China yesterday defended its rising global status, saying countries should view themselves as “passengers in the same boat” and not fear Beijing’s “peaceful” economic and political development.
In a two-page commentary carried by the English-language China Daily, State Councilor Dai Bingguo (戴秉國), the country’s most senior foreign policymaker, urged the world to work with China — but warned it would not be bullied.
China respected human rights, Dai wrote in the article, which comes just days after the Nobel committee held a ceremony in honor of peace laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), a jailed rights advocate.
“Countries should consider themselves passengers in the same boat and cross the river peacefully together instead of fighting one another and trying to push one another off the boat,” Dai said.
“Those selfish practices of conquering or threatening others by force, or seeking development space and resources by non-peaceful means are losing ground,” Dai said.
“It has also become very unpopular for some countries to identify friends and foes on the basis of ideology and gang up under various pretexts in quest of dominance of world affairs,” he wrote.
He, however, cautioned: “We respect others, but do not allow others to bully us.”
Dai’s commentary came amid growing international concern at China’s global rise, especially in regard to territorial disputes in adjacent waters and Beijing’s refusal to condemn the provocative behavior of close ally North Korea.
Beijing has also robustly defended its trade and currency policies, despite a flurry of spats with trading partners and ongoing pressure for it to allow the yuan to trade more freely.
“The international community should welcome China’s peaceful development rather than fear it, help rather than hinder it and support rather than constrain its effort,” Dai said.
“The international community should understand and respect China’s legitimate interests and concerns in the course of its peaceful development,” he said.
China cannot isolate itself from the world, nor can the world achieve peace and prosperity without China, he said.
“Some people in the world have the unnecessary worry that China will turn its growing economic power into military might,” Dai acknowledged, but “China pursues a defense policy that is defensive in nature ... it is neither driven by arms race nor the desire to seek hegemony or expansion.”