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Wang Wen: China on the road while the world at the crossroads

2017-11-21

By Wang Wen    Source: RDCY    Published: 2017-11-21


After the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev and U.S. President Trump visited China, and Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang made trips abroad successively. The "two in and two out" in diplomacy unfolded China`s confidence of being "on the road".


In contrast, the world, which is now at a time of undergoing major developments, transformation and adjustment, shows the characteristics of being "at the crossroad" where peaceful situation is unstable and development trend cannot be sustained. "China is on the road while the world is at the crossroad" will become a stark contrast over the prospect of the China and foreign countries after the 19th CPC National Congress.



China is becoming the birthplace of global new ideas, the engine of new driving forces and the inventor of new visions


At the recent APEC Summit in Da Nang, Xi Jinping`s statement in his keynote speech, such as the four "new changes" the world facing in the current era, the four "new visions" for the future prosperity and development of the Asia-Pacific region, and the five "new journeys" to be opened after the 19th CPC National Congress, conveyed China`s confidence and shared the development experience to the world once again. The world is at a time of major developments, transformation, adjustment, and suffering great instability, imbalance and restlessness. Against the background of widespread global perplexity in future development, China is becoming the birthplace of global new ideas, the engine of new driving forces, and the inventor of new visions.


First of all, the Chinese thinking is increasingly becoming the thinking of the world. China leads the era in judging the times, in its visions for the future, and the theories and methods for realizing its visions. This is not something that can be found on Western textbooks. It surpasses traditional social science theories based on western practices, which have never been thought of by world`s scholars.


The report of 19th CPC National Congress provides detailed description for the Chinese road, the challenges and difficulties, and it solution, as well as the plans for the future reform. Meeting these opportunities and challenges faced with in the future, China has made more adequate preparation from the assessment to the prevention. In addition,  China`s expectations and goals for the future development are also very determined, reflecting the state of being "on the road".


After nearly forty years of reform and opening up, as well as a summary and reflection on the lessons over the past three decades, China has found a road of socialism with Chinese characteristics. After the 19th National Congress, President Xi`s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is included in the communist party constitution, and China`s development thinking and development path attract the attention from the world.


Second, China`s economic growth rate over the past 10 years has been twice the global average rate and become the largest contributor to world economic growth. In his keynote speech at the summit of APEC Business Leaders, Xi Jinping noted that in the past four years, China`s economy had an average growth rate of 7.2% and its average contribution to world economic growth exceeded 30%, becoming the top engine for the global growth.


Xi Jinping stressed that "China is committed to peaceful development and will remain an anchor for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond." "China will, guided by the principle of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests, actively develop global partnerships, expand the convergence of interests with other countries, and work to foster a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation." These commitments will bring China more and more respect from the world. The future development of the world depends on China, and China has become the engine of new driving forces.


Thirdly, the world is full of confusion for the future development of mankind. In the past, Western ideological inventors proposed such concepts as the League of Nations and the United Nations, but they are now inevitably plunged into great difficulties. China put forward the concept of "A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind", which goes beyond the traditional boundaries of Western ideology in terms of country, race, history and religion and creates a new vision for human development in the future. This vision is implemented through the support of specific programs such as the "Belt and Road Initiative". initiating the "Belt and Road" international cooperation shows that China has enough confidence of being "on the road." China is willing to share the concept of development and the world is willing to listen, so that China is able to become the inventor of new visions.


China and the US has realized the most strategic settlement since the end of the Cold War


Trump holds different attitudes toward the leaders of China, Japan and the ROK during his trip to Asia. He ridiculed Abe in Japan and blow Moon Jae-in off in South Korea. While in China, he shows respect and gratitude during the 40-hour visit. To some extent, this also shows that the US, an economic unit that has taken world number one status over more than 100 years, respects China`s determination on its developing road.


At the Xi-Trump meeting in Beijing, President Xi shared China`s governing thoughts with President Trump, making a reference for the future development of the United States. This event is a manifestation that " China is on the road and the US is at the crossroads", showing that China has confidence on the current exchanges and games with the US.


