Monday, July 15, 2013

China's rise needs readjusted worldviews

China's rise needs readjusted worldviews Editorial Global Times 9/7/13
Editor's Note:

The structure of international relations is changing. What impact does this have on major-power relations? How does the world view China's national rejuvenation? And what policy adjustments should China carry out against such a backdrop
? Experts and scholars shared their viewpoints at the recent World Peace Forum 2013, jointly organized by Tsinghua University and Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs in Beijing.
Jorge Enrique Taiana, former minister of foreign affairs, international trade and worship, Argentina

History shows that a world in the process of changing balance of power is not always a world of peace and stability. That's why it's so important to reach consensus on how we can work together to produce security and peace. 

Only a multipolar world can be a strong support for a multilateral institution. And a multilateral institution can represent the international community only when it is based on international law. 

We should have more democracy, transparency in international institutions, making them really the solvers of problems instead of creators. 

To reach this goal, we need to establish a peaceful, stable, cooperative and friendly international environment. In this process, China has an important role to play.
Han Baojiang, director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies at the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC, China.
In a cover story published by The Economist in May, the editor clothed Chinese President Xi Jinping in an imperial Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) gown. This reflects the Western view that for China to achieve national rejuvenation, we have to repeat the mentality of "Prosperous Era of Kangxi (1661-1722) and Qianlong (1735-96)."

This is a misunderstanding. Chinese people do not have an imperial mentality. Instead, we have an open attitude toward the outside world and try to learn from it. 

The reason why Chinese people dare to dream now is that after more than 30 years' reform and opening-up, through insisting on the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, many achievements have already been made. This makes us more confident.

That is the real change of Chinese mentality. 

To eliminate misunderstanding and create conditions to fulfill the Chinese dream, diplomatic transition is very important.

Previously, we preferred to develop relations with countries from the Third World, and kept a wary eye on the West. But currently, we have to forget the previous zero-sum and Cold War mentality and try to blend into the international community.

The priority for China is still developing its economy and getting 128 million Chinese people out of poverty. We have to make use of both domestic and international markets to establish a stable environment for development.
Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations

US-China tensions are growing, and most significantly, they are changing in character. 

No longer are China and the US divided primarily by differences, but increasingly they will fight over their similarities, in particular the common pretensions to regional dominance in East Asia. 
Western policymakers are increasingly tended to change the way they deal with China's rise. They are moving away from the idea of integrating China into a Western order. Instead, they are putting more energy into building a world order that can function without China. 

What we see is a big change from the Cold War era. During that era, many analysts tried to buy the theory of convergence. The theory claimed that when society was industrialized, they would become much more alike, and afterward gradually share similar ways of looking at the world and this would decrease the tensions. 

But in the era of globalization and interdependence, it's often the opposite that happens. 

Differences can lead to complementarity, whereas convergence is often the source of tension and conflict. 

For example, because of the asymmetrical relationship between China and the US in the last 20 years, there were only a few frictions between them. China's former approaches to the world, which were completely opposite to the US', did not undermine the US interests in economy, politics and global affairs. 

But as China and the US start to rebalance their economies and redefine their roles in the world, they tend to have many overlaps in economic development and global order maintenance, and competitions and conflicts arise. 

Therefore, rather than trying to build global institutions that fit all countries, it is much better to build institutions for "semi-lateral countries," which are able to assemble similar countries for regional benefits instead of trying to realize the dream of one world.

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