Work to­gether for co­op­er­a­tive world or­der

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

The fall of the Ber­linWall and the end of the Cold War in 1990 ush­ered in a huge newwave of glob­al­iza­tion. Look­ing back af­ter 25 years, we can now see that this devel­op­ment pro­duced a num­ber of clear win­ners. China is def­i­nitely among them: It started off with a GDP the size of Bel­gium. Now­its econ­omy is three times the size of Ger­many’s. Ger­many also gained enor­mously. It gained free­dom, peace and se­cu­rity and it seized newe­co­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties, not least in China. Our trade with China is twice the size of China’s trade with Rus­sia and sev­eral times the size of China’s trade with any other Euro­pean coun­try.

When the world looks at China and Ger­many, there are par­al­lels that are strik­ing. The world sees two be­he­moths of man­u­fac­tur­ing, of huge ex­ports, two coun­tries with a hard-work­ing pop­u­la­tion, a strong em­pha­sis on ed­u­ca­tional merit, and two cul­tures that value sav­ing for the fu­ture and long-term plan­ning over a “buy now, pay later” men­tal­ity.

There is no doubt that the global or­der is chang­ing dramatically and that par­tic­u­larly China plays a cru­cial part in this process. Both Ger­many and China have enor­mous gains to de­fend in this chang­ing world or­der. In the com­ing years, we should seize op­por­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate a new qual­ity in our re­la­tions.

One of the main chal­lenges is to make sure that all re­spon­si­ble na­tions are em­bed­ded in one world or­der and do not drift away into their sep­a­rate uni­verses. With this in mind, Ger­many sup­ports fix­ing in­sti­tu­tions lag­ging be­hind po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic re­al­i­ties (IMF, UNSe­cu­rity Coun­cil) and takes an open and con­struc­tive ap­proach to­wards new in­sti­tu­tions and ini­tia­tives. Our de­ci­sion to join the AIIB as the most im­por­tant non-Asian mem­ber was driven by this mo­ti­va­tion. Other ini­tia­tives worth ex­plor­ing for deeper co­op­er­a­tion are, the SCO, the BRICS Bank or the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. Ger­many is will­ing to work with China to ad­vance an in­clu­sive ar­chi­tec­ture that spans Europe and Asia. It will be im­por­tant to build this ar­chi­tec­ture with Rus­sia, not around or with­out it. The Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Se­cu­rity and Co­op­er­a­tion in Europe should also play an im­por­tant part. It is the only rel­e­vant or­ga­ni­za­tion that in­cludesNorth Amer­ica, Europe and Asia.

Stronger ser­vices sec­tors and stronger in­ter­nal con­sump­tion will be im­por­tant to cre­ate a bet­ter bal­ance in our economies. How­ever, both­Ger­many and China must main­tain a lead­ing edge in man­u­fac­tur­ing to main­tain pros­per­ity, not least to gen­er­ate suf­fi­cient re­sources for so­cial jus­tice. Ger­many has been work­ing on the next industrial revo­lu­tion, named “In­dus­try 4.0”, “mar­ry­ing” man­u­fac­tur­ing to the dig­i­tal world. It will bring sys­temic change to our econ­omy and so­ci­ety. “In­dus­try 4.0” is also a key com­po­nent in China’s “Made in China 2025” plan. No other coun­tries thanGer­many and China are bet­ter matched eco­nom­i­cally, tech­no­log­i­cally, men­tally and even po­lit­i­cally to co­op­er­ate in this field.

How­ever, there are still im­por­tant ar­eas where China and theWest do not see eye to eye. The best way to over­come dis­trust and mis­con­cep­tions is giv­ing as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble the op­por­tu­nity to go and see the re­al­ity in our coun­tries. Grow­ing num­bers of Chi­nese trav­el­ling to Ger­many are a hope­ful sign. How­ever, there are signs of a be­gin­ning stag­na­tion when we look at traf­fic from West­ern coun­tries to China.

We ur­gently need to in­crease the flow of peo­ple in both di­rec­tions. One im­por­tant bot­tle­neck are visa pro­ce­dures on both sides. Con­crete im­prove­ments in the process are im­por­tant - and real: Most Euro­peans have short­ened ap­pli­ca­tion pro­ce­dures, also Ger­many. What we need even more is a dif­fer­ent mind­set - on both sides: We must rec­og­nize that Europe and China are no se­cu­rity threat to each other and have no is­sues with il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion. This is a rare op­por­tu­nity for en­hanced ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion in our in­creas­ingly volatile world. It should not be squan­dered.

The au­thor is Ger­man Am­bas­sador to China.


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