September 1, 1962
Record of Conversation following Pakistani Ambassador to the PRC Raza’s Presentation of Credentials to Liu Shaoqi’s
This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation
Liu Shaoqi: We are neighbors; thus we should continue to nurture friendly relations. China is willing to live on friendly terms with all countries, including the United States. We contact and negotiate with the United States in Warsaw, and have told the US clearly that if they would only withdraw their armed forces from Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait, and avoid adopting policies which regard China with hostility, we could live on friendly terms with them. We don’t care what system of government the United States has, and they also don’t care what kind of governmental system China enacts. We should not interfere with each other’s domestic affairs.
Raza: Yes. That is to say, live your own life and also let others live theirs.
Liu: But now the US continues to occupy China’s Taiwan. The American government is still carrying out policies that exclude and attempt to isolate China in the international stage. Consequently, Sino-American relations are poor. If they were to withdraw from Taiwan and change their unfriendly policies toward China, there would be no reason why Sino-American relations could not improve.
Raza: I understand your elaboration on this issue.
Liu: I am very happy that friendly Sino-Pakistani relations have developed, and I hope that during your term bilateral relations are able to develop further.
Raza: I can guarantee you that we certainly will make every effort to fulfill this important mission. I have consistently advocated Sino-Pakistani friendship.
Liu: Very good. China is one of the world’s big countries, and we are therefore on guard against one major problem: namely, watching out to make sure our cadres and our people do not commit errors of great power chauvinism. Over 100 years ago, we suffered greatly from oppression and bullying by great powers; so, after the revolution’s victory, we reeducated our cadres and our people; we might not be bullied by great power chauvinism, but we absolutely will not commit errors of great power chauvinism ourselves. I can tell you, when Cambodia’s Prince Sihanouk visited China [in December 1960] we asked him bluntly: do you feel China exhibits great power chauvinism? He said: I feel you don’t exhibit great power chauvinism, interacting with you is like being alongside a brother. You are very sincere and friendly. You speak honest words; when you agree you agree, and when you don’t agree you don’t. You treat people with equality.
Raza: This surely is an outstanding quality all people should possess; making friends should be about befriending these kinds of people.
Liu: After hearing Prince Sihanouk’s response, I again asked him: does your heart have any misgivings about saying such things? He said everything he said was sincere, because in every other country he has been to, he feels other people look down upon Cambodia and look down upon small countries. China, however, consistently respects small countries. I expressed agreement with his opinion, because we have consistently advocated that countries have nothing to do with size, they should all mutually respect one another, promote equality and mutual benefit, and live on friendly terms.
Raza: Sihanouk spoke frankly, that is very good. I, too, am a frank person, what’s in my heart is what is spoken; in China it is like this, and in speaking with my government I am also not afraid to speak what is in my heart. I believe frank people are, ultimately, understood well by others.
Liu: Yes. In the past, we only felt imperialist countries, like the US and Britain, possessed great power chauvinism; now, we find that India too has great power chauvinism.
Vice Minister Geng Biao: India’s great power chauvinism is also very severe.
Liu: India’s great power chauvinism is relatively strong. India, of course, is a big country; China is also a big country. But India has adopted an attitude of great power chauvinism toward China, and believes erroneously that China is easily bullied.
Raza: Even though Indo-Pakistani relations are poor, I don’t wish to speak poorly of India. But I am a little surprised—how did China discover so late that India possessed great power chauvinism? For Pakistan, not long after independence, we discovered India possessed fierce great power chauvinism. Nehru is very cunning; he has betrayed the trust of a great many people. But the number of people that see through his false front already increases daily. Yesterday, I heard a Ceylonese Member of Parliament say that India is scheming to swallow up all of the countries in its vicinity, annexing Ceylon, Burma, Pakistan, etc. Currently, India already has indigestion, if it continues to swallow down territory, one day it might burst to death. I believe that a country is great not by throwing its weight around, but by being modest and helping the weak and small. India’s tragedy lies in its mistaken belief that throwing one’s weight around and bullying others is what it means to be “great.” Honestly speaking, at the outset of independence, we already knew India’s all-encompassing, great power chauvinist ambitions.
Liu: On this point, you are more advanced than us. (Raza: We just realized it a bit earlier.) I remember, when our army peacefully liberated Tibet in 1950, India sent us a diplomatic note saying China should not advance militarily into Tibet. We replied by explaining that liberating Tibet is China’s own matter, and foreign countries have no right to interfere; after that, they did not speak again.
Raza: If I might ask you to recall an event: I remember that in 1950, Indian Ambassador [Kavalam Madhava] Panikkar had given the Chinese government a diplomatic note saying that if you continue advancing into Tibet, India will not support China at the United Nations; Premier and Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai sent a note in reply indicating that if India were to not support China having a seat at the United Nations for this reason, China would not need its support. I remember that, at the time, both sides issued some statements.
