A seminar on the hot International Issues of 2013 was recently held in Beijing, hosted by the Academic Division of International Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). CASS President Wang Weiguang attended the meeting and delivered a speech.
Wang Weiguang pointed out that studies of international issues should serve domestic economic and social development as well as socialist construction with Chinese characteristics. For the past 30 and more years since the reform and opening up, socialism with Chinese characteristics has achieved remarkable successes. He added that the international situation is currently very delicate, and researchers of international current affairs should put forward concrete suggestions on how to accurately judge the situation, and how to maintain a good international environment which is favourable to China’s development.
Wang Weiguang emphasized that researchers should look at international issues from the perspectives of history, overall situation and strategy. He added that all current international issues are rooted in historical development. The important period of strategic opportunities which China is nowadays faced with is rooted in a series of major historical events such as the end of the Second World War, the drastic changes which came across the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the anti-terrorist wars of the U.S. and the international financial crises. Wang pointed out that only by eventually reaching political conclusions on international issues concerning politics, economy and culture can researchers provide intellectual aid for the Party’s decision-making, and make a real contribution to the realization of the Chinese dream.
Zhang Yunling, director of the Academic Division of International Studies of CASS, presided over the meeting. Department leaders and researchers from institutes of the Academic Division of International Studies attended the meeting, as well as experts and scholars from other institutions.
Zhang Yunling noted that at present there are four important characteristics in the international situation facing China: the first is the rapid speed of change, the second is that China is playing an important role within many international trends, the third is that within China there is an ever greater need for accurate judgments of the international situation, and finally domestic society is focusing increasingly on international issues.
Looking at future global economic trend, CASS member Yu Yongding said that in 2014 there may be a stronger economic recovery in the US, but the long-term growth rate of the US economy is predicted to remain at 2% or less, with the growth rate of its labour supply and labour productivity constantly slowing down. He added that in the case of Europe, although its financial stability has begun to recover, it is still doubtful whether the current financial situation will remain sustainable over the long term, with no real progress in solving the public debt problem which is the cause of the financial crisis. Yu noted that in general there will be a slow rise for the global economy, but the change in the direction of global capital flows is worthy of high attention as the Federal Reserve (FED) is gradually withdrawing from quantitative easing (QE).
The year 2014 marks both the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the 120th anniversary of Jiawu War (the First Sino-Japanese War) . Recently, many people have begun to reflect on the causes of World War I, and compare today’s global situation with that of a hundred years ago. “Nowadays the world situation is surprisingly similar with what it was a hundred years ago. However, a hundred years ago the West was rising while the East was declining, and today it is just the opposite,” said Ruan Zongze, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies. He added that in 2014 the global situation remains unclear, and the global system is clearly unstable. Reflecting on the First World War can help people confront the current situation more prudently.
Zhang Yuyan, director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at CASS, said that China can be defined in the following way – a socialist country, a developing country, a country highly dependent on the outside world, a country confronted with threats from domestic separatist forces, a country going through the historical process of national rejuvenation and a country with a large population. He stressed that China needs to pursue and defend five different interests which include security, resources and energy, markets, technology and national identification.
It is indispensable for China to establish favorable relations with other countries in a bid to efficiently safeguard its basic national interests in the world. There have been a lot of positive responses to China’s proposal to build a new pattern of relationships between the two great powers of China and the US. The experts present pointed out that the concept of “a common destiny” put forward by President Xi Jinping should be treated as the value basis of the idea of “a new pattern of relationships between major countries”. They also said that it should be known globally that China seeks common development with other countries, and that its rise is not a zero-sum game.
Other issues were also discussed during the meeting, including the relations between great powers and regions, and certain pressing international and regional problems.
The Chinese version appeared in Chinese Social Sciences Today (CASS Special Edition), No. 229, January 3, 2014.
Chinese link: http://cass.cssn.cn/yaowen/201401/t20140103_934722.html
Translated by Yu Hui
Revised by Gabriele Corsetti