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China can meet US, Europe where their interests converge

The promoter of China's 'peaceful rise' argues that China needs a new approach in its relations with the United States and Europe. Beijing should build on common interests, such as investment in each other's countries, stability in global hot spots, and climate change.

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In 1992, Deng Xiaoping, architect of China’s reform and opening up, toured some cities in south China. During the trip, he made remarks urging the whole nation to be bold in pushing forward reform and opening to the outside world. His milestone remarks led to double-digit economic growth in the 10 years between 1992 and 2002. Some people abroad were astonished. They wondered where China was going. Would China follow the footsteps of industrialized countries or the former Soviet Union?

To answer their questions and worries, I devoted much of my time to the studies of Chinese history and the history of the rise of former colonial powers and the Soviet Union. The result of my studies can be seen in my thesis on China’s peaceful rise that I put forward in 2002. Given the experience of the Chinese nation and the changes in international situation, China, I argued, is bound to take the path of peaceful rise.

China’s peaceful rise does not just concern China alone. In handling international relations, therefore, I believe we need a new approach. That was why I have proposed that China should build on its “convergence of interests” with other countries and devote its effort to building “communities of interests” in various fields and at various levels.

The world today is different from that of the 20th and 19th centuries. Thanks to globalization, the interests of various countries are so interwoven that one country’s misfortune or crisis may spread to or affect other countries. There are more and more convergences of interests in the world. To enlarge on those areas of overlapping interests is to add bricks to the building of communities of interests.

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