a dangerous provocation of China. The visit by Pelosi – the third-highest ranking US official in order of presidential succession – is the most significant trip to Taiwan by a U.S. official in 25 years, when then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited the island.

Intended to encourage separatist forces on the island, Pelosi’s visit is a flagrant violation of the one-China principle. This principle, which recognises that Taiwan is part of China, has been adopted by the United Nations for over fifty years and forms the basis of diplomatic relations between the US and China. Today, 180 of the 193 UN member states recognise Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan. 

This is a red line issue for China. Pelosi’s visit has been rightly condemned by the international community, and was even opposed by the US military, for threatening to escalate tensions between the US and China into a military conflict.

The United States must abandon its rogue foreign policy agenda and adhere to the international consensus. Failing to respect the territorial integrity of other countries leads to war – we are witnessing this in Ukraine, a war provoked by NATO’s decades-long expansion up to Russia’s border. The world does not need any more conflict, we need peace and cooperation to resolve the urgent crises facing humanity.


Briefing: The world does not want a global NATO

The new Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

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In June, member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) gathered in Madrid, Spain for their annual summit. At the meeting, NATO adopted a new Strategic Concept, which had last been updated in 2010. In it, NATO names Russia as its ‘most significant and direct threat’ and singled out China as a ‘challenge [to] our interests’. In the words of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, this guiding document represents a ‘fundamental shift’ for the military alliance, its ‘biggest overhaul… since the Cold War’.

A Monroe Doctrine for the 21st Century?

Although NATO purports to be a ‘defensive’ alliance, this claim is contradicted by its destructive legacy – such as in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001), and Libya (2011) – and its ever-expanding global footprint. At the summit, NATO made it clear that it intends to continue its global expansion to confront Russia and China. Seemingly oblivious to the immense human suffering produced by the war in Ukraine, NATO declared that its ‘enlargement has been a historic success… and contributed to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area’, and extended official membership invitations to Finland and Sweden. 

However, NATO’s sights extend far beyond the ‘Euro-Atlantic’ to the Global South. Seeking to gain a foothold in Asia, NATO welcomed Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand as summit participants for the first time and stated that ‘the Indo-Pacific is important for NATO’. On top of this, echoing the Monroe Doctrine (1823) of two hundred years ago, the Strategic Concept named ‘Africa and the Middle East’ as ‘NATO’s southern neighbourhood’, and Stoltenberg made an ominous reference to ‘Russia and China’s increasing influence in [the Alliance’s] southern neighbourhood’ as presenting a ‘challenge’.

85% of the World Seeks Peace

Although NATO’s member states may believe that they possess global authority, the overwhelming majority of the world does not. The international response to the war in Ukraine indicates that a stark divide exists between the United States and its closest allies on the one hand and the Global South on the other.

Governments representing 6.7 billion people – 85% of the world’s population – have refused to follow sanctions imposed by the US and its allies against Russia, while countries representing only 15% of the world’s population have followed these measures. According to Reuters, the only non-Western governments to have enacted sanctions on Russia are Japan, South Korea, the Bahamas, and Taiwan – all of which host US military bases or personnel.

There is even less support for the push to close airspace to Russian planes spearheaded by the US and European Union. Governments representing only 12% of the world’s population have adopted this policy, while 88% have not.

US-led efforts to politically isolate Russia on the international stage have been unsuccessful. In March, the UN General Assembly voted on a nonbinding resolution to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: 141 countries voted in favour, 5 countries voted against, 35 countries abstained, and 12 countries were absent. However, this tally does not tell the full story. The countries which either voted against the resolution, abstained, or were absent represent 59% of the world’s population. Following this, the Biden administration’s call for Russia to be excluded from the G20 summit in Indonesia was ignored.

Meanwhile, despite intense backing from NATO, efforts to win support for Ukraine in the Global South have been a complete failure. On 20 June, after several requests, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the African Union; only two heads of state of the continental organisation’s 55 members attended the meeting. Shortly thereafter, Zelensky’s request to address the Latin American trade bloc, Mercosur, was rejected.

It is clear that NATO’s claim to be ‘a bulwark of the rules-based international order’ is not a view which is shared by most of the world. Support for the military alliance’s policies is almost entirely confined to its member countries and a handful of allies which together constitute a small minority of the world’s population. Most of the world’s population rejects NATO’s policies and global aspirations and does not wish to divide the international community into outdated Cold War blocs.


Briefing: Is the United States preparing for war on Russia and China?

The new Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

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The war in Ukraine demonstrates a qualitative escalation of the United States’ willingness to use military force. In recent decades, the US launched wars on developing countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Serbia. In these campaigns, the US knew it enjoyed overwhelming military superiority and that there was no risk of a nuclear retaliation. However, in threatening to bring Ukraine into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the US was prepared to risk crossing what it knew to be the ‘red lines’ of the nuclear armed state of Russia. This raises two questions: why has the US undertaken this escalation, and how far is the US now prepared to go in the use of military force against not only the Global South but major powers such as China or Russia?

