Some countries do not identify with China’s development. The governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank said in the Financial Times, “China takes away our raw materials, and in return we receive manufactured goods. This is colonialism.” The economic impact also includes expansion of China’s monetary economy, China’s participation in the making of international institutions, its values and its developmental path.
Speaking of evolving bilateral relationships, President Xi puts forward the notion of non-conflict, non-confrontation, but the US has its own idea of what it is. An American scholar, for instance, has an interesting perception of the new international relationships: he believes that the US should deal with its China relations through multiple channels. The first channel is a red light, warning China not to attempt to change the status quo by the use of force. This is a red line that must not be crossed. The second channel is a yellow light, meaning the US’s permission for China increasing its regional influence. The third channel is a green light, meaning the US recognizing China’s efforts to secure energy resources worldwide.
Under such circumstances, we need to understand three points. The first point is the important of peace over war. However, there will be marginal conflicts from time to time. This sets the background of the big picture. The second point is interdependency. China has a high dependence on the external world. We need a peaceful environment to ensure our development. This is important. The third point is China is rapidly rising in the international system, and the rise is still continuing. It is expected that in the next 8 to 10 years, China will achieve parity with the US in GDP terms. Under these three points, China’s foreign relations will focus on the making of international institution. The revival of the Chinese nation, I believe, means the realization of the China dream, which means the country is strong, the people are prosperous, and unification is accomplished. China needs to have a greater share in the making of international institutions. On another note, it’s important to advance the internationalization of the RMB. This is not only for our own interest, but also for a better monetary and financial environment for the world by reining in the hegemony of the US dollar. Finally we need to increase our appeal in terms of values and moral.
Whither Sino-US Relations
In discussing Sino-US relations, the “Thucydides trap” is most often mentioned. It refers to the fact that the rise of Athens caused fear in Sparta, which caused the war between them. When one side is materially and militarily powerful, the other side is fearful and they are bound to have issues.
Will Sino-US relations have the same result? Many people are discussing the question. Early this year the Academy of Social Sciences had an internal seminar to discuss the question. American experts were invited to attend. The head of the American delegation is the new chairman of the Committee on National Interest. He said: “Many people are making comparison between today’s world and the world of 100 years ago. In 1914, prior to the outbreak of World War I, Germany and the UK were major rivals. People are comparing the Sino-American relationship to the UK-Germany relationship 100 years ago. However, 100 years ago, seminars like this aimed to strengthen bilateral understanding. Promoting mutual trust was very rare. The seminar we are having just shows that the world today is different from 100 years ago.”
Let me draw your attention to another scholar’s point of view. David Lampton believes that the future world is very likely dependent on the result of gamble between China and the U.S. The U.S. bets that a risen China will not challenge its interest, but will help it shoulder part of the international responsibilities. China bets that during its rise, the US will not interrupt its rise by the use of non-peaceful means. Of course there are always winners and losers in gambles, and there are a lot of concerns involved. The future depends on the efforts and wisdom of the politicians and the peoples of both countries.
About the author: Zhang Yuyan, director of the Institute of World Politics and Economics at China Academy of Social Sciences. Zhang is also a member of Foreign Policy Consultancy Committee with China’s Foreign Ministry. He served as Consul at the Chinese Consulate General in New York in 1997.
This article is translated from Chinese. The original article is here: