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China will always set a precedent for peace and cooperation

14:36, December 30, 2009

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By Li Hongmei People's Daily Online

Before further probing into the essence of China as a responsible player in the international community, three questions elicited from some popular diplomatic writings might call for deep thoughts: First, Is China losing itself when dealing with the international affairs, or so to speak, Has China been Americanized ? Second, what types of relations should be established between China and the U.S.? Then, what stance should China take on when appearing on the world stage and what role should it be cast in ?

As China is said to have entered the "post-Reform" era after its two crucial decades of peaceful rise from 1980 through to 2000, it is presently on the way to growing more internationalized, thanks to its increasing social interactions in some key international institutions. Therefore, some scholars could readily rush to the conclusion that China has already become a "social state", a term richly elaborated by Alastair Lain Johnson in his book entitled Social States.

Johnson believes China's international conducts have been undeniably "socialized" with its stepped-up efforts to go global, and in the process of dealing with major world powers. And in his view, the U.S. would probably make an indelible imprint on China's socialization, which he deems not so good as assumed. "China should rise to a nation as powerful as the West, but with different behaviors," he said in the book. Johnson's remarks could be interpreted as a hint that China is in some likelihood "assimilated" by American performance with its more constant participation in the international activities.

Starting from this, a Singaporean political commentator even goes so far as to say China is losing itself in bracing for internationalization. He drives home the point that China's diplomatic mentality has been "Americanized" through the detailed analysis of a wide array of issues, covering economy and trade, counter-terrorism and denuclearization, and concludes that China is increasingly emulating the U.S. way. He, thereby, strongly calls for moratorium, advising China, instead of looking the same way as the U.S. points, should by all means go at "de-Americanization" and even "de-Westernization".

But unfortunately, what the scholar as above mentioned fails to calculate is the fact that time and situation have both changed and the world structure altered. The Cold War mentality of "anti-American Imperialism" has long faded into the dust of history.

Indeed, China and the U.S. take the different routes to their respective goals, some overlapping, while some others, perhaps, poles apart. Be that as it may, the changing world calls for a fresh global view and a new thinking in line with the changed reality. Different countries, big or small, and powerful or not, should surpass traditional thinking, forgo stereotyped bias and seek after coexistence and common development. Back to the relations of China and the U.S., with the closer interdependence and integration of their respective interests, neither of the countries can afford to play a "zero-sum" game.

In actuality, leaders of both countries have reached a consensus on this, which is not only seen in the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's famous remarks highlighting "the two are in the same boat," but also in Chinese President Hu Jintao's speeches on various occasions, stressing that both countries should stand together through thick and thin, and take each other as partners bent on the win-win cooperation.

Additionally, China has never yielded an inch to American clout in handling international affairs. Rather, it always stands rock firm in response to the U.S. pressure of, say, pushing intensified sanctions upon North Korea and Iran for their denuclearization pledge. On the other hand, China consistently adheres to its own proposals on the issues of the kind---- encouraging all the parties involved to settle disputes and problems through the channel of negotiation and peace talks.

It is not that China is pulled into the international orbit by the U.S. "constructive engagement" policy as widely presumed, but that China is ready to play a responsible role on the global stage as a giant developing nation, and as a standing member of UN Security Council. This is best exhibited at the just-concluded Copenhagen Climate Conference when China came to the front to have a loud say on behalf of the developing world. All these years, China's unswerving commitments to the international community have won it the due respect and catapulted it to the global fame.

As the year 2009 is drawing to a close, China is, along with all the other players, preparing for a new start. But President Hu's remarks will resonate always----pursue peace, promote development and seek cooperation. This is the set formula guiding the Chinese diplomacy.

The articles in this column represent the author's views only. They do not represent opinions of People's Daily or People's Daily Online.

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About this column

Li Hongmei, editor and columnist of PD Online.


Li HongLi Hong

After 19 years working for China Daily and its website, Li Hong moved to english.people.com.cn in March 2009.

Li has been a reporter and column writer, mainly on China's economy and politics.

He was graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University, and once studied in University of Hawaii and the Poynter Institute in Florida.

Gavin Jon MowatGavin Jon Mowat

Gavin Jon Mowat, editor and columnist for People's Daily Online.

As a graduate from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, Gavin came to Beijing 2 years ago to study Chinese.

Enjoying the culture and traditions of the orient so much, Gavin has since left his home in Scotland and is now living and working in China.

Gavin uses his background in writing to share his experiences of China with you at People's Daily Online.