US should appreciate China's peaceful path
China Daily Updated: 2006-01-26 06:38
Editor's Note: At a seminar sponsored by China Daily last week, leading international studies researchers reflected on China's peaceful development. The following is one viewpoint:
By Yuan Peng
The main theme of China-United States relations is no longer ideology, human rights, Taiwan or trade, but the fast growth of China and how the US should respond.
In what form China chooses to grow and how the US assesses the direction in which China is heading will become the most important factors affecting the development of bilateral ties.
China has already answered this focal question resolutely and clearly. From the moment China's strategic analysts, such as Zheng Bijian, concluded that China should take the road of "peaceful development" to the Chinese Government formally publishing "The White Paper on Peaceful Development of China," consensus has been reached.
The gist of the shared view is seeking a peaceful international environment for China's development and protecting world peace through her growth. This consensus has been gradually reflected in a series of policies and practices in foreign diplomacy in recent years.
In concept or philosophy, the Chinese Government has also formulated new thoughts about global affairs centred on "a harmonious world," a new definition of security built around mutual trust, mutual benefit and co-operation, a new foreign relations guideline based on development, peace and co-operation, a new set of policies concerning China's periphery centred on maintaining peace and friendship with our neighbours and helping them prosper, and a new pattern of broad international relations focused on partnerships.
In practice, China has played an active role in many international organizations, in sharing such humanitarian duties as peacekeeping and providing emergency aid overseas, in attempting to resolve regional conflicts such as the nuclear crises on the Korean Peninsula and in Iran, in co-operation on anti-terrorism and anti-proliferation to enhance global security.
China has contributed a great deal towards regional and global economic growth through its own fast development. It is precisely for this reason that the international community now thinks China's "soft power" is growing quickly, hence the mounting prominence of "China opportunity" as opposed to "China threat" theories.
For China, following the path of peaceful development is the right choice fitting in with the characteristics of the times as well as China's historical and cultural traditions. In fact, it is the soul of Deng Xiaoping's theory about socialist development with Chinese characteristics.
Looking at it from a broader angle, one can also find references in Mao Zedong's vision of the development of a new China. Back in the mid-1950s, Mao concluded: "China should become stronger but always amicable to other countries. And China should be modest, not only now but be so 40 or 50 years later and forever."
This shows it was neither a new slogan nor just a propaganda gimmick when China chose to take the path of peaceful development. It has been following the same guideline all along. It is a sustainable endeavour of China to go for peaceful development.
The future development of China-US relations will depend not only on whether China chooses to take the path of peaceful development but also on whether the United States can make an objective and precise strategic assessment of China's peaceful development and if it can honestly and sincerely accept a peacefully-developing China that seeks to be part of the global system as a peacemaker.
It should be safe to assume the American public as well as the government are seriously thinking about this historic question and have arrived at an initial answer. As shown by US Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick's speech focused on China at a National Committee on US-China Relations gathering in New York City on September 21 last year, and a number of more recent speeches by President Bush and top officials such as Secretary of State Rice, the United States has assumed a new strategic posture towards China that includes acceptance rather than all-round containment, guidance instead of outright rejection and replacing deliberate confrontation with co-operation.
But America's China strategy still contains some areas of uncertainty: 1) The relatively rational and positive nature of the China strategy presented by Zoellick and others has not become a nationwide consensus and whether it will be a long-term strategy remains unclear.
2) The US acceptance of China's peaceful development comes with a series of conditions. With this "conditional acceptance" Washington is ready to label China "irresponsible" whenever it deems the latter's development not conducive to its interests or not in the way it wants. This is not fair to China at all.
3) Some harmful factors are growing in US politics that threaten to derail the development of China-US relations. For instance, the trade sector is turning from a supportive force behind bilateral ties to a disruptive one; the anti-China faction is gaining strength in the US Congress.
4) The United States has been slow in translating the above-said positive thinking about China's peaceful development into action. Instead, it has been gearing up its military alliance with Japan, enhancing its strategic partnership with India and upgrading the real status of its "unofficial" ties with Taiwan. All these undertakings smell of China containment one way or another.
As such, the future development of China-US relations will depend mainly on the orientation of America's China strategy. China has, in theory and action as well as from the perspectives of history and actuality, shown its sincerity and determination in pursuing peaceful development. Now it all depends on whether the United States will understand correctly the strategic intent China has expressed and formulate a relatively long-term, stable and proactive China strategy accordingly.
The author is vice-director of the Institute of American Studies under China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
(China Daily 01/26/2006 page4)
Edited to Add:
While the Chinese Author of the above Article stipulates that China's Rise will be peaceful and even quotes Mao Zedong to back it up.
Let's examine Communist China's History of Aggression.
1949:Battle of Kuningtou over Quemoy
1949-1951: Invasion and illegal annexation of Tibet
1950-1953: Korean War
1954-1955 Taiwan Strait Crisis
1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis
1962: Sino-Indian War
1969 Sino-Soviet Border Conflict
1979: Sino-Vietnamese War
1995-1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis
Spratley Islands Disputes
2005 PRC passes Anti Secession Law on Taiwan
Thomas Barnett has a lot to say about this. It appears to me that they want our friendship, because it is more profitable.