What China Wants in 2012

BEIJING – With economic globalization and the advent of a multi-polar world, China and other emerging countries are clearly set to play much more important roles not only in 2012, but in the coming decades. As China’s economic power and influence in the world economy have increased following the financial crisis of 2008, the idea has been floated that China and the United States should co-lead the world under some sort of “G-2” arrangement. But such a G-2 framework is not consistent with China’s independent foreign policy, nor with the general trend towards wider dispersion of geopolitical power within the international community. Although China’s senior leadership will change this year, this position will not change.

Indeed, when China’s Premier Wen Jiabao visited Prague in May 2009 for the 11th China-European Union summit, he explained that China is opposed to the G-2 concept. It is China’s firm intention never to seek hegemony, nor to support global domination by a small minority of countries.

What China does believe in is deepening cooperation with all of the world’s major regions. Consider Europe – a splendid and time-honored civilization, and now a major player on the world stage. The progressive deepening of EU integration has brought dynamic vigor to the European continent; despite Europe’s current difficulties, it still boasts extraordinary overall strength and international influence.

China has always supported European integration, and hopes that the EU will become a pillar of international order. In the wake of the global financial crisis and the eurozone’s sovereign-debt crisis, China has bought government bonds, made direct investments, and sent business delegations to Europe. During Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero’s visit to Beijing in April 2011, Wen reaffirmed China’s willingness to continue purchasing Spanish government bonds as a further demonstration of our support for Europe’s efforts to emerge from its crisis. Moreover, China’s huge market and labor pool have created important opportunities for Europe.