Tuesday, May 11, 2010

China To Emerge as World Power To Take up Stakeholder Responsibilities

According to a publication entitled '2010 China Urban Competitiveness Blue Book' which was released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences two days ago, China may become the world's most important economic decisionmaking center after 10 years. The publication also said that after a period of 40 years, China can expect to become the world's second most powerful country after the United States.

World's Influential Power
When Prof Wang Yukai, of the Chinese National School of Administration, accepted Lianhe Zaobao's interview, although he held reservation over the two forecasts about China as mentioned by the '2010 China Urban Competitiveness Blue Book', nevertheless, Prof Wang did acknowledge that it was an undeniable fact that China's influential power in the world community has expanded gradually. He cited some important events that happened recently to prove his point. He said the most convincing example is that China's voting weight in the World Bank has jumped to third place, a place that is only after the United States and Japan.

The World Bank's main task is to assist countries, particularly to help reduce poverty in developing countries, and to improve living standards of people in different countries. Over the years, the World Bank has indeed played a major role in these areas. However, since developed countries have taken up high share of voting weight in World Bank for a long period of time, such development has led to majority of World Bank members, which are the developing countries, having to subject to developed countries' control.

Using the World Bank voting weights in 1 November 2004 as an example, the United States has a high 16.4 percent voting weight as a single country. According to the World Bank regulations, any important resolution must obtain more than 85 percent voting weight to get through. In this regard, as a single country, the United States can easily exert its veto right to kill World Bank decision or resolution. Therefore, the World Bank has been accused by many countries as an execution institution formed to help the United States or western countries in the implementation of policy deemed beneficial to their own economic policies.

New Adjustment of Voting Weight
In this round of re-adjustment of the World Bank voting right and voting weight, although the voting weight of the United States has been reduced to 15.85 percent, but such reduction in voting weight still will not affect the United States' unilateral power to veto World Bank's decision. Overall, the greater disadvantage in the round of World Bank's voting right adjustment is Japan because its voting weight has now been reduced to 6.84 percent. On the other hand, China's voting weight has all of a sudden increased from the previous 2.77 percent to the present 4.42 percent.

Such increment has surpassed that of Germany, Britain, France and other developed countries. This new adjustment of voting weight on China has allowed China to rank in the third position in term of voting right and weight. From this recent adjustment of the World Bank's top three countries with highest voting weight percentage, one can clearly observe China's international influence, or at least its influence in the World Bank, is on the rise. Relatively speaking, Japan's influence in the World Bank is on the decline.

Striking Feature
However, what made China's voting right and weight right different from Japan and the United States is that China is only a developing country. As a matter of fact, when developed countries made a shift of 3.13 percent voting weight toward the developing countries, China on its own as a single country has obtained 1.65 percentage voting weight. This has accounted for more than half of the voting weight meant for developing countries.

As the world's largest developing country and as the biggest beneficiary among developing countries in this round of World Bank voting weight adjustment, we trust that from now onwards, China has the duty and responsibility to speak for the developing countries in World Bank's decision making process. This is a venue China can help to maintain the benefits and welfare of the people of the world's majority countries.

However, such development for China in the World Bank does not mean that within the World Bank framework, China must take confrontational stance with the developed countries led by the United States. Rather, China should unanimously accept the rule of game observed by both developed and developing nations within the World Bank framework to, through negotiation method, fight for right and benefit for the developing countries. In fact, in this round of adjustment in voting weight, the World Bank has to adjust the voting weight of the developing countries because all World Bank members have gone through many rounds of negotiation and consultation to reach the present compromised adjustment.

Emerging Current Economic Big Power
After three decades of reform and opening up, China has from the past populous country emerged as the current economic big power. We trust that if without any unexpected event that can happen along its path of development, China will not only become an economically strong country, China will also become the world's strong power positioned to lead the world in politics, economics, military, education, culture, science and technology, and arts. In other words, this ancient civilization with five thousand years of history and culture behind it will now play a stronger and stronger influential role in this modem world and in really, China's influential power has already been felt by the world community.

Nevertheless, unlike those western powers that have emerged one after another to dominate the world scene in the past few centuries, China has taken the path of peaceful emergence. China should continue to stick to this doctrine of peaceful rise and shoulder the international responsibilities that befit its status as a world power. China cannot subvert the existing international order, but should only constantly perfect the international order under the premise that it has accepted such a world order. China should feel happy to shoulder international responsibilities as stakeholder that commensurate with its national strength. Such status of China as a world power will obviously do more good than harm to the world nations.

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