"In 2005, China's diplomacy has taken it through trade disputes, intensifying claims of the "China threat," strained Sino-Japanese ties and the challenges posed by energy security," Dr. Jin Canrong, an expert on international studies from Renmin University of China, said in a December 12 China Youth Daily report.
Meanwhile, China has vigorously advocated peace, development and cooperation, which have become the three core principles of its diplomatic policy, Dr. Jin said. Trade disputes with the US and the EU demonstrate that China is growing increasingly aware of having to defend its rights.
The year also witnessed frequent overseas visits by China's heads of state, and dynamic multilateral diplomatic activities such as hosting the six-party talks on the Korean nuclear issue and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meetings.
As China's international influence continues to grow steadily, the world is paying close attention to its every move. "Many scholars now talk of the 'China threat' in a very serious way," Dr. Jin said.
The claim of the "China threat" has turned out to be a particularly "outstanding" challenge to China's diplomacy, he said, and will accompany every step of China's development. "We should first learn to get used to it, and then try to dispel other people's misgivings and establish relations based on mutual trust," Dr. Jin added.
Another major challenge has been Japan's "aggressive" diplomatic policy this year, especially revolving around the reform of the UN Security Council, Dr. Jin said.
Under the rule of right-wing forces, Japan is becoming more conservative politically. In terms of its future strategic development, Dr. Jin predicted that the government will conduct a national political mobilization exercise to revise its laws, with the support of the media and through repeatedly provoking its neighbors.
At the same time, leaning on the strategic alliance with the US, Japan might engage in arms expansion, Dr. Jin said. And at the US' request and help, a more "powerful" Japan will then show a conciliatory attitude and try to maintain a power balance vis-à-vis its neighbors.
Globally speaking, this year has been characterized by three major developments, Dr. Jin said.
First, the tsunami that devastated the Indian Ocean region last December, and Hurricane Katrina that swept across the southern US this summer only reiterated the massive destructive power of nature.
Second, the London bombings in July, and the Jakarta bomb blast in September indicated that anti-terrorism has turned into protracted warfare. The US used to think that it was capable of wiping out terrorists on its own. However, because the Internet has helped to market and establish terrorism as an ideology, it can only be fought through international cooperation, Jin added.
Third, with regard to UN reform, developing countries want to have more say in the world body while developed countries wish to raise its work efficiency. The ongoing reform has therefore resulted in an important structural change in international relations, Jin said.
(China.org.cn by Shao Da, December 16, 2005)