Written by: Ibrahim Bin Haroon, PRCCSF Fellow, Islamabad
This article presents the role of the People’s Republic of China in building an international society with shared values and an economy. The article explains the Chinese role in contemporary world politics and the emerging economy which further elaborates on how China is working to influence the regional and global dynamics with a brisk moving economy. The article explains how China is using unconventional & nonmilitary means of development to excel in the regional and global arena. The article will also cover the Chinese ambitions on creating a regional and international scenario with shared values and beliefs through miraculous development in the economy.
“We should reaffirm our commitment to the goals and tenets of the United Nations charter, develop a new framework for international relations based on reciprocal cooperation, and establish a human community with a shared destiny.”
(President Xi Jinping, General Debate, United Nations General Assembly, 70th session, September 28, 2015)
China aims to pursue an international foreign policy of peace and to diligently work with the international community, especially its close neighbours. The Chinese national policy objects to and denies the critical arms development in the world but rather sights on developing a position for the state which is favourable for cooperation and friendly relations with the neighbourly states. Chinese foreign policy extensively stresses the point of Open Policy, which firmly believes in having cooperative relations with the developing world which will create a mutually beneficial environment to uplift the developing countries as well as China.
China has been marketing its stance for a greater community in the world for a long time now. The concept lies with ‘the Chinese community of common destiny’ where China wants to build a space and environment with multilateral efforts put into on a very great scale. China also included this as a clause in its constitution in 2017. The United Nations also endorsed Chinese ambitions by including their concept in UN resolutions less than 2344. China has taken this as a responsibility and exercised its stance as a part of its foreign policy in order to promote world peace. China has not limited the outreach for the promotion of world peace and security but rather has covered each and every segment of contemporary human society from climate change to health issues, including security dilemmas and economic integration or cooperation.
CHINA’S AIMS FOR A GLOBAL COMMUNITY
i. CULTURAL & EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS:
President Xi Jinping in his address to Geneva in 2017 clearly mentioned that China does not only value economic integration and development but also focuses on the value promotion of cultural exchange and human connections & sustainable development.
In recent times China has developed more cultural connections with more than 143 countries offering more than 700 cultural exchange programs. Usually, Beijing conducts 2000 plus cultural programs with more than 30,000 participants annually. China has hosted many cultural events including the ‘cultural years’ and cultural festivals involving sports, arts and entertainment on an international level with European and western countries, not only this but China also engages the neighbouring friendly countries and cultural activities.
More than 28,000 Pakistani students were studying in China before Covid-19, making it the third largest group of foreign students studying in China out of which more than 25% were on Chinese government-funded scholarships which clearly shows the commitment and sincerity of the Chinese government to promote peace, connection and development through education. Student exchange programs are one of the most vital examples of how China is using the educational platform in order to promote human friendship, connections and cultural outreach. More than 274 universities in China are offering scholarships for international students every year.
ii. PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS:
One of the prime examples of Chinese commitment to multilateralism comes from its involvement in UN peacekeeping missions. China has recently become one of the top 10 contributors to UN peacekeeping missions. After President Xi Jinping’s commitment to the Peace and Development Corporation in 2015, China drastically increased the number of police and armed forces individuals to participate in UN peacekeeping missions. It has almost 2500 plus individuals on UN peace missions right now mostly deployed in Africa. An increase of over 1000 individuals was seen directly in one year just right after President Xi’s address to the UN assembly in 2015 more than 3000 individuals were providing their services for peacekeeping missions.
Beijing’s involvement in the African region is also an example of Chinese commitment to its diplomatic and economic interests and forming diplomatic ties with its African partners. Moreover, China has used this connection in order to promote economic interest with extensive outreach of the BRI into the African region. Beijing has also been placed as the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget with roughly more than $6 Billion annually just behind the United States in terms of financial input.
iii. EFFORTS DURING THE GLOBAL CRISIS: THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC:
In 2019, a deadly virus erupted. China as a nation took responsibility to engage on the global level to prevent and curb the damage posed by the novel disease. President Xi Jinping’s efforts in this regard are meant to be praised. President Xi met and engaged more than 50 foreign leaders up to mid-May 2019 in order to develop a policy to curb and contain the damage of this disease. He also participated in the G20 summit and raised the issue activity and also on the World Health Week and announced humanitarian assistance for the least developed countries.
China being a leading name in information technology has also helped to spread the information regarding the spreadable disease. Using the advanced research-based system and then utilizing the technology in order to spread it through the internet and IT-based system has also been Beijing’s priority. The initial preventive measures, treatment and diagnosis are based on the Chinese efforts to control the spread of covid-19 across the border.
CHINA’S ECONOMIC EFFORTS:
“The fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history.” The World Bank defines China’s economic brisk walk. Beijing has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world with an annual growth of more than 9.5% GDP. It is leading all aspects of economic growth in the world including purchasing power parity, foreign exchange reserves and manufacturing. China has included the multilateral approach in its foreign policy to uplift underdeveloped and developing economies. The examples include economic programs in the African region and most importantly with Pakistan and many other central Asian states.
AIMS OF THE BELT & ROAD INITIATIVE:
Belt and Road Initiative was launched by President Xi in 2013 with an aim of developing a world trade route which would promote peace and sustainable development around the globe, the project is extended from Asia through Europtill Africa making it one of history’s most dynamic, extended and huge multilateral projects benefiting 3 continents. The 6 corridors economic initiative is a revision of the great historical Silk route connecting China with Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean and even the Arabian and the Persian Gulf.
PROJECTS AND PRIORITIES IN THE BRI:
The BRI project has covered almost all aspects and all fields which are essential to a country’s economic development and progress. From the energy sector to transport including Information technology, infrastructure development, development of Special economic development, maritime development and manufacturing as well. The main aim of BRI is to connect people and provide financial integration and infrastructure development through its projects. China plans on developing 50 plus special economic zones to provide regional connectivity stretching from Asia to Africa with an estimated investment to be over $60 Billion with two third of the world participating in the project.
In a nutshell, China wants to create a ‘win-win situation for the world. The leadership is creating a world where unlike before, weapons and ammunition are not the sources of power or influence instead they are using ‘economic outreach to create a society where everyone will reap the benefits of the financial development.