Liu: After we sent our note in reply, India did not speak again. Afterward, it spoke of Sino-Indian friendship, and spoke this way for several years; we also did not get a sense of India’s great power chauvinism. (Raza: At that time, India was singing: “India and China are brothers.”) But in 1959, India stirred up armed rebellion at its border with China’s Tibet. They regarded Tibet as part of India’s sphere of influence, or even as Indian territory, and instigated Tibetan rebellion. This is obviously something the Chinese people are unable to tolerate. After we suppressed the Tibetan rebellion the Indian government was unwilling to acknowledge this and provoked the border dispute, continuously creating a tense situation there. Before long, the King of Nepal requested that we help to construct a highway from Tibet to Kathmandu, and the Indian government again interfered.
Raza: They consider Nepal to be in India’s sphere of influence and always interfere in Nepal’s domestic affairs.
Liu: They suggest that we should not help Nepal build the highway—how can they do this? Nepal requested that we help build the road and we agreed, India has no right to interfere. So, the government of the Kingdom of Nepal and us do not pay them any attention. Recently, we have agreed to negotiate with you on the issue of demarcating our border and the Indian government has again expressed its opposition. They say Sino-Pakistani negotiations implicate the issue of Kashmir. We say, and our attitude is very explicit, that China and Pakistan will be undertaking negotiations to demarcate the boundary where China’s Xinjiang and the defense area controlled by Pakistan, border on one another; this will not involve the issue of Kashmir’s jurisdiction. China and Pakistan will, through bilateral negotiations, tend to the location of the above-mentioned boundary and strive to obtain a lasting understanding, as well as sign a temporary agreement. This is for the sake of safeguarding a stable border and good neighborly relations. After Pakistan and India resolve the problem between them regarding the jurisdiction of Kashmir, the sovereign authorities of that region can again negotiate with China, in order to sign a border treaty to replace the temporary agreement. China and Pakistan have already agreed on this point. At the same time, we have already considered India on this issue, and we have already considered the fact that the issue of Kashmir’s jurisdiction has not yet been resolved. We are not intervening in Pakistan and India’s dispute over Kashmir; this has consistently been our position. There is no reason whatsoever for India to oppose Sino-Pakistani negotiations.
Raza: I completely understand what you are saying.
Liu: These examples make clear that India always wants to interfere with the affairs of other countries.
Geng Biao: The Indian government has also said that from the west, where China, Afghanistan, and India meet together, to the east, where China, Burma and India border one another, all of this is the Sino-Indian border. According to this logic, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim all do not exist. This is typical great power chauvinism.
Liu: This is the kind of language the Indian government uses in its diplomatic correspondence.
Raza: Yes, I have come across this before. I still remember, two years ago, [V. K. Krishna] Menon said, from Burma and Sikkim to the Persian Gulf region, along with regions in which Indian people have already settled, there will be a day when these will all again become the inseparable territory of India. According to this logic, Pakistan does not exist. India’s chauvinism is undisguised.
Liu: India will, in the end, certainly fail. Executing this kind of policy, they will only end up isolating themselves. Our policy is to live on friendly terms with all countries; we insist on advocating that countries, regardless of whether they are big or small, strong or weak, should not interfere with each other’s internal affairs or violate each other’s laws, and should respect each other, ensure equality and mutual benefit, and peacefully coexist. Regardless of whether other big countries like it or not, we will adhere to these principles.
Raza: I understand all that you are saying, Chairman Liu. I lived in China for three years, and I very much admire your country; I understand well that China adheres to its principles.
Liu: There are also people that are concerned. They say, our generation of Chinese people will not have great power chauvinism, but they are worried that the next generation will. I have told these foreign friends that we pay great attention to education on this matter. Since China has achieved independence, we have been on guard against two things: one is to not let large countries again bully and oppress us, the other is that our country absolutely must not bully and oppress other countries. I have been opposed to great power chauvinism my entire life, since I was small I have opposed the Western powers bullying us. So, we absolutely could not take their old path. We will continue to strengthen the next generation’s resistance to great power chauvinism; if, in the future, you find they have become chauvinist, however, you should oppose them; when you do so, you can tell I told you to do so, that it was I who suggested you oppose them. Committing great power chauvinism and bullying other countries—how could we not be opposed to this?
Raza: Chairman Liu, your opinion is quite correct.
Liu: Now, there are also people who say, all of the friends China makes are small, and its relations with large countries are all bad.
Raza: Building strong friendships with small countries, that is truly an expression of greatness.
Liu: We say befriending small countries is a good thing, becoming friends with large countries is also a good thing. It has nothing to do with the size of the country, we are all willing to accord with the principles I stated before in developing friendly relations. We will adhere to this policy. We treat small countries with equality, we treat big countries with equality, free from bias; other big countries do not treat us with equality, that is their shortcoming.
Raza: China’s policy is very correct.
Liu: This is your second time to China, you have many old friends here; I believe you working here will offer a number of conveniences. Later, if in promoting Sino-Pakistani bilateral relations you have need for my assistance, I would be happy to help.
Raza: Thank you, Chairman Liu, for your kind hospitality and extremely amicable reception.
Liu Shaoqi and N.A.M. Raza discuss the Sino-Indian border dispute, and criticize India for having "great power chauvinism."
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