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The rise of china as a world leader and the balance in international order

The end of communism in Eastern Europe, fall of Berlin War, Unification of Germany and disintegration of the Soviet Union marked the collapse of the bi-polar order and the end of the Cold War. The signing of Maastricht Treaty, establishment of the European Union, creation of single European currency and three rounds of EU enlargement made the European Union a big player in international arena.

Global financial crisis in 2008 resulted in global economic downturn, eurozone debt crisis had undermined European economy, jeopardized the existence of the euro for a time. As China started to introduce economic reform and openness in 1978, market-oriented reform has born fruits, China has maintained highest economic growth rate in the world, become the one of the global economic powerhouses. How to characterize current world order is a great intellectual challenge in academic community.

Different scholars have different opinions over the issue. He assumes that the mystery to be overcome is how divergent historical experiences and values can be shaped into a common order [v]. The world order is changing over time, distribution of power capabilities in international system and interaction of great powers can lead to the incremental or radical change of the world order.

The world order is moving from uni-polarity towards multi-polarity. It has well-functioning market economy and largest economy in the world, it accounts for 24. It has dynamic financial system, American dollar remains the largest international reserve currency.

  • As a result, although the rise of China has caused concerns in the US and other parts of the world that China is to assert itself in its region and further afield and become a revolutionary power to undermine the existing world order, China is still abided largely by the established rules of the world order, engaging in reforms to revise rather than rewrite the norms and principles;
  • The 21st century has seen a multipolarity rather than Chinese hegemony in the region;
  • Historically, to bandwagon with a rising power is common practice due to potentially great relative gains;
  • The second challenge is internal to China;
  • This proposal recognises that human beings have only one earth and proposes that all nations must coexist in this shared space.

America takes the lead in cutting-edge technology and innovation, it was ranked as second in Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018.

These actions maybe perceived as an approach of hreculer pour mieux sauter. It is expected the rise of china as a world leader and the balance in international order America still committed to maintain global hegemony. The European Union with 28 member states as a super-national organization is viewed as a civilian or normative power.

It has strong economic power, but limited military power. It emphasizes soft power over hard power. It likes multilateralism rather than unilateralism. The EU as largest trade bloc in the world has influence over global economy, Eurozone as monetary union with 19 member states has global ramifications. The EU takes a leading role in globally fighting climate change. After the big bang enlargement in 2004, the EU has experienced multiple crises, from constitutional crisis to Euro debt crisis, from Ukraine crisis to security crisis, from migration crisis to Brexit crisis.

These crises undermine the EU as a credible actor in international arena. When the EU is confronted with the uncertainty of Trump presidency to commitment to international order, the EU finds out chance to rethink about its role in international system. In spite of different perceptions about the world order and occasional frictions between Europe and America, there are more common interests than differences in the defence of the world order dominated by the West. It is not rational to blow out of proportion of the differences between the EU and America.

Russia remains a major player in Eurasian continent as successor state of the Soviet Union and Tsarist Russia. Because of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia ceased to be an empire. Russia has not recovered from the loss of empire as President Putin refereed the breakup of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical tragedy in 20th century.

After Putin came into power, Russia has started to pursue confrontational approach towards the West, oppose NATO enlargement, restore its influence in the space of former Soviet Union, reclaimed great power status in the world.

Russia initiated Eurasian Union to bind the former Soviet republics together to counteract the influence of the EU. Russia regards the former Soviet space as its sphere of influence, makes use of every opportunity to retake lost ground. Russia is not hesitant to use of force to defend its interests, one of the example is Russia sized the opportunity of Ukraine political crisis to annex Crimea, make Eastern Ukraine become the zone of frozen conflict.

Russia is very critical of the world order dominated by the West, it does not hide its intention to see the end the world order and formation of the post-West world order [vi]. The relationship between Russia and the West is not limited in geopolitical rivalry, the accused Russian intervention in election in the United States and other West countries demonstrates the complicacy of the relations. Russia has strong military power, but its economy is heavily depended on export of oil and natural gas.

Russia economy suffers as long as the commodities have lower price. Russia economic growth has been sluggish after 2008, stalled structural reform and Western sanction constitute impediments for economic growth. Since China introduced market-oriented economic reform in 1978, China has transformed its economic system from centrally planned economy to market economy, achieved remarkable record of economic growth in the last four decades.

Based on the relative faster growth rate than the US, it is matter of time to overtake America to become the largest economy in the world. China plays an important in the global economy, it has been the largest contributor of the world growth after 2008. Sustainable economic growth makes China to increase military spending possible, China has made stride in modernization of armed forces.

