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Commentary: A stronger China not destined to seek hegemony

(Xinhua)    16:36, June 25, 2019

BEIJING, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Over the decades, China's dynamic economic development has amazed the world. Yet its naturally growing role in global affairs has aroused a narrative of doubt and fear in the West.

Such rhetoric, which comes in such different academic terms as "the Thucydides Trap" and "the offensive realism," is trying to warn or argue that an increasingly stronger China is very likely to collide with the United States for global hegemony. In the words of U.S. scholar John Mearsheimer, it is "the tragedy of great power politics."

To be frank, the worry is not entirely groundless from a historical perspective. In his book "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?," U.S. political scientist and Harvard professor Graham Allison listed 16 cases of transfer of hegemonic power worldwide over the past 500 years, and 12 of them were realized through military means.

However, those who try to sound the alarm seem to have subconsciously equalled China's legitimate demand for development to a quest for hegemony without heeding a key fact that the Asian country has been following a vastly different trajectory of development from that of the Western powers whose global emergence relied on overseas conquest and colonization.

For the past 40 years, China has grown from an isolated and backward country to the world's second largest economy by practicing the formula of opening-up and reform, building up a global network of equal partnerships for cooperation, and becoming actively involved in economic globalization. Its experience has proven that an alternative path to national greatness is possible.

Were China to switch back to the old pattern and pursue global hegemony, it would mean a self-destruction of the foundation that has underpinned its rapid development over the years. The prospects of its even greater progress in the future could also vanish. Beijing will not shoot itself in the foot.

For China to further promote its vital interests around the world, the smartest way is to continue promoting cooperation with its partners in a mutually beneficial fashion, deepening its participation in an open world economy, and joining the rest of the international community to safeguard world peace and stability. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China is a fine example.

Beijing's logic behind such a proposal is simple and direct: It is seeking concerted efforts worldwide to blaze a new path towards shared development and common prosperity.

Flourishing BRI cooperation has over the years helped nurture faster trade and investment flows, allowed for easier financial access, and created more extensive people-to-people exchanges across Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond.

So far, 127 countries and 29 international organizations have voluntarily joined the initiative, a convincing evidence that China's development path is viable and attractive.

China's steadfast sticking to peaceful development also reflects its visions for the kind of global governance system countries worldwide need to work for in such changing and challenging times.

In the post-war era, a largely peaceful global environment has helped bring developing and underdeveloped countries to a grand awakening to their legitimate economic and political rights as a member of the international community. With their collective ascent on the world stage, they have already grown into a major force to promote equality, democracy and pluralism in international relations.

Besides, Washington's increasingly reckless trade practices and foreign policies over the past two years are prompting a worldwide reflection on the current international system and highlighting an urgent necessity for nations across the globe to jointly forge a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation.

China has already embarked on a journey to help make such a world, which needs the inputs of more like-minded partners around the globe.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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