The Chi­nese Dream and peace­ful de­vel­op­ment

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

Jusuf Wanandi, vice-chair­man of the board of trustees of the Center for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies Foun­da­tion

The re­sults of the Third Plenum of the 18th Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China are re­form ori­ented and a re­sponse to the chal­lenges China is fac­ing in at­tain­ing its dream of a bet­ter fu­ture. China’s dream has a util­i­tar­ian goal, which is to be a strong and wealthy coun­try. The re­forms adopted at the plenum will make head­way to­ward re­al­iz­ing this dream, and the coun­try is aware that th­ese re­forms will reap ex­ter­nal re­ac­tions. How­ever, it ex­pects th­ese re­ac­tions will be more pos­i­tive than neg­a­tive. China agreed with the United States they would strive for a new type of big-power re­la­tion­ship, one based on mu­tual re­spect, no in­ter­ven­ing in each other’s do­mes­tic is­sues, and co­op­er­a­tion based on the prin­ci­ple of win-win. This con­sen­sus will hope­fully re­duce the ten­sions and pre­vent any mis­un­der­stand­ings be­tween the two pow­ers.

China has rec­og­nized the need for it to rise and de­velop peace­fully and cre­ate a com­mu­nity of com­mon in­ter­ests with other coun­tries.

But China’s re­la­tions with some of the mem­bers of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions, a group­ing of what are con­sid­ered its clos­est neigh­bors, are de­fined by prob­lems aris­ing from ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes in the South China Sea. How China seeks to cre­ate com­mon in­ter­ests with ASEAN in the South China Sea is crit­i­cal, and that is why there is now a con­sen­sus on the need for con­fi­dence build­ing mea­sures.

But the most press­ing is­sue in the re­gion at present is the over­lap­ping claims by China and Ja­pan to the group of is­lands that China calls the Diaoyu Is­lands and Ja­pan the Senkaku Is­lands. This com­pli­cated is­sue is a legacy of World War II, which is why Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s re­vi­sion­ist state­ments on World War II and its im­pact have been un­help­ful. The United States’ de­fense treaty with Ja­pan has also not been con­ducive to it play­ing a con­struc­tive role in the dis­pute. What other coun­tries in the re­gion must do is ad­vise cau­tion and re­straint by both sides, be­cause so much is at stake for East Asia’s sta­bil­ity and de­vel­op­ment if ten­sions flare up. Di­rect con­tact be­tween China and Ja­pan needs to be im­me­di­ately es­tab­lished and they should cre­ate a mech­a­nism to pre­vent any mis­un­der­stand­ings, es­pe­cially be­tween their mil­i­taries.

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