China has narrowed down its distance in sciences and technology, its ranking in Global Innovation Index moved from 29th in 2011 to 22nd in 2017. China has its high-tech companies, for example, Alibaba, Tencent, Huawei, Baidu, etc. The world order is evolving, fall of the developed West and the rise of developing countries will result in the changes in relative strength. The rise of trade protectionism, economic nationalism, populism and ethnic nationalism in the West has led to the West countries not able to cope with political, economic and social challenges effectively.

The struggle between Forces for de-globalization and forces for globalization is far from over. When the US retreated in global economy, China has become the proponent of open globalization and free trade. China and other emerging powers still focus on economic development, make use of comparative advantages to develop in order to catch up with the developed West.

The rise of emerging powers and change of relations among great powers will dramatically alter the balance of power and shape the international order. China draws distinction between world order and international order, as the world order always equals to the US-led world the rise of china as a world leader and the balance in international order.

Madam Fu assumed that the US-led world order rests on three pillars: Fu Yin emphasized that China has a strong sense of belonging to this order, as China is one of its founders and is a beneficiary, a contributor, as well as part of its reform efforts [viii]. Rather, what they want is to reform and improve the system to keep up with the times. What China envisions the international order is not fully compatible with the America-dominated world order.

  • It has strong economic power, but limited military power;
  • John Ikenberry, 2008 , many in the US have increasingly worried that a rising China may want to challenge the US leadership and overhaul the underlying rules of the existing world order;
  • How to characterize current world order is a great intellectual challenge in academic community.

China does not fully embrace the US-dominated world order. One the one hand, China is a contributor of current international order, on the other hand, China is a reformer of current international order. The collapse of the current international order is not in the interests of China, therefore, China seeks to defend current international order find out its place.

In this sense, Mr. Xi Jinping highlighted in his address in 19th party congress last year that China will be a staunch upholder of the international order.


President Xi put forward the idea of building a community with a shared future for mankind, the conception is the continuation of the previous ideas in post-Cold War era, for example, building new political and economic order, pursuing the path of peaceful development and building harmonious world. Based on the vision of building community of shared future for humankind and judgement about international situation, Mr. Xi Jinping sent the message to the world what kind of role China will play in international order.

The message is quite clear, China will be an architect of world peace, China will be a stalwart of global development, China will be a staunch upholder of the international order. As for the way of diplomacy, China seeks communication rather than confrontation, China seeks partnership rather than alliance.

China pursues independent and peaceful foreign policies, defends its legitimate interests, dedicates to construct stable and balanced framework for relations with great powers. China realized that the current global economic order does not fit well for itself, the transition of global economic order should accommodate its needs. China pledged to play its part in global governance, take an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system, and keep contributing Chinese wisdom and strength to global governance.

China’s vision for a new world order

This is regarded as the public goods that China provides for the world. The BRI is a comprehensive initiative, including political communication, policy coordination, infrastructure building, connectivity, trade and investment, financial integration and people-to-people exchange.

The BRI is a geo-economic conception rather than a geo-political strategy.

  • When we formulate foreign policies, we should always keep in mind that China is still in the primary stage of socialism, China is still the largest developing country;
  • The rise of trade protectionism, economic nationalism, populism and ethnic nationalism in the West has led to the West countries not able to cope with political, economic and social challenges effectively.

The BRI is not based on geopolitical rivalry, rather than it is based on economic cooperation, mutual trust and mutual benefit. If we examine the official discourse and narrative, geopolitics is beyond consideration. The Belt and Road initiative is for open cooperation, with economic and cultural cooperation being the focus. China as one of the beneficiaries of the globalization, strongly supports the globalization process, opposes different kinds of protectionism.

In essence, the BRI is the continuation of opening policy. The BRI is a loose, flexible arrangement, it contrasts sharply with the usually treaty-based or rule-based integration model. The BRI is one of the most important initiative in the last 3 decades, if it is implemented adequately, it will shape the global economic order. President Xi proposed to build a new model of a major power relationship with the United States that features non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

When president Xi visited the United States in 2015, he stated there is no such thing as the so-called Thucydides trap in the world, but should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves [xiv]. How to prudently manage the differences and conflicts in the field of economy and security will be the test for decision-makers in Beijing and Washington. Building sound and stable relationship with the EU, major European powers and Russia could contribute to the smoothly transition of the international order.

As a rising power, China has to learn how to live with established powers, how to protect the interests of emerging powers. China has not finished the tasks of reforms, China has no intention to export its development model and ideology. When we formulate foreign policies, we should always keep in mind that China is still in the primary stage of socialism, China is still the largest developing country.

Global ambition has to be matched by national strength, China will bear international responsibility within its capacity. She thought a global order should provide a common roof for all.

This common roof of global order should at least have three major institutional capabilities: It should be constructed around three pillars: In the multi-polar world, conflict among different visions of global order is inevitable, only through interaction among different visions of global order, new global order can be shaped.

In Guardian, 20170219, https: Ten reasons China, U. Outgoing German minister, 20180219, https: