Joint efforts needed to improve world order
With President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the United States coming to an end, many observers are trying to fathom the strategic implications embedded in his weeklong tour of a country battling on several fronts.
Xi and US President Barack Obama reached an important agreement to jointly build a newmodel of major-country relationship when theymet at Sunnylands in California in 2013. In a speech delivered at a banquet in Seattle on Tuesday, Xi called for advancing the newmodel of majorcountry relationship between China and the United States and working together to promote world peace and development.
Although the foundation of China and the United States to build a newtype of major-country relationship is being consolidated, some observers have cast doubts over the sound development of bilateral relations.
Their doubts have a lot to do with American interest groups seeking to influence the US presidential election campaign and some politicians’ tendency to blame other countries for everything. Instead, the pessimistic remarks suggest thatWashington is losing its magic in managing its relations with Beijing, and even the world order. That explains why the US has constantly accused China of cyber-theft, to steal commercial secrets from the country.
In effect, it is the US that has been challenging the world order. China’s so-called contempt for the US-led system, if at all, is a challenge to US hegemony.
Designed to restore regional order in Europe and the Far East afterWorldWar II, the US-initiatedMarshall Plan in 1948 and the San Francisco Treaty of Peace with Japan in 1951 have somewhat failed their missions, especially after the latter authorized the Japanese government to govern China’s Diaoyu Island. NowWashington is working overtime to turn its Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership into reality, in the hope of isolating Beijing with higher-standard rules.
As a beneficiary of and major stakeholder in the world order, China is more likely to improve and fix the system instead of challenging it. The past is proof that coordination between China and the US can play a vital role in maintaining a fair, inclusive and organized world order. The two permanent members of the UN Security Council have done well in dealing with the nuclear issues involving Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and there is no reason why they should stop their cooperation there.
Since launching reform and opening-up in 1978, China has not only become an important part of the world order in which US plays a key role, but also sought to supplement it with the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Aimed at boosting regional connectivity and infrastructure construction in Eurasia, the Beijing-led proposals are unlikely to reshape the postwar world economy, let alone challengeWashington’s global leadership. Instead, they are intrinsically inclusive and open to outside investors including the US.
Unlike the high-level transnational trade and investment arrangements, such as the TPP, the Belt and Road Initiative and the AIIB are designed to provide financing to galvanize regional cooperation and keep terrorism out of the neighborhood. It will be a big leap for China and the US both if Xi’s visit makes reciprocity an integral part of the bilateral relationship, in which both sides endeavor to optimize the world order together.
The author is a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China.