Common dream of a better Asian future
2013/09/10

 

Asia is a vibrant continent with unique features within the world's political and economic landscape, embracing different civilizations, varying types of institutions and a wide range of development paths. China as a member of the Asian family always insists on putting its own progress within the broader picture of the common development of Asia.

Asia as a whole has maintained peace and stability and sustained economic growth over the first decade of the 21st century, having emerged as the world's most rapidly growing region. China's rise and Asia's rejuvenation are inseparable, and the Chinese Dream and the dreams of other Asian countries illuminate each other and constitute positive interaction. Rooted in the soil of regional peace and stability this interaction can grow and thrive.

The realization of the Chinese Dream is conducive to facilitating the rejuvenation of Asia, as China's robust economic growth has injected strong vigor into Asia's development. Statistics show that China's imports from other Asian countries reached $1.03 trillion in 2012, which has created lots of jobs in these countries. As the world's largest holder of foreign exchange reserves, China remains a major market player and source of investment for many Asian countries. And as Chinese companies are encouraged to go global, Asian countries are popular destinations for Chinese businesses looking to expand overseas. As China advances its national strategies of urbanization, expands domestic demand and continues economic restructuring, these will also stimulate economic growth throughout Asia.

The existing cooperative mechanisms between China and other Asian countries have provided impetus for Asian regional integration and paved the way for Asian rejuvenation.

The trade ties between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have entered a new stage with the establishment of the China-ASEAN free trade area in 2010, and ASEAN and six other dialogue partners, including China, have already launched detailed negotiations aimed at concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by the end of 2015.

China has also taken the lead in participating and increasing investment in the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program, which helps boost subregional economic cooperation in sectors such as agriculture, human resource development, investment and trade facilitation.

Meanwhile, China, Japan and South Korea are gradually moving ahead with talks on their free trade zone. And the steps would be faster and smoother if not for Japan's right-wing politics.

In central Asia the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has played an essential role in securing stability and development, thanks to the concerted efforts of the member states. In West Asia the establishment of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum in 2004 has served as a pioneering example of international partnership with Arab countries, and China-Arab relations reached a new historic starting point in 2010 when a strategic cooperative relationship, featuring comprehensive cooperation and common development, was established.

Moreover, China has expedited opening-up along its border areas and sped up infrastructure development in these areas to boost cross-border trade and exchanges. China has underlined interconnection and intercommunication with its neighbors as the key part of cooperation, and a cooperation fund has been set up to improve the transport infrastructure with a combined network of roads, railways and waterways.

The realization of the Chinese Dream will further unite Asian countries in a common destiny. Withstanding the pressure during the Asian financial crisis that began in 1997, China promised not to devalue the yuan and actively participated in the aid projects organized by the International Monetary Fund, which considerably eased the pressure on the Asian economy and led it to its recovery.

With the global financial crisis rumbling on, China has boosted regional trade and financial cooperation, which is helping to overcome the hardships and maintaining financial and economic stability in Asia and the world at large. In the long run, China will continue to deepen its exchanges and cooperation with other Asian countries so that Asia will carry more global weight.

Asia is facing issues left over from history as well as new challenges, but China has always prioritized regional stability and progress and been settling them through dialogue and consultation. It is in the overall interests of Asia that member states seek common ground, enhance their mutual understanding and maintain the development momentum of Asia.

We have more than enough reasons to believe that the Chinese and Asian dreams can exist in perfect harmony, and both the Chinese people and their Asian counterparts can get along with each other on the path to realizing their dreams.

The author is a Beijing-based scholar of international relations.

(China Daily 07/16/2013 page8)

 

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