In an exclusive piece for TOI, Chinese ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui calls for China and India to together stand up to US trade “bullying” and build an Asian century
A high-level Chinese delegation attended WTO Ministerial Meeting of Developing Countries hosted by India last week. The outcome document reiterated the priority status of WTO in the formulation of global trade rules and governance. It stressed that core values and basic principles of WTO shall be upheld and WTO reform process must reflect concerns of developing members. It is another epitome of China and India jointly upholding multilateral trading system and the interests of developing countries to oppose trade bullying and achieve win-win cooperation.
According to research of British economist Angus Maddison, over the past 2000 years, the GDP of China and India combined had accounted for 50% of the world’s total for as long as 1600 years. Since modern times, both China and India suffered from hegemonism and “gunboat diplomacy”. The new round of globalization, as well as multilateral trading system originating from the end of 20th century, provided valuable historical opportunities for China and India to integrate into world economy. China and India have been learning from each other and have conducted practical cooperation in areas such as economic governance, policy synergy and industrial cooperation. China’s and India’s economy continue to boom and their comprehensive national strength and global influences continue to increase and expand significantly. The national rejuvenation of China and India is within reach.
However, the way forward will never be smooth. Against the backdrop of surging trade protectionism, emerging economies have been constantly pressurized, bullied or even contained by a certain developed country, which seeks supremacy and is determined to act wilfully. It resorts to new “magic weapons”, such as withdrawing from international organizations, abrogating agreements, wielding sticks of tariffs, creating blockage and imposing sanctions. Disregarding its international credibility, it seeks to promote self-interest through extreme pressure and by breaching promises. It advocates “Self-interests First”, clamours for the “clash of civilizations” between the West and the East, as well as between the white and the colored, inciting nationalist sentiments.
As the second largest economy in the world, China falls major victim to this round of pressure and bullying from the United States. China always upholds that slapping tariff does not help solve any problems, and differences should be addressed through consultations based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. A trade war will only be detrimental to both sides. China does not want, and is not willing to fight a trade war but by no means is it afraid to fight one. China remains committed to addressing disputes through negotiations and never yields to any outside pressure. If someone brings the war to our doorstep, China will fight to the end. The US also abuses “national security standards” and suppresses Chinese Company Huawei on 5G, which neither side could gain. At the same time, we should be aware that no eggs can remain unbroken when the nest is upset. The US does not only target China, but also the EU, Japan, Canada and Mexico to realize its interests. India is also the victim to the bullying, which includes imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum products, threatening to end the Generalized System of Preference, and crippling the WTO disputes settlement system to create the “Graduation Theory” of developing countries. If countries do not make concerted efforts to safeguard the existing rules of global economic governance, no one can escape from its harm.
Recently, US officials clamoured for the so-called “clash of civilizations”. It is nothing new but an upgraded version of Huntington’s theory in the 1990s. It probably intends to glorify its history of genocide against the American Indians in the early years of USA or to find theoretical basis for waging a trade war, which should be guarded against. The exchanges between Chinese and Indian civilizations set a model for inter-civilizational exchanges in Asia and beyond. It is based on mutual understanding and trust. The so-called clash or conflict of civilizations doesn’t exist. Though differences among civilizations are only natural, differences do not mean conflicts. It could be addressed through exchanges, mutual learning, dialogue and cooperation among different civilizations. The Chinese side respects differences, uniqueness and diversity of different civilizations and does not believe conflicts exist among civilizations. Nor has China the intention or gene to transform or replace other civilizations. We strongly oppose the conspiracy of politicizing differences among civilizations, or making it an excuse for stirring up conflicts between countries. This is the broad consensus reached during the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations (CDAC) hosted by China recently.
As ancient eastern civilizations, both China and India share the philosophy of harmonious relations, inclusiveness, mutual benefits and win-win outcomes. In the future, China and India should comprehensively deepen mutual political trust, economic and trade cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges. We should push forward connectivity to promote cooperation, enhance mutual understanding through cooperation, foster friendship through mutual understanding, and establish mutual trust through friendship, thus forming a positive cycle. In the international arena, we should jointly address challenges in global governance such as anti-globalization, unilateralism and trade protectionism. China and India should also join hands to build an Asian Century, a new type of international relations and a community with shared future for mankind to embrace various booming civilizations.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.