The Chinese Dream meets the Asian-Pacific Dream
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 12, 2014
Executive Summary: The Beijing authorities have convened the APEC meeting. Mainland leader Xi Jinping was an open book. He led the push for an Asian-Pacific Free Trade Zone, for Asia-Pacific innovation development and economic reform, for strengthening links and infrastructure, and other strategic initiatives. Xi has made Mainland China the leader of Asian economic and financial development. The power center of the world will gradually shift toward Mainland China.
Full Text Below:
The Beijing authorities have convened the APEC meeting. Mainland leader Xi Jinping was an open book. He led the push for an Asian-Pacific Free Trade Zone, for Asia-Pacific innovation development and economic reform, for strengthening links and infrastructure, and other strategic initiatives. Xi has made Mainland China the leader of Asian economic and financial development. The power center of the world will gradually shift toward Mainland China.
Xi Jinping rose to power in March last year. He promoted an “amicable, secure and prosperous neighborhood” policy with neighboring countries. He proposed a new PRC-USA great power relationship. He proposed a new concept of Asian security. He evinced an international outlook different from previous Mainland Chinese leaders. He proposed an international order conducive to peaceful coexistence, shared prosperity, mutual tolerance, and sustainable development. He is apparently laying the groundwork for the Chinese Dream.
On November 29, 2012, Xi Jinping led the Politburo Standing Committee on a field trip to the National Museum “Road to Revival” exhibit. He explained for the first time his concept of the “Chinese Dream.” The goal of the Chinese Dream was the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. More recently, during the APEC CEO Summit, Xi Jinping proposed an “Asian-Pacific Dream.” He said the development of the Asian-Pacific region required decisive action on the part of each of its economies. As Xi Jinping sees it, the Asian-Pacific Dream means “shared creation, shared benefits, shared victory.” He said the
Asian-Pacific region had a shared destiny. He called upon the governments to go with the flow of peaceful development. He said this would enable the Asian-Pacific region to move toward its common goal of prosperity and progress. This was a diplomatic breakthrough for Beijing. It highlighted Mainland China’s newfound status in the global political and economic arena.
China has become the world’s second largest economy. It has gone from passive participation in the international economy, to questioning those who make up the rules. At APEC Beijing proposed an Asian infrastructure investment bank, and a Silk Road Fund. Xi proposed “one zone, one road.” The Silk Road economic zone and the Maritime Silk Road would constitute a road map and timetable for the Asiam-Pacific free trade zone.
The strategic concept of “one zone, one road” has far-reaching implications. It includes the construction of roads, railways, pipelines, network communication facilities, the establishment of special economic zones, and an Investment Bank to promote Asian security confidence building measures. One zone, one road could shorten transport times, facilitate the transport of goods, and improve logistics. Naturally it has become the dream of many who are seeking economic prosperity. Mainland authorities saw its potential. They reaffirmed their desire for an economic platform that was open and inclusive. Such a platform would not be limited to participating countries. It would not control other countries’ economic systems. It would not change other countries’ political systems. It would evince the tolerant attitude of a responsible major power. It would maintain perimeter security and a stable external environment.
Xi Jinping’s master plan shows that the Asian-Pacific Dream and the Chinese Dream are interconnected. In early August 2013, the fifth generation CCP leadership met for the first time at Beidaihe. Its members reached certain conclusions. Xi Jinping’s concept of governance would be based on the Chinese Dream and Four Strategies, i.e., democracy, the rule of law, economics, and a strong military. Mainland China’s economic rise, official corruption, social and moral chaos, ideological distortions of personal values, political trampling of criminal justice and human rights, all contributed to a crisis in the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Without radical reform, the public would inevitably be alienated, and the party’s survival would be jeopardized. Xi Jinping is clearly aware that internal and external security are related. To rejuvenate the Chinese nation, to enable its people to live happy lives, to enjoy justice, to live a life with dignity, Xi knew he must first seek security and stability in the external environment even while accelerating internal reforms.
Xi Jinping’s “four strategies policy” for ruling the nation calls for a strong military. It recognizes that a nation that lacks diplomatic and military influence cannot win international respect. Building a strong military does not necessarily mean seeking hegemony and domination. Xi has no intention of challenging US global dominance. Xi Jinping has reiterated his “no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect, cooperation and win-win” stance as the key to a new great power relationship between the PRC and the USA. Xi’s low keyed response to the international community’s questions about G2 were part of an effort to avoid upsetting his one zone, one road strategy.
During the APEC meeting, Xi Jinping was polite to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He was soft and flexible in his diplomatic posture. But regarding Japan’s stance, he did not back down one iota. Xi set the agenda for APEC. The Mainland authorities’ foreign policy has gradually morphed from “low profile” to “making a difference.” Its means may be tactful, but its position is firm. Xi’s diplomacy and strategic plan combines quiet action, with firmness and flexibility. The Mainland authorities’ view of China’s core interests and leadership role in Asia’s remain unchanged. If circumstances dictate, Mainland China will defend its core interests at any cost.
Mainland China has enjoyed material prosperity for some time now. Materialism is rampant. Official corruption is unbridled. Mainland China finds itself at a watershed. Will it advance or retreat? Xi Jinping is confident and patient. He bears an enormous historical responsibility. The Chinese Dream can only be achieved through China’s own efforts. The Asian-Pacific Dream. on the other hand, is constrained by Sino-US relations as well as relations with neighbouring countries. It is riddled with uncertainty. But if Beijing can advance its Asian-Pacific Economic grand strategy, Mainland China will become a major force in the Asian-Pacific region.