New challenges for new leaders

By Robert Lawrence Kuhn
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, March 19, 2013
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International affairs

Sovereignty and relations with neighbors. How can China balance its claims of sovereignty - such as in the South China Sea, which are sacrosanct in China but disputed outside of China - with complex global interrelationships?

US-China relations. What steps can each side take to assure the other side that its vital interests are protected, thus encouraging positive relations. (Prototype: Cooperation at the UN on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.)

Bilateral relations. How does China balance its diverse relations with various countries? Consider Russia, Europe, Japan, India, the two Koreas, Vietnam, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, etc.

Global responsibilities. How can China take on greater global duties even while it faces serious domestic problems? How to assure foreigners that China plays by the rules of international norms? How to deal with isolated states, like the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Iran? How to support international peace and prosperity?

China's emergence

Civilization and culture. How can China's culture participate fully in the world's marketplace of ideas and values?

Science and technology. How can China's science and technology contribute to world civilization as well as drive domestic transformation? How to facilitate greater creativity and innovation?

Corporate international expansion. How can Chinese companies going abroad enhance China's engagement with the world? How to reduce foreign fears of China's growing economic power?

Military modernization. What are the implications of China's expanding military capabilities? How to reassure nations that are growing wary of China's military might?

Global voice. How can China help set the world's agenda, along with the US and other powers, especially in terms of politics and economics? How can China's international media (CCTV, Xinhua, China Daily) have global impact?

I know that China's core leadership - President Xi and Premier Li - appreciate these challenges. With their administration set for a decade, continuity of policy is assured.

For Xi, a sober realization of reality is not a recent revelation. In 2006, I met then Zhejiang Party Secretary Xi, who stressed that pride in China's recent achievements should not engender complacency: "Compared with our long history, our speed of development is not so impressive. We need to assess ourselves objectively," he stressed. "But no matter what, China's development is driven by patriotism and pride."

The author is an international corporate strategist advising multinationals on doing business in China. He is the author of How China's Leaders Think, featuring China's new leaders.


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