China has made a great start in its efforts to construct solid foundations, on both global and regional levels. China’s “Silk Road Fund” and its Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank represent the paradigm shift that China is bringing to both global economic growth and global governance. It is a significant contribution to the international community at large.
However, there are those on the outer rim of these policies, especially the United States, that interpret Beijing’s moves as China seeking to challenge the existing world order. It must be said that hearing this kind of talk is extremely regrettable.
At the G20 summit in Brisbane, President Xi Jinping emphasized that China was no different from any of the other representatives present at the conference. Just like the other nations, China wants to play its part in strengthening the global network and helping combat any slowdown in the global economic system. China’s response to these challenges has drawn everyone’s attention toward foreign economic strategies and their relationships within the global economic order. China advocated reform of the International Monetary Fund and the strengthening of the World Trade Organization to expand the global free trade agreement system. China also supported the United Nations in its framework for climate change, as well as the World Bank in coordinating a global foundation for infrastructure investment. China also put its “Silk Road initiative” and the AIIB onto the global strategies table.
We can also say that throughout the G20 summit, China sent out a strong message. China is definitely not cooking up its own plans to make itself the center of some new world economic order. The AIIB is not a Chinese-owned entity, nor is it a multilateral development bank held by China. This point was made exceptionally clear by President Xi.
In Brisbane, I personally witnessed Australia nominate China as the host for the 2016 G20 summit, and other countries — excluding Japan — all agreed to the nomination. The G20 represented a kind of global compromise, a large-scale coordination, and an example of great cooperation. Despite the challenges facing them, in the end, everyone made the Brisbane G20 summit “the most important stage for international economic cooperation.”
For a China that is growing ever more dependent on its relations with the outside world, it is essential to strengthen the existing global framework and global system that exist today. Any incremental reform to the existing global framework that China proposes, or acts that it undertakes to strengthen that framework, are all in line with China’s long-term benefit.
I believe that insofar as China and the world order are concerned, we can consider the following three points：
The first is “demolition.” Clearly, there is no way that China has the potential to topple the existing world order. There do remain those people who fundamentally don’t understand China’s situation, and who continue to insist that China is out to change the world and “revolutionize” the status quo. However, China cannot accomplish anything of the sort in the foreseeable future, and this is because China itself is also a part of that existing word order.
The second point is “repair.” This means to reform and perfect the existing international regime. A number of existing international organizations just aren’t keeping up with the times, even to the point that they are beginning to look like relics by modern standards. These organizations cannot adapt to the present needs of global governance, and they must undergo meaningful transformation to make themselves relevant – an example of this would be reforms to the IMF. Currently, all countries that are stakeholders in the IMF – including China – need to begin implementing various reforms to the IMF ‘s international agreements. However, some politicians in the United States – out of their own self-interest – are unwilling to permit even minor amendments to IMF policies.
The third point is “building.” This refers to the need to renovate the old framework because it has served its purpose, and it now needs to be made anew. We can see the beginnings of this already, as across the globe, a multitude of proposals, plans and movements for new institutions of global governance are emerging. China’s moves to join the BRICS cooperative, as well as its offerings in the “Silk Road” and the AIIB, are helping to provide the basis for this new international system. The regrettable thing is that the United States – from its own narrow-minded sense of self-protection – refuses to praise China for its contribution to the changing world, but, as usual, begins spouting off exaggerations and criticisms over how China is challenging the world order. Such are the words of a wolf living downstream of a river awash with the scent of sheep.
The author is a college professor of International Relations at China People’s University.
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