Using Military Force to Compensate for Economic Decline

The answer to ‘why’ is clear: the US has lost in peaceful economic competition to developing countries in general and China in particular. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in 2016 China overtook the US as the world’s largest economy. As of 2021, China accounted for 19% of the global economy, compared to the US at 16%. This gap is only growing wider, and, by 2027, the IMF projects that China’s economy will outsize the US by nearly 30%. However, the US has maintained unrivalled global military supremacy – its military expenditure is larger than the next nine highest spending countries combined. Seeking to maintain unipolar global dominance, the US is increasingly substituting peaceful economic competition with military force.

A good starting point to understand this strategic shift in US policy is the speech given by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on 26 May 2022. In it, Blinken openly admitted that the US does not seek military equality with other states, but military supremacy, particularly with respect to China: ‘President Biden has instructed the Department of Defense to hold China as its pacing challenge, to ensure that our military stays ahead’. However, with nuclear armed states such as China or Russia, military supremacy necessitates achieving nuclear supremacy – an escalation above and beyond the current war in Ukraine.

The Pursuit of Nuclear Primacy

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the US has systematically withdrawn from key treaties limiting the threat of use of nuclear weapons: in 2002, the US unilaterally exited  from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; in 2019, the US abandoned the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty; and, in 2020, the US withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty. Abandoning these treaties strengthened the US’ ability to seek nuclear supremacy.

The ultimate aim of this US policy is to acquire ‘first strike’ capacity against Russia and China – the ability to inflict damage with a first use of nuclear weapons against Russia or China to the extent that it effectively prevents retaliation. As John Bellamy Foster has noted in a comprehensive study of this US nuclear build up, even in the case of Russia – which possesses the world’s most advanced non-US nuclear arsenal – this would ‘deny Moscow a viable second-strike option, effectively eliminating its nuclear deterrent altogether, through “decapitation”’. In reality, the fallout and threat of nuclear winter from such a strike would threaten the entire world.

This policy of nuclear primacy has long been pursued by certain circles within Washington. In 2006, it was argued in the leading US foreign policy journal Foreign Affairs that ‘It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike’.  Contrary to these hopes, the US has not yet been able to achieve a first strike capacity, but this is due to development of hypersonic missiles and other weapons by Russia and China – not a change in US policy.

From its attacks on Global South countries to its increased willingness to go to war with a great power such as Russia to attempting to gain first strike nuclear capacity, the logic behind the escalation of US militarism is clear: the United States is increasingly employing military force to compensate for its economic decline. In this extremely dangerous period, it is vital for humanity that all progressive forces unite to meet this great threat.


Briefing: The United States has destabilised the world economy

The new Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

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The International Monetary Fund has announced that the global economy is entering a major slowdown, downgrading the growth prospects of 143 countries. At the same time, inflation rates have reached historic levels. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people are falling into poverty, particularly in the Global South. Oxfam has sounded the alarm that we are ‘witnessing the most profound collapse of humanity into extreme poverty and suffering in memory’. What is producing this immense human suffering?

An Economic Crisis ‘Made in Washington’

On 13 April, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claimed that this global economic deterioration was due to the Russian war in Ukraine. This is factually incorrect. Although the conflict has worsened the situation, the key driver which has destabilised the world economy is the massive inflationary wave that had already built up in the United States and has now begun to crest on the world. Prior to the war in Ukraine, US inflation had already tripled in recent years from 2.5% (January 2020) to 7.5% (January 2022) before accelerating further to 8.5% (March 2022) after the war broke out. 

‘This isn’t Putin’s inflation’, the Wall Street Journal editorial board noted. ‘This inflation was made in Washington’.

The US consumer market absorbs a fifth of the world’s goods and services; as the demand for these goods outstrips the global supply, the tendency for US inflation to spread around the world is very high. The average Commodity Research Bureau Index, a general indicator of global commodity markets, has risen astronomically: as of 25 April, year-to-year prices have soared for oil (60%), palm oil (60%), coffee (56%), wheat (45%), natural gas (139%), and coal (253%). These price increases have sent shock waves through the global economy.

This instability is inseparably connected to US economic policy. Since 2020, the United States has increased its budget by $2.8 trillion. To finance this budgetary expansion, the US government increased borrowing to 27% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and the Federal Reserve Bank increased the money supply (the quantity of money issued) by 27% year-on-year. Both of these increases are the highest in US peacetime history.

These huge US economic packages were generated to put cash in the hands of consumers. The US government focused on the economy’s demand side by putting money into circulation for consumption, but it did not increase spending on the economy’s supply side by putting money into investment. From 2019–21, 98% of US GDP growth was in consumption, while only 2% was in net investment. With a large increase in demand by consumers and almost no increase in supply, a huge inflationary wave grew in the United States.

Investing in Guns or People?

Inflation in the United States, which has global implications, is a by-product of its economic priorities. For the past half-century, US governments have not used the country’s social wealth to make substantial social investments in areas such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure, nor have they invested in the manufacturing sector to increase supply. Instead, to manage inflation the government has chosen to push an agenda which cuts demand. These cuts in demand have already lowered living standards; for instance, real wages in the United States have fallen by 2.7% in the past year. 

Instead of making social investments to prevent such economic downturns, the US government has prioritised its military, which receives a budget increase every year. In 2022, the Biden administration proposed a military budget of $813 billion, a 9.2% increase over the military budget in 2021 – larger than the next eleven highest spending countries combined. To justify this massive expenditure, the Biden administration, like the Trump administration before it, has invoked the need to ‘combat threats’ posed by China and Russia.

A reduction in US military spending would free up government funds to invest in education, healthcare, infrastructure, and manufacturing. However, this would necessitate a shift in US foreign policy, which does not appear to be on the horizon. Until that time, the people of the United States and other countries will have to sustain the costs of Washington’s new Cold War.


Briefing: World hunger and the war in Ukraine

The new Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our new series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

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The war in Ukraine, along with sanctions imposed by the United States and Western countries against Russia, have caused global food, fertiliser, and fuel prices to ‘skyrocket’ and endanger the world food supply. This conflict is exacerbating the existing crisis of global hunger and imperils the living standards and well-being of billions of people – particularly in the Global South. 

War in the ‘breadbasket of the world’

Russia and Ukraine together produce nearly 30 percent of the world’s wheat and roughly 12 percent of its total calories. Over the past five years, they have accounted for 17 percent of the world’s corn, 32 percent of barley (a critical source of animal feed), and 75 percent of sunflower oil (an important cooking oil in many countries). On top of this, Russia is the world’s largest supplier of fertilisers and natural gas (a key component in fertiliser production), accounting for 15 percent of the global trade of nitrogenous fertilisers, 17 percent of potash fertilisers, 20 percent of natural gas.

The current crisis threatens to cause a global food shortage. The United Nations has estimated that up to 30 percent of Ukrainian farmland could become a warzone; in addition, due to sanctions, Russia has been severely restricted in exporting food, fertiliser, and fuel. This has caused global prices to surge. Since the war began, wheat prices have increased by 21 percent, barley by 33 percent, and some fertilisers by 40 percent.

The Global South is ‘getting pummelled’

The painful impact of this shock is being felt by people around the world, but most sharply in the Global South. ‘In a word, developing countries are getting pummelled,’ United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently remarked.

According to the UN, 45 African and ‘least developed’ countries import at least a third of their wheat from Russia or Ukraine – 18 of those countries import at least 50 percent. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, obtains over 70 percent of its imports from Russia and Ukraine, while Turkey obtains over 80 percent. 

Countries of the Global South are already facing severe price shocks and shortages, impacting both consumption and production. In Kenya, bread prices have risen by 40 percent in some areas and, in Lebanon, by 70 percent. Meanwhile, Brazil, the world’s largest producer of soybeans, is facing a major reduction in crop yields. The country purchases close to half of its potash fertiliser from Russia and neighbouring Belarus (which is also being sanctioned) – it has only a three month supply remaining with farmers being instructed to ration.

‘The United States has sanctioned the whole world’

The situation is being directly exacerbated by U.S. and Western sanctions against Russia. Although sanctions have been justified as targeting Russian government leaders and elites, such measures hurt all people, particularly vulnerable groups, and are having global ramifications. 

‘They’re preventing fertilisers from getting to producing countries,’ said Antonio Galvan, president of the Brazilian national soybean farmers association, Aprosoja. ‘How many millions are going to starve to death because of the lack of these fertilisers?’ 

Nooruddin Zaker Ahmadi, director of an Afghan import company, made the following diagnosis: ‘The United States thinks it has only sanctioned Russia and its banks. But the United States has sanctioned the whole world.’

‘A catastrophe on top of a catastrophe…’

The war in Ukraine and associated sanctions are exacerbating the already existing crisis of world hunger. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation found that ‘nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have access to adequate food in 2020.’ In recent years, the situation has worsened as food prices have risen due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and related disruptions.

‘Ukraine has only compounded a catastrophe on top of a catastrophe,’ said David M. Beasley, the executive director of the UN World Food Program. ‘There is no precedent even close to this since World War II.’

‘If you think we’ve got hell on earth now, you just get ready,’ Beasley warned.

Regardless of the different opinions on Ukraine, it is clear that billions of people around the world will suffer from this hunger crisis until the war and sanctions come to an end.