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Peaceful Rise of China a Hot Topic

Since the term "China's peaceful rise" was first introduced at the 2003 annual session of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), it has become a hot topic drawing international attention.


China's Peaceful Rise and New Role of Asia Roundtable, jointly hosted by the China Reform Forum (CRF), the BFA and the Asia Society, was held Friday in Boao, a seaside resort in southernmost China's Hainan Province. The session offered experts from around the world an opportunity to discuss the topic in depth.


Since the late 1970s the nation has sought a peaceful international environment for self-development, said CRF Chairman Zheng Bijian.


In the first half of the 21st century, the country expects to face three fundamental challenges in the area of economic and social growth: the shortage of resources especially energy; deterioration of the ecosystem; and a series of issues stemming from economic and social imbalances, Zheng said.


These challenges have all contributed to a bottleneck in the nation's sustainable development. Zheng stated that China should blaze a new path of industrialization characterized by high-technology input, economic efficiency, low consumption of resources and low environmental pollution. It should continue to participate in economic globalization and build a harmonious society.


Appearing in the context of rapid economic growth, the strategic concept's gist is to make China's economy interdependent with its neighbors, rather than eclipsing them. "We will neither seek hegemony nor claim hegemony," he said.


An important result of China's peaceful rise, and a fundamental strategic choice for the country's modernization drive, is the emergence of a huge market with a population of 1.3 billion. "Therefore, what China's peaceful rise will mean to Asia and the world is opportunities rather than threat," he said.


China demonstrates today a new way to rise on the world stage, said Jerome Monod, chief political advisor to French President Jacques Chirac. It may materialize through active participation in economic globalization, competition with others in the world market and recognition of a world system that is mutually beneficial to all.


He said the European Union's rise has taken a route similar to China's, and the two today are highly economically complementary and share many common views. These include the importance of multilateral policies and a stronger role for the United Nations in regional and global conflict resolution and in the coordination of actions addressing global concerns.


At the same time, he mentioned in particular two obstacles that need to be overcome in China's development. First, China will be facing the challenge of a rapidly aging society, like Japan, South Korea and Europe, with the trend hitting full force in the 2020s. Second, China's quest for energy resources and its subsequent involvement in conflict-prone regions such as Central Asia and Iran may create tensions with power blocs like the United States and Japan.


China's peaceful rise must also entail a fundamental restructuring of Asia's geopolitical landscape, said Pei Minxin, senior associate and director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


Currently, Asia's geopolitical situation remains the most dynamic, complex and fluid in the world. Along with China's peaceful rise, regional multilateralism will logically lead to a new Asian community, which is to be based on equality, collective security and open trade, said Pei.


(China.org.cn by staff reporter Shao Da, April 22, 2005)


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