China Not Qualified to Replace the US as World LeaderPosted: February 8, 2017
In its report today on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s remarks to reporters yesterday titled “China, United States cannot afford conflict: Chinese foreign minister”, Reuters quotes Wang as saying that China does not want to lead or replace anyone, and that as its national strength is still limited it must focus on its own development.
According to the report, Wang said, “We must remain clear headed about the various comments demanding China play a ‘leadership role’.”
Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s recent speech advocating globalization contrary to the protectionism US leader Trump advocates gives the impression that China wants to replace the US as world leader. That may be one of the causes that have given rise to recent tension between the US and China as the US is obsessed with it world leadership.
Wang is right that China is not strong enough to be world leader. Even if it is indeed strong enough, it shall not be world leader unless it can afford the costs and obligations a world leader has to bear and unless most other countries obey its leadership.
A leader shall be able to have those he leads obey him. Even if he is as strong as the US militarily, he cannot impose his leadership with military force. Weaker ones may form alliance to counter his military strength like the de facto alliance between China and Russia.
They may also invent some ways and weapons to hurt the leader’s invasion troops like what Islamic extremists have been doing in the Middle East.
Wang is wise to point out that neither China nor the US can afford conflicts between them. However, to ease US worry, he has to make clear of China’s desire for win-win cooperation with the US so that he has to clarify that that Xi advocates globalization as it benefits China and opposes protectionism as it hurts China and that globalization benefits the US too. For example, due to globalization, US firms are making big money in China. The problem is that they fail to bring the money they have made in China back to the US to benefit American people.
I believe that Trump knows well that the US has declined so much as unable to afford world leadership. That is why he regards America first to make the US great again as his priority. To attain that goal, he needs win-win cooperation with China but he is afraid that in doing so the US may lose its world leadership to China, a loss that may greatly upset American people and make him very unpopular.
Trump need not worry as in my opinion, China is not qualified as world leader until its GDP accounts for at least 50% of world GDP. That will be a long time away if Chinese economy can indeed grow so big. The US obtained world leadership when its economy was so big but it was challenged by the Soviet Union and could not be regarded as a true world leader.
With such overwhelming military and economic strength, it lost to very weak and poor China in Korean War. That proves that military imposition of world leadership is not feasible.
China shall learn from that lesson as well as the lessons of US troubles in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which is reblogged below:
China, United States cannot afford conflict: Chinese foreign minister
By Colin Packham | SYDNEY Tue Feb 7, 2017 | 12:37pm EST
There would be no winner from conflict between China and the United States, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned on Tuesday, seeking to dampen tension between the two nations that flared after the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Relations between China and United States have soured after Trump upset Beijing in December by taking a telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese imports.
China considers Taiwan a wayward province, with no right to formal diplomatic relations with any other country.
But China is committed to peace, Wang said, after meeting Australia’s Foreign Minister Julia Bishop.
“There cannot be conflict between China and the United States, as both sides will lose and both sides cannot afford that,” he told reporters in the Australian capital of Canberra.
While seeking to reduce tension, Wang called on global leaders to reject protectionism, which Trump has backed with his “America First” economic plans.
“It is important to firmly commit to an open world economy,” Wang added. “It is important to steer economic globalisation towards greater inclusiveness, broader shared benefit in a more sustainable way.”
Just days ahead of Trump taking office, Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Switzerland as the keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, offering a vigorous defense of globalisation and signaling Beijing’s desire to play a bigger role on the world stage.
Wang said that China does not want to lead or replace anyone, and that as its national strength is still limited it must focus on its own development, according to comments carried on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website.
“We must remain clear headed about the various comments demanding China play a ‘leadership role’,” Wang said.
While Trump’s trade policies have spurred concern the United States is entering a period of economic protectionism, China has previously accused Australia of adopting a similar practice by blocking the sale of major assets to Chinese interests.
Bishop urged China to consider joining a pan-Pacific trade pact abandoned last month by Trump, who has said he prefers bilateral deals.
“I want to encourage China to consider the agreement,” Bishop said, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
As China called on nations to be open to offshore investment, Wang said Beijing would link its “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) policy with Australia’s plan to develop its remote northern region.
The program announced by Xi in 2013 envisages investments by China in infrastructure projects, including railways and power grids in central, west and southern Asia, as well as Africa and Europe.
Australia has ambitious plans to develop its Northern Territory, a frontier region with little infrastructure, but efforts have largely stalled for lack of investment.
(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Pritha Sarkar)