THE TWO FACES OF THE PRC: A COMMENT
"China and Britain have different histories, cultural traditions and social systems. It’s unavoidable that we may disagree here and there. What’s essential is that we should respect, accommodate and help each other instead of forcing our own ideas on each other. In real life no one is able to change others. The world is very much like a garden, whose most beautiful season comes when all kinds of flowers blossom. The world today has increasingly become a global village. Countries are more interdependent and their interests more closely interwoven than any time in history. And the destinies of developed and developing countries, the east and the west, and the South and the North, are inseparable. All countries must recognize such a significant change and take actions to adjust and adapt. Those outdated ideas and practices must be dropped, and new visions, policies, behaviours and governance approaches must be developed. No country alone can tackle the growing number of global challenges and non-conventional security threats. The only option for the international community is to come together to pursue harmony and win-win
Developed and developing countries should build a sincere, genuine partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. Some suggest that the global power is shifting away from the west to the east. It’s much too early to talk about that. In many aspects, western developed countries are still in the lead. If the world power is shifting, then I believe the power has started to diffuse toward relative equity and equilibrium. This is a positive development to the world. We sincerely hope developed countries will grow at a higher level and developing countries can continue to make greater progress at their own level.
China firmly commits to the path of peaceful development. Our focus is on our own development. We will not repeat the beaten track of the rising powers in the past. And invasion, expansion, beggar-thy-neighbour policy and hegemony are not our options. We hope to live in peace and seek common development together with the world. This policy is not for selling to other countries. Instead, it’s our own action plan that will be followed through. Because peaceful development is in the best interests of China and the world. We do not seek to maximize our own interests at the expense of others, but rather will carry out a win-win, opening-up strategy. We will continue to do what we can to help developing countries and, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, work collaboratively with developed countries".
China State Councillor Dai Bingguo, "Cooperation is the Only Choice." 'Summary of remarks' at a private meeting sponsored by Chatham House on the 26th of September 2011, in www.chathamhouse.org.
"China has warned Asian countries against provoking it under the cover of US military power, highlighting Beijing’s concern over moves from its neighbours and the US to contain its rise. “Certain countries think as long as they can balance China with the help of US military power, they are free to do whatever they want,” said the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist party, in an editorial on Wednesday. The piece came just one day after Japan and the Philippines pledged to boost maritime security ties and called for the protection of freedom of navigation and the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea, the resource-rich area which is home to vital sea lanes to all of east Asia but also subject to several territorial disputes involving China.
Kathrin Hille, "China warns neighbors over US backing." The Financial Times. 29 September 2011, in www.ft.com.
"You know as well as we do that right as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must."
Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War ('The Melian Dialogue'). Book V, Chapter XVII.
Regardless of the verbal eyewash that the regime in power in Peking offers up to the more gullible elements of the Anglo-American / Western elite, the real thinking behind Peking's policies in the Orient is best displayed by the editorial in the Peoples Daily this week. Here of course, we have no nonsense about 'co-operation' and 'win-win solutions'. Merely the assertion of brute force and blatant warnings issued to Peking's neighbors in the region about allying themselves with the USA. A statement right out of the mouths of say Holstein or Kiderlen circa the early 20th century Wilhelmstrasse. Given this state of affairs, one would have to be indeed 'eyeless in Gaza' (or San Fransisco for that matter) to believe the recent remarks made by the former American Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, about the need to handle the PRC with kid gloves. It is quite evident, that left to themselves (AKA, sans any American / Western involvement) that the PRC would coerce its neighbors in the Far Eastern littoral to the greatest extent possible. It is precisely for this reason that American-Western 'hard balancing' is an acute necessity both now and in the future. Otherwise I am afraid that the regional powers will over time, allow themselves to become captives of Peking's regional hegemonic tendencies 1.
1. For a recent book which advocates a policy very much along these lines, which I shall in due course review in this journal, see: Aaron Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy: China, America and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia. (2011).