At the Xi-Trump meeting, US focused on the reversing of the trade deficit and did not highlight its role in Asia. It shows that the two countries have reached reconciliation on the Asia-Pacific interests and the strategic competition since the end of the Cold War, which provide the strategic basis and re-assurance at the heads-level for the two countries` peaceful coexistence in the Asia-Pacific region in the next few years.



Even the Bush and the Obama administration did not pledged that there will be no conflict in Asia at the presidential level, while the Xi-Trump meeting has reached a goal at Heads-level promises on achieving coexistence and mutual respect as well as win-win cooperation between China and the US in Asia region. Trump no longer makes statement of "returning to Asia" but focuses on doing business with China. This will enable Asia, especially Southeast Asia, to maintain its stability in the next two to three years.


The most uncertain factor is still the North Korean nuclear issue. However, as the statements made by the heads of the China and US at the press conference that China and US cooperation attitude on this issue is sincere. Such a rare consensus and strategic understanding in history reached by the two countries will greatly facilitate the future development of East Asia.


As for the fashion concept of "Indo-Pacific Strategy", it is put forward by Trump aiming to make a strong distinction with Obama. But in fact the strategy is not yet a practicable plan. The US has not formed its own strategy in the Asia-Pacific region and is also "at the crossroads", and the statement of the "Indo-Pacific Strategy" acts with undue haste without academic demonstration, theoretical support from the think tanks, and practical road map.


Energy is the most important issue for China and the US. Of the more than $250 billion of trade agreements signed between two countries, the energy sector alone has exceeded 130 billion dollars. The US has become China`s energy importer. This not only confirms the certainty of China becoming the world`s largest energy consumer market in the future, but also reflects the increasingly interdependent relations between two countries. At least in the field of energy, the vision of a win-win outcome is deserving to be expected.


The bilateral military relations are the most sensitive part between the two countries. As the relations between the two countries have become better, the bilateral military relations benefited the most. Conversely, if the bilateral relations have become worse,  the military relations were the first to be affected.


After the Xi-Trump meeting, the two sides agreed to continue to make full use of the four high-level dialogue mechanisms on diplomatic security, comprehensive economic, social and people to people exchanges, law enforcement and cybersecurity. They also agreed to strengthen the exchanges and cooperation between the two armies at all levels, boost cooperation in law enforcement and cybersecurity, Featuring the characteristics of "de-militarization" and "de-ideologicalization" between China and US relations.


Why is the world at the crossroads


The world is at the crossroads, which is the author`s experience acquired by visiting many countries of the world in recent years. Since President Trump took office in US, a number of policies are under adjustment, so that the US is staying at the crossroads. Besides US, many other countries in the world have the characteristics of "at the crossroads".


With Europe still reeling from Brexit, independence referendum in Catalonia, younger leaders of the countries such as France and Austria, as well as terrorist attacks and refugees crisis, many Europeans feel that they are standing "at a crossroads"and full of confusion for the future.


The same is true in Japan, where the 30-year "Heisei recession" is just over, but there are signs shown that a possible fourth decade recession is on the road. Abe reelected as Japanese PM, but Abe Economics faces abortion and failure. Japan`s leadership in Asia has almost collapsed, and Japan`s bilateral and multilateral relations with China, South Korea and the US also experience enormous tests, leaving Japan to stand "at the crossroads" as well.


So is the South Korea. From Park Geun-hye`s scandal to how to cope with the power shift between the US and China after Moon Jae-in took office, as well as how to handle the "THAAD" properly and deal with the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, those are all very tricky issues.


As many countries in the world are confused for the development path and domestic governance, China stands firmly on its unique path that has been conformed through numerous discussions, corrections and explorations, and is full of expectation and confidence for the future. China is on the road while the world is at the crossroads. Observing these two situations, China`s prospects are more worth to be expected.


The author is executive dean and professor at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China (RDCY).The Chinese version of this article was published at BBC Chinese.

Key Words: China   World   Wang Wen  

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