Sharing China’s experience with international community
In early October, I met Fu Ying, vice chairperson (deputy minister in terms of Korea) of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the National People’s Congress. Fu Ying is one the world’s most famous Chinese. Her name often comes with the word “first in China.” She was the first female vice foreign minister since the reform and opening in 1978, the first Chinese female ambassador to Australia and the U.K., and the first female spokesperson of the National People’s Congress, which is the same concept as the National Assembly of Korea. She is now honorary dean of the Institute of International Relations of Tsinghua University and Chairperson of the Center for International Strategy and Security (CISS). In addition, according to a 2019 report by the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, Fu Ying is highly rated as the “senior figure in a growing number of U.S.-China interactions.” Recently, she also published an English book “Seeing the World.” She has close links to Korea, therefore, participating in the six-party talks as Foreign Ministry director, and enjoying Korean dramas such as “Daejanggeum.” Personally, she drinks suutei tsai (hot-style milk tea) on the weekends, and listens to traditional Mongol long songs.
Q First, would you explain the meaning of the 70th anniversary China’s National Foundation Day?
A Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, with the efforts of the Chinese people, China has escaped poverty and is now the world’s second-largest economy. China’s global influence has grown and China is increasingly playing a role in international affairs. What the international community cannot but acknowledge, whether it is for or against China’s achievements, is that China’s system and governance eventually is successful. China’s success, in other words, means to rewrite the Western-led international political and economic textbooks, and it is worth being referred to as a model for the realization of civilization pursued by mankind.
Q How are you observing the rise of China?
A China is on the rise while the U.S. is in retreat — a new round of adjustments in the world power structure. China’s economic success has captured the world’s imagination. Thanks to sustained and rapid economic growth, Chinese living standards have been materially improved, and China now boasts full-fledged infrastructure and a manufacturing sector of depth and width. China’s influence is also on the rise in terms of its system, culture, the military and in other domains, thus giving China more voice and weight in international affairs.
Q How will China’s rise affect the international community?
A China wants a peaceful rise within the existing world order and global system, and it has a lot at stake in upholding it. But it also needs to tackle squarely the unjust, irrational and anachronistic aspects of the system, and take vigorous actions to reform and improve global governance. By virtue of natural endowment and late-comer advantage, China is well placed to play a more important role, and empower world economic growth with the Belt and Road initiative, and ultimately grow out of the old world system and embrace a new one that encourages peaceful coexistence, common prosperity and the building of a community with a shared future for humanity. Only by making more tangible contributions to improving global governance can China lend credence to the logic that when China gets stronger, the peace, development and prosperity of the world are better safeguarded.
Q What kind of policies and efforts should China have to achieve this?
A China still is a developing country and the road to building a comprehensive national power is still a long way off. China, however, is achieving a world-recognizable modernization outcome and wants to share the Chinese style of development methods and experiences with the international community, instead of ending up as just China’s own.
We are willing to introduce China’s development and achievements to the international community through the voice of the Chinese, the writings, and books of the Chinese
people. Therefore, we should strengthen the international news media industry, which can deliver it as well as the Western media. China can also take the lead in international opinion by strengthening its agenda-setting ability and the ability to lead international discourse. Eventually, creating a discourse in the international community will assist China to enhance its positive international status and shape.
Q Would you share your perspective on the U.S. leadership?
A Although the U.S. is a dominant power in the world, its strategic policies have eroded its global clout. Under the Trump presidency, the U.S. has been cutting back its commitment to external affairs, jumping at every opportunity to unload non-essential obligations in order to avoid getting mired in any regional conflicts.
Q Will China-U.S. relations shape the global political architecture in the years ahead?
A The “power transition” theory envisions that the established power will not readily relinquish power to the rising power, while the rising power will use its rapidly accrued strength to explore overseas markets, build military power, monopolize cutting-edge technologies, and purge the established power, all aiming to change the existing order and norms and attain global privilege that is on par with its new found power, which means upending the old order. When the rising power unseats the established power and thus completes the transition, it marks the onset of a new world order. History suggests that “power transition” in modern times took place invariably between Western powers and fierce competition was a hallmark, although they hailed from more or less the same history, culture and system. So here the “power transition” in its essence is leadership transition within one and the same political and civilization ecosystem.
Q Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a global topic these days. How will AI affect the international order?
A In terms of the international configuration, AI may shift the balance of economic and military power among countries, empower the non-state actors in an unprecedented way and intensify international technological competition. With regard to international norms, AI is likely to change the forms and principles of war, thus exerting an impact on existing international laws and ethics. The security and governance challenges brought by AI require the collective response of humanity, and that countries, when discussing and exploring future international norms governing AI, may proceed from the vision of building a community with a shared future for all mankind, as well as the concept of common security.
Fu Ying, left, speaks with Hwang Jae-ho.
“Seeing the World” by Fu Ying