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China's growth generates opportunities for other countries, says European expert
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21:42, September 16, 2009

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China's rapid economic growth has created opportunities for other countries, a Brussels-based European expert on EU-China relations and Chinese affairs said.

"Undeniably, China's transition has been the most dramatic economic shift of the last centuries," Jonathan Holslag told Xinhua in a recent written interview.

Holslag, head of research in Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies and an expert at the EU-China Academic Network, knows well about the political and economic ups and downs China has experienced since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

"But what makes its economic growth unique is that at a very early stage of industrialization, huge efforts are made to make it sustainable, to innovate its technological drivers and to make sure that more people benefit," the Belgian said.

"It is trying to do in 100 years what the West took at least 300 years," said Holslag, who has been closely watching China's political and economic developments and writing many articles in this respect.

On the significance of China's rapid development to the world, he said China's growth generates large opportunities for other countries and that "China is a chance for the entire global economy to make a qualitative leap forward."

He urged other countries to expand trade with China so as to benefit from these opportunities.

"China is compelling rich countries to invest more in technological innovation and creative growth," he elaborated. "Poor countries in the third world have to put effective policies in place to get more value out of their natural resources and to make sure that all their citizens benefit."

Holslag said he thought that China's political influence at the world stage began to be felt since the turn of the new century.

"Particularly since the turn to the new century, China's influence has increased visibly," he said.

"This is mainly because of its economic power, its effective policies to translate its recent economic gains into new progress,and the esteem it therefore gains from other nations," he said.

But he said China's influence is "limited by other major powers," whom China should work with to "create a stable world order."

"China cannot afford to apply its influence in an aggressive way, but will have to use it to promote international norms and rules that are conducive to its further development," he said.

"As China rises, it will face more resistance from other major powers," he said. "A constructive posture can temporarily mitigate tensions, but if the other powers fail to reform themselves, even a responsible China will be seen as a threat."

Commenting on Europe's influence in the world, he said that "its influence seems to be in a free fall" and it "never managed to get the hard power that the United States has."

He said Europe's economic leadership is now challenged as well.

"Europe experiences a lot of difficulties to modernize its markets and to achieve closer cooperation between the member states," he said. "What is left is mainly soft power."

Source: Xinhua

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