Isms, such as nationalism, protectionism, populism, and isolationism, are spreading like wildfire across the Western world, creating uncertainty about the future of free trade and international economic cooperation.
In response to the wave of populism that is sweeping through the West, more and more countries in the Western world are adopting an explosive strategy of isolation and protectionism. Last year, Britain decided to exit from the European Union, essentially undoing about four decades of treaties and agreements.
Amidst growing doubts about the future of the globalized international order, China has emerged as a voice of reason and continues to signal its willingness to promote opening up and common development. For example, China is making a huge contribution to world peace and prosperity with its massive Belt and Road project. Since 2013, China has advanced the game-changing economic and diplomatic initiative as a way to connect the world. In 2016 alone, China invested $14.5 billion in countries along the Belt and Road. Not only is the initiative bridging the region, it offers new opportunity for major-country relations. The initiative is poised to forever reshape global trade and demonstrates China’s steadfast commitment to an open global economy.
The new political divide comes at a time when the world stands at a major crossroads as a global community: build bridges or build walls. China has chosen to build bridges with the global community, and hopes that all countries will come together to build a community of common destiny for mankind. In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the world to keep to the goal of building a community with a shared future. Xi also urged the international community to view their own interests in a broader context and to refrain from pursuing them at the expense of others. “Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air,” Xi said in his speech.
What the world needs now is more globalization, not less. Countries that stand by globalization, such as China, play a key role in maintaining the international economic order. Rather than blame economic globalization for the world’s problems, the international community should step up to the plate and make the global economy work for all people.