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Sleeping China awakened in 2015

Posted December. 28, 2015 13:23,   


It seems that China is finishing the year with a large-scale avalanche caused by illegal construction in China`s southern province of Guangdong, a leading province for China’s reform and opening up, and “half-paralyzed” state in Beijing Capital International Airport due to air pollution. The nation’s leaders, however, are working to change the course of its “diplomacy with the middle eastern countries.”

On Dec. 22, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, who was visiting the nation and issued a joint communique for building a strategic partnership. The communique has included the mutual cooperation over “One Belt, One Road" (a development strategy and framework for the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road) and Iraq’s economic reconstruction and energy.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem made a visit to China on Dec. 23. China`s Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi met him on the next day and promised to offer an humanitarian aid of 40 million Chinese yuan (approx. 6.2 million U.S. dollars). At the 3rd foreign ministers’ meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) held on Dec. 21 in New York, Wang Yi expressed his willingness to invite Syrian government officials and leaders of opposing forces to China. If the peace negotiation for Syrian civil war is held in Beijing, it seems that China would enjoy heavier responsibilities and higher status since the nation has been pushed aside in the international community. There has been a report that the Chinese president is now reviewing his plan to visit Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran in January next year.

China’s aggressive “new policy for Middle Eastern nations” embraces key countries in the Arab region, which has many things in common with its aggressive diplomacy policy, such as building an artificial islands in the South China Sea standing against the U.S. policy of “Rebalancing Toward Asia," China`s rising stature in the global finance by setting up Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Chinese yuan`s entry into IMF`s Special Drawing Rights basket, and declaration as a military power at the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3. These are telling sign that “China awakened.”

As if being reminded of Napoleon’s analogy “China is a sleeping lion. When China awakens, the world will be shaken” in the early 19th century, President Xi said “Sleeping China awakened” on his visit to France in March 2014.

In 2010 when China overtook Japan and became the 2nd largest economy, and the yuan was being evaluated for SDR inclusion, China stopped short of expressing its complaint against Washington’s objection. After some five years, however, China was included in SDR and the AIIB was officially established this year.

Sharing some 10.29 percent of the UN`s peacekeeping operations expenses in 2016, China would come at the second place after America, overtaking Japan. In its share of UN’s general budget support, Beijing would rank 3rd after Japan with slight difference, appearing to enjoy louder voice in the UN as well.

As the story of “crawling through between legs” by general Han Xin in Han Dynasty shows, China has put up with humiliation when it lacked its capability but strongly demanded the fair treatment once its status was raised. By sitting at a seat of honor in the center, not side by side, at the annual meeting with Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Xi put more emphasis on “one country” rather than “two systems," confirming the rank of “Xi as president and Leung as chief executive of a local government.”

It seems that China would make frequent demands for “correcting its ranks” in a way that matches its raised status in the international community and the rest of the world would have to agonize over how to respond its demand in the future. As China’s neighboring nation, Korea would be no exception.