BEIJING — China has exerted more efforts in recent years to participate in world affairs and exercise its vision to improve global governance.
INSPIRATION FOR DISPUTE SETTLEMENT
Dr. Selcuk Colakoglu, Director of the Turkish Center for Asia Pacific Studies and professor of International Relations, said China’s foreign policy approach, which is based on peaceful development, is a source of inspiration to promote the settlement of disputes.
China under President Xi Jinping has successfully followed the guideline of peaceful and cooperative diplomacy and contributed to creating the concept of “a human community with shared destiny”, said Colakoglu.
“It can be clearly said that China is one of the leading countries with a positive agenda for international cooperation and globalization,” said Colakoglu.
“China has increasingly played a responsible leadership role in global governance since the global financial crisis in 2008,” the expert said.
China also identified inclusiveness as one of the G20 priorities during its Presidency in 2016. China had worked under the banners “inclusive growth”, “inclusive finance”, and “green finance” as the G20’s core agenda, said Colakoglu.
China has also been financing numerous infrastructure projects all around African LDCs mainly through the Exim Bank of China, and the newly established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is expected to contribute substantially to such investments in the future. China’s Belt and Road Initiative foresees the installment of a wide range of cooperative efforts, from infrastructure to developmental aid, elaborated Colakoglu.
Finally, China is playing a crucial role in the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement in the name of “green finance,” added Colakoglu.
Commenting on the Chinese proposal of a community of shared future for mankind, Robert Hormats, former US Secretary of State and Vice Chairman of Kissinger Associates, said he thinks President Xi is showing a lot of vision, especially concerning his environmental initiatives.
“I think one of the interesting things that’s worth doing is to take an idea like that, community of shared vision, and have a discussion among various people,” said Hormats.
“What is it going to achieve? What can we do to improve the outlook for humanity? I think it is an interesting idea. President Xi came up with the China Dream. He is trying to provide people with great opportunities, health care, education, advancement. By the same token, working together on the vision internationally would be very important. That is to help people to improve their lives, helping people to live longer, helping people to have a better life, better health, greater opportunities for their kids,” said Hormats.
INCREASINGLY GLOBAL ACTOR
Ozlem Zerrin Keyvan, advisor on Asia Pacific studies with the Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies, agreed that China is becoming an increasingly global actor.
The Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to establish a link to Europe from both land and sea, is developing rapidly, said Keyvan.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.
With the Belt and Road Initiative, China is trying to integrate developing countries into developed countries. With win-win cooperation as its basis, the Initiative is a platform in which all participating countries will see gains, Keyvan said.
With the growing strength of its soft power, China has became an international actor spurred by peaceful growth. It has adopted a constructive policy of not intervening in the internal affairs of other countries. By vetoing, abstaining or accepting the resolutions of the UN Security Council, China is making its desire for peace known, Keyvan said.
William J. Carroll, President Emeritus of Benedictine University, in the United States, said that in the past five years, China has played a more visible role in global governance, including through initiatives of its own. China’s eyes are squarely on the world.
Dr. Gerishon Ikiara, Senior Lecturer of International Economics at the University of Nairobi, who is also a former permanent secretary in Kenya’s ministry of transport and communication, said China’s faster economic growth than most developed countries will enhance the country’s stature internationally, economically and environmentally.
“China’s faster economic growth will enhance the country’s stature in the global international, economic and environmental, and other governance issues,” Ikiara said.
As China becomes more involved in various global issues, its diplomats will gain greater exposure, a trend already visible in the last five years, but will be much more prominent in the next five years, said Ikiara.
Peter J. Li, Associate Professor of East Asian Politics, University of Houston, said “China’s increasing activism in global governance is a commendable development.”
“It is indicative of increasing confidence of the Chinese leadership in matters that impact humanity. Moreover, China’s active participation in global governance also suggests that Beijing is willing to shoulder greater responsibilities in global governance,” said Li.
Do Tien Sam, Editor-in-chief of the China Research Journal published by the Institute for Chinese Studies at the Vietnam Academy of Social Science, told Xinhua in a recent interview that as the world’s second-largest economy, China has been actively involved in global governance.
For example, in the United Nations, China supports the voices of developing countries. China has called for further developments of economic globalization, and participated in multinational trade organizations such as APEC, G20 and BRICS, said the expert.
China is taking strong initiatives to promote democracy in international economic and political life, commented Sam.
Dr. Frank Youngman, an independent researcher and education consultant in Botswana, spent six months at Shanghai Normal University last year.
He said international relations have undergone a tremendous change over the past five years, largely due to China’s positive role in global affairs, especially regarding the Paris climate change accord and as host of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou last year, not to mention its leadership role in the Belt and Road project, one that spans continents and involves several dozen countries.
In his opinion, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is the most important of its kind for Africa.
“If China continues to support that, that would be very good,” said Youngman.
WORLD BECOMING MORE CHINESE
Thanks to the reforms carried out under the leadership of President Xi, China’s global influence is growing and the world is becoming “more Chinese,” a prominent Bulgarian sinologist told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Since Xi took over the leadership of China nearly five years ago, there have been tangible changes, both internally and in terms of the country’s international role, said Mariana Malinova Tian, an associate professor at the Institute of Historical Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Tian is the author of the books “Genesis and Development of Chinese Civilization” (2009) and “Bulgarian-Chinese Relations in Modern History” (2015), as well as more than 50 articles and studies on Chinese issues.
China has been taking the lead in large-scale mega-projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the “16+1” cooperation with the countries of central and eastern Europe, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and others, Tian said.
China’s increased participation in UN peacekeeping and anti-piracy operations around the Horn of Africa and elsewhere is also significant, she said.
“Chinese influence in the world is growing day by day and the world is becoming more Chinese,” Tian said.
Bob Carr, Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI), and former Federal Foreign Minister and ex-Premier of New South Wales, Australia, thinks there has been a shift in the role that China is playing in terms of global governance.
“The question we have all asked ourselves is what will be the character of Chinese foreign policy. And the Belt and Road Initiative answers that. It’s multilateralist, it’s about peaceful engagement. It’s about roads and bridges,” said Carr.
“Now, don’t forget that there were people anxious five, ten years ago about China being aggressive, China being expansionist, China being a bully, or China being against the world. So, the question, what is the character of Chinese foreign policy has now been answered,” added Carr.
“I think it’s overwhelmingly a positive answer,” he said.