From Global Times, for its global interest, we reprint here ample quotes of the article published July 29, 2018 under the headline
Discussing changes in the international order
by Fu Ying*
Academics are currently debating about the future course of the world order. Will the world head toward a new Cold War? What path will China take? As we reach the end of the second decade of the 21st century, the so-called trade war between China and the US and its overall impact is mirroring the ups and downs in the international situation, and the anxieties brought about by the behavior of the only world superpower, the United States.
However, humanity has developed into such a civilized state that common sense tells us we should not be pessimistic about the future. At the seventh World Peace Forum hosted by Tsinghua University, talk turned to the current and future international situation and some of the views are worth noting.
First, that global political power is more fragmented than ever before. It is widely acknowledged that in the future no one major power can dominate the world and that even the most powerful country would need to cooperate with other nations in order to deal with international affairs. At the same time, national power is being eroded by the emergence of international organizations and other non-state entities. The international order, with the United Nations and its related institutions at the center, while flawed, is still widely supported by the international community.
Second, economic globalization is unlikely to reverse. Although anti-globalization and protectionism are on the rise, it is undeniable that globalization has benefited most countries by boosting the world economy and advancing technology and civilization. Since the 1980s, the size of the world economy has tripled, allowing billions of people to improve their conditions and that is why most economies prefer the direction of free trade.
What comes with this process is the expansion of people-to-people exchanges. According to OECD statistics, five million students are studying outside of their own countries. They and the majority of young people will not support dividing the world again.
Third, world peace is likely to be sustained. Despite the complex international security situation that encompasses inter-country disputes, the threat of nuclear proliferation and the many new challenges in the areas of space science and cyber security, no country wants to settle problems with a full-scale war.
Diplomacy continues to play the central role in addressing differences, as countries choose negotiation and restraint when resolving disputes. As Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the Boao Forum for Asia in April, “The trend of peaceful cooperation is rolling forward. Peace and development are the common aspirations of the people of all countries in the world.” (…)
The concept of building a community of shared future for mankind, as proposed by President Xi, embodies the great wisdom that is deeply rooted in Chinese culture and demonstrates our clear political stance. The essence of the proposition is that challenges around the world should be discussed and resolved by countries working together, and that common interests should be maintained by all. It will require countries to work together to achieve this goal, but as the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
On global security governance, academics at the forum believed that the role of the UN and the Security Council should be respected, but they are insufficient when dealing with all the security issues in today’s world. The US-led security alliance by its nature is exclusive. This results in countries outside the alliance having to consider how to safeguard their own security interests. (…)
The US is increasingly worried that China will threaten its dominance. Beijing is concerned that Washington is trying to contain China’s development. Such misunderstandings are reflected in many issues, including trade. The Chinese people have seen that US companies are making huge profits from China.
But Americans believe that they are being taken advantage of when trading with China. The White House has raised tariffs on Chinese products, which is seen by the Chinese as bullying. We need to pay attention to why the two sides are seeing the same issue so differently. It is not only with the US where we see these twisted perceptions. It is important that China examines carefully such issues and address them quickly to avoid a new accumulation of misunderstanding which can only hamper our relationships. (…)
The Chinese are increasingly aware of their country’s emergence and their growing international responsibilities. They need to learn and raise awareness by improving their capability to communicate with the outside world. Without prompt explanation using effective methods and techniques, misunderstandings will prevail. As one expert said at the Tsinghua forum, the Chinese must learn to persuade others.
* Fu Ying is China’s former vice foreign minister and the chairperson of the Academic Committee of National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The article was compiled based on the Author’s speech at the luncheon of the seventh World Peace Forum hosted by Tsinghua University.