Is world's center of gravity "moving eastward"?

15:40, August 04, 2010      

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China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told reporters in Mexico that he did not agreed with the view that the world's center of gravity is shifting from West to the East, when he was asked whether he agreed to this view at a joint news conference with his Mexican counterpart, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Patricia Espinosa, in Mexico City on July 30.

"The emerging trend in the world today is the gradual evolution of world power towards relative equilibrium," Yang said. "It is an inevitable outcome of the growing move toward multi-polarity and of deepening economic globalization and rapid revolution in science and technology."

"The process toward multi-polarity includes not just faster growth of major emerging countries but also rising regional power of developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Developing countries, like their developed counterparts, have become a force to reckon with on the world stage," Yang acknowledged.

"The world's center of gravity", "the focus of international politics" and "the wealth and economic power" are shifting from West to East – These are a sort of view emerged in America and European nations over recent years, especially since the outbreak of the global financial crisis. And it reflected a kind of caution and worries of the United States and European nations about the rapid rise of emerging countries in Asia and the relative decline of their own status.

The center of global forces is shifting from both sides of the Atlantic to the Far Eastern Region, commented Zbigniew Brzezinski, an American strategist and former U.S. national security adviser, two years ago. This is not meant to say that the trans-Atlantic countries would collapse but that they would anyhow lose 500 years of authority for control.

The world situation is changing on the whole, and it is an irrefutable fact. Against the background of economic globalization, developed nations cannot monopolize dividends from the economic globalization and their "fortune" has "spilled out" from pockets of developed nations and multinational corporations, whereas developing countries capitalize on the economic opportunities and technological revolutions to emerge rapidly and the global economic balance scale has started to change. Developing countries currently account for 43.4 percent of the world wealth as against merely 33.7 percent in the 1980s, as indicated by the relevant latest World Bank statistics.

A growing number of rich nations have become debt-ridden, and more poor countries have become those countries with the fastest economic growth, an Italian economist reportedly said. In fact, under the tidal current of the economic globalization, "the wealth and economic power" are shifting to developing countries in "all the four cardinal directions", not merely to the "East" in the light of a traditional U.S.-Europe linguistic environment.

With a drastic rise in their economic strength, developing countries worldwide are calling for greater democracy in international relations and an increased right for global discourse, and even Americans themselves have come to recognize that the post-War II international mechanism they had initiated and led is not duly adapted to the present global reality. It is precisely attributed to this factor that the United States has contributed to the institution of the Group of Twenty (G20) as a leading international economic platform nowadays.

An adjustment based on the reality, however, is not meant to readily abandon the right to control, and the adjustment may only annotate a policy adjustment rather than a strategic adjustment. Perhaps developed countries regard the admission of great emerging countries into the "power center" as the "true democratization of international relations" but for all developing countries, including China, however, the true democratization of international relations is meant that all developing countries have the equal rights to speak out and to formulate the relevant rules or regulations.

Economic globalization and the information revolution have spurred the human communication to enter a new epoch, but the complexity, nevertheless, poses greatest challenges facing this contemporary new era.

As the economic, political and security interests of the nations are closely interwoven, no nation can be left alone and stays self-centered; varied ideologies have not ended with the elapse of the Cold war, but their competitions in the "soft power" has come up on the agenda. The status approval and global status of many countries are yet to be defined.

Therefore, "the new reality is a kind of scattered turbulence" in this extremely complex world and, if people still pander the so-called world center of gravity from a traditional perspective of "the East and West", they are bound to make mistakes.

By People's Daily Online and its author PD sub-desk editor Wang Tian


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