Mohamed Faisal, Maldives Ambassador to China
There are many things that worry us, especially as a small economy that has very little resources and as an economy and country that depends on the rest of the world for our bread and butter. Whatever happens outside our borders affects us, especially given the system of economy that we have which is very much dependent on tourism. Any upset, any financial crisis, and any disease, and wars can generate very negative effects on our borders. So of course, we would like the world to be peaceful, for everybody to cooperate and also for the world to be more open because for a small country a closed economy could be very dangerous. We import everything from all over the world, and we also rely on our partners in all parts of the world to provide us with not only necessary goods and services to sustain our economy and people but also for their goodwill. So, of course, we would like to see a more open economy and more open relationships between countries that are based on an equal footing.
Neboj a Koharovi , Croatian Ambassador to China
I think every citizen in my country understands how important international order is. What could challenge international order? The main issue here is do we clearly see the challenges to international order. I come from the country that has been shifting the tides in the last 30 years coming from one camp to another, not just in the sense of statehood but also in the sense of the values that we are representing today, and of course, we think that being able to watch both sides or many sides, as you call it multi-vector politics, [is important]. But there is more than one challenge to the international order at this moment. The coined phrase “major power politics” is something that presents a challenge for almost everybody else. So, the challenges are not the ones that have the red buttons in Pyongyang. They could be far more, and in that sense, I think we have to be very cautious when we modelize the needs and goals of our countries or regions not to endanger the international order that has been very carefully formalized by nearly 60 years after the Second World War.
Zhou Bo, Senior colonel and director of Security Cooperation of Office of International Military Cooperation, Ministry of National Defense
It is not a question of how much China has changed because China has, ever since its opening up and reform, insisted that cooperation, peace and development be the mainstay of the day. But recently we have read something different. Frankly speaking, the US’ recent reports on national security and defense strategy really surprised me in that China is considered a top strategic competitor. Doesn’t the tone sound a bit like a return to the Cold War era? Is the US ready to challenge China as it did the Soviet Union? It is not that China would challenge the international order. Our position on it is still more or less the same, but it is how the US might take a big risk to challenge China. That would definitely bring a major shift in the international order.
Liu Chang, PhD, China Institute of International Studies
Let’s look back to 40 years ago. I think one of the most important reasons that China’s reform and opening up can be so successful is that Bejing and Washington realized the normalization of diplomatic relationships since the 1970s. So we share a reasonably peaceful international environment so that we can focus on our economic construction. But the normalization of diplomatic relationships between China and the US and China and the Western world is not a gift from the latter, but a result of interaction between China and the Western world. Speaking of the change of international order, we have focused on the big powers and countries, but I think we should focus more on developing and Middle Eastern countries.
Ding Yifan, Researcher of the Development Research Center of the State Council
When China first launched its initiative of Belt and Road, it received criticism and suspicion around the world. So, people thought that China might have hidden something behind the border initiative. But China’s philosophy is very simple. China is living in a globalized world. If the global economy or global atmosphere is threatened by a lot of things, like climate change, lack of investment and so on the situation could worsen. The only solution of these global issues is to lend a hand to those countries in difficulty. China would be better off only if its neighboring countries are better, and that’s why China’s proposed Belt and Road initiative was initially mainly focused on its neighboring countries, the traditional countries located on the ancient Silk Road. It started like this and then for the past three or five years, the project has made remarkable progress in all these countries. If you look at global economic growth, you will find that those countries along the Silk Road are growing faster. It is mainly because of Chinese initiative.
Geir O. Pedersen, Norwegian Ambassador to China
It is obvious that we see the relative decline of the US, and that’s sure in its economy. When China opened up in 1978, it was perhaps one to three percent of the world economy, and today it’s closer to 17 percent while the US part of the economy has declined. Obviously, there is no competi-
to tion the military field. when it comes The third aspect is soft power. My opinion, my Chinese friends may disagree, is that in this arena there is really no competition, but with one important aspect missing and that is the leadership of Mr Trump in the US. In my personal opinion, I think that has tremendously influenced how we see the US. The State of the Union shows a very divided US, a US that is struggling to come to terms both domestically and internationally. Meanwhile, we see China that is increasingly confident in its domestic development, in its relationship to its neighbors and its role within international institutions. But then the big question is we hear the right things from China but will China, as a rising power, stick to its principles as they said, or will it behave like the US has throughout history – say many of the right things but act differently?
José Augusto Duarte, Portuguese Ambassador to China
China is not the not the only country to achieve tremendous revolution through reform and opening up; my country has gone through revolutions as well in recent history. Materially and socially, we have much more than we had 40 years ago. So, I think all the fields and all generations have their own challenges. But that’s the beauty of a generation is to have a challenge and the opportunity also to build and break the pyramid of a civilization or the international order. So, I think the changes that we are facing in the international community are a part of life. History and geo politics never years. were completely stable for that many long