Strive for community with a shared future

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/21 21:28:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Editor's Note:

China watchers the world over are focusing on how Chinese diplomacy will play out, as it enters a "new era." That is the notion given to the historical construct that General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Xi Jinping presented at the 19th National Congress of the CPC in October, which offers a profound understanding of China's development over the next few decades. How will China build a community with a shared future for humanity? What role will China take in future global governance? The Global Times asked four experts for their opinions and insights on these key questions.

A greater role in global governance

Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies, Renmin University of China

Since the beginning of China's reform and opening-up in 1978, China has followed a path of peaceful development which will continue after the 19th CPC National Congress.

We are now striving to make greater contributions to the whole world. At the congress, Xi brought up a higher goal, which is working to build a community with a shared future for humanity. We have made more efforts and taken more responsibility in international affairs, and we will play a more significant role in global governance in the future.

As China's comprehensive national strength improves, some countries have started to be wary of China while many others have greater expectations of China.

For the West, it means more competition coming from China, but for the rest of the world, it means another power they can rely on. In Africa and Latin America, investment from China has grown rapidly. Through the Belt and Road initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, we have given global economic development an enormous boost. According to the IMF, China contributed 39 percent of global growth last year.

China has also made great contributions to world peace. It has gone to great lengths to push for regional peace and contributed to keeping peace in the Korean Peninsula, the East China Sea and the South China Sea. China also takes its responsibility in UN peacekeeping very seriously. Of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China sends the largest number of troops on peacekeeping missions and ranks second in its financial contributions.

As China follows a path of peaceful development, the world benefits. If a major power wants to create conflicts, it will be a challenge to the world. But China promises that it is eager for peace, which will help guarantee peace and stability of the world.

As some countries talk about the potential threat brought by China's rise, we should tell our stories and history properly to increase their understanding of China. The Western way of thinking dictates that when a country gets stronger, it will definitely seek hegemony. Some Western countries judge China with their own experience, so they are naturally alert to China's rise. To clear these misunderstandings, we need to tell our own stories honestly to dissolve their concerns about China's rise.

Not 'China Model,' it's China's experience

Shi Yinhong, director of the Center for American Studies, Renmin University of China

The concept of "China model" has been frequently discussed among Western media, with quite a few worrying that China intends to export its development model to the world. While "China model" sounds like a set of flawless policies, the truth is that we are still on the path of reforms. I prefer the term "China's great experience" over "China model."

Since reform and opening-up, China has gained a wealth of experience in social and economic development, which has yielded quite a success. Some elements of China's success story can be applied to other countries, especially developing nations, based on their own national conditions.

Even so, we have never suggested that our experiences are flawless. Beijing has realized that problems exist in some of its previous development practices, which later became the targets of the nation's current reforms. That's why we are holding on the reform and deepening it.

China has never exported those experiences to other countries, let alone the China model. Over the years, chauvinism has emerged among a handful of Chinese people, media and scholars, who have exaggerated the general applicability of Chinese practices, leaving an impression that Beijing is looking to exports its model. Combine this with the prejudice from some foreign media, public opinion, governments and scholars on China, such an impression has been reinforced.

Although China is willing to share its experiences with other countries in years to come, it should only do so on the premise of respecting others, instead of proactively advertising Chinese methods. Once other nations need help, Beijing will not hesitate to lend a hand as long as it does not harm our national interests. But how will these countries utilize these shared experiences is up to them. After all, development can be realized in more than one way and others need to find their own model of development.

Connectivity key to international relations

Hu Angang, director of the Center for China Studies, Tsinghua University

With China becoming the largest trading economy in 2013, it is capable and willing to help the global economy recover. This year, import-export trade volume in China is expected to be $4.26 trillion. The exports to countries along the Belt and Road route from January to November grew by 16.2 percent over last year. It reveals China's development promotes the development of the world.

Unlike some regional cooperation mechanisms, which are only open to certain countries, the Belt and Road initiative is an international platform that welcomes the participation of not only the surrounding countries but also the whole world. More than 60 countries and organizations have supported or participated in the initiative. It is a global cooperation platform that brings sharing and winning.

As some countries still have doubts about the nature of the initiative, we should do something to clear those doubts. The foundation of the initiative is "connectivity," such as policy connectivity. For instance, in Asia, apart from specific countries like India and Japan, almost every nation along the route has agreed to take part in the initiative. Even so, China still holds the door open for India and Japan, and Japan now seems to be willing to participate.

The main method to reduce doubts is people-to-people connectivity, but this still has a long way to go. In the 51 countries along the route, there are 135 Confucius Institutes which teach Chinese language and culture. Unlike Western cultural hegemony, Chinese culture is not exclusive. We can tell our history and spread our culture to make people better understand China and clear their doubts.

Communication fuels global partnerships

Zhao Suisheng, professor with Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

A community with a shared future for humanity is a concept. It means China, like all other major powers, no longer just participates in international affairs but is now offering its concept of global governance. The concept is based on humanity's pursuit of peace, happiness and stability, and goes beyond power politics and international relationships which are based on narrow national interests. It offers a vision of a common future shared by countries with different cultural backgrounds or political institutions. The countries should develop together and get along with each other peacefully. But the concept is difficult to achieve. From this perspective, China is working on this concept as it tries to reach the goal.

If China can lead other countries to strive for the goal, the foundation for peace and development of the world will be more stable. And many conflicts between nations can be solved when they think of the common interests shared by humanity.

I hope China can implement the concept and lead others to develop new relationships between major powers and new state-to-state relations. China is expected to use its economic and political influence to promote the concept on a global scale.

In the current international order dominated by the US, bilateral or multilateral alliances are one of the important characteristics of international relationships. If countries can develop state-to-state relationship and become partners by communication rather than confronting others by making alliances, the world will be more peaceful and stable in the 21st century.

For decades, China has developed state-to-state relations with communication and partnership rather than confrontation and alliances. For instance, China and Russia are strategic partners who pursue many common interests, especially in dealing with relations with other major powers. However, they also have differences, and under such circumstances China and Russia have a typical state-to-state partnership, but it is not an alliance.

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