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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Second-power status brings many risks

(Global Times)

08:50, November 16, 2011

Is China the second power in the world? China is reluctant to wear this mantle as it knows it is not a favorable position to have.

In the last century, the Soviet Union, the second political and military power, and Japan, the second economic power, both suffered in the end. Drawing lessons from history, chances are not good for China to successfully maintain this second position. It is worth noting that as a representative of a different culture and ideology than that of the West, China is under the most Western scrutiny.

Chinese officials are careful in choosing their words. They suggest a "peaceful development" rather than   a "rise." However, this is disregarded. Western powers seldom believe in China's peaceful development and feel nervous about any move by China. In a time when a zero-sum theory prevails in power politics, US and European precautions are nothing surprising.   

The rise of big powers have all been accompanied by wars throughout history and led to the redistribution of world power. Therefore, containing the second-largest power has seemingly become the convention of international politics.

By now, the Sino-US relationship is the best relationship between such powers in history. China's low-key stance and self-restraint have contributed a lot to this state of affairs. But as China's identity of second power is increasingly prominent, the US is taking preventive actions against China.

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