A top Chinese diplomat has said that China is ready to lead the world economy if other nations should retreat from globalization.
Zhang Jun, the Chinese foreign ministry’s head of international economic affairs, told foreign reporters in Beijing that “if it’s necessary for China to play the role of leader, then China must take on this responsibility,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
Zhang’s comments come just days after President Donald Trump pledged to put “America first” in his inaugural address, which followed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plea for the continuation of global trade at last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“If people want to say China has taken a position of leadership, it’s not because China suddenly thrust itself forward as a leader,” Zhang told the reporters. “It’s because the original front-runners suddenly fell back and pushed China to the front.”
In addition to Trump’s protectionism, British Prime Minister Theresa May recently gave a speech detailing how her government intends to take the U.K. out of the European Union and the EU’s Single Market.x
The Chinese word for “economy” means “for society to prosper and benefit the people”, an aim of governance advocated by Chinese sages in ancient times. It is also an important governance concept cherished by the Communist Party of China. In the first three-quarters of 2016, China’s economy grew by 6.7 percent year-on-year, and its per capita disposable income registered a growth of 6.3 percent. In the first 11 months of the year, China created 12.49 million new jobs in cities and townships and lifted more than 10 million people out of poverty, further raising Chinese people’s sense of well-being and happiness. Against the backdrop of the global economic slowdown, it has really not been easy for China to make these achievements.
And, in recent times, remarkable progress has also been made in China’s infrastructure, such as the railway extension to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the building of a comprehensive highway network throughout the country, the construction of the Three Gorges Dam and multiple ports that better connect the country with the ocean. A set of complete industrial sectors have been established and China has realized a bumper agricultural harvest for many years in succession. At the same time, China has achieved new breakthroughs in its aerospace development and further built up its national defense capabilities.
China is expected to have good economic prospects in 2017. The convention of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China due to take place later this year will formulate and implement some major policy measures, which will bring the market and society positive and stable expectations. Economic globalization and trade liberalization remain the general global economic trends. China is scheduled to host an international cooperation summit forum on the Belt and Road Initiative and the ninth leaders’ meeting of BRICS countries as part of its efforts to push for the building of an innovative, open, interactive, and inclusive world economy. All these mean China will inject into the world economy “Chinese dividends” that are full of hope in 2017.
In his 2017 New Year address, President Xi Jinping stressed that Chinese people have long believed that “the world is a commonwealth”. Chinese people not only hope to live better lives themselves, they also hope people in the rest of the world can as well.
President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the upcoming World Economic Forum Annual Meeting will inevitably facilitate China working with other countries to promote the building of a community of shared destiny and the recovery of the world economy, so the fruits of global development can benefit the people of every country.