China can meet US, Europe where their interests converge
The promoter of China's 'peaceful rise' argues that China needs a new approach in its relations with the United States and Europe. Beijing should build on common interests, such as investment in each other's countries, stability in global hot spots, and climate change.
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Europe’s most serious challenges come from within the European Union itself, rather than from other parts of the world. European countries face the pressing task of balancing budgets, sovereign debt repayment, economic recovery, and raising its international competitiveness.Skip to next paragraph
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To address our respective challenges, we all need a stable external environment, gradual reform of the international system, and a moderate approach to global governance.
Herein lies our greatest common interest. If China, the United States, and Europe all consider the stability of the other side and that of the international system as in their own interest, then a solid foundation can be laid for building communities of interests among us.
China is a major trade partner of both the United States, the biggest economy in the world, and Europe, the biggest economic grouping. Our economies are highly interdependent with each other. China, for example, holds a foreign currency reserve worth of $3.2 trillion US. It needs an outlet.
Appreciation of RMB is no way out. Investment benefits all. The United States and Europe are devoting great efforts to creating jobs. If Chinese enterprises can invest more in the US and Europe, there will be more jobs for the Americans and Europeans. In the other direction, there are also great opportunities for American and European business people to invest in China. What is important is to reduce and even tear down trade and investment barriers. In order to maintain stability of the world economy, we also need to strengthen consultations about the reform of the monetary system and financial regulation system.
Indeed, there are many other areas where our interests converge. Climate change and clean energy are two promising areas of cooperation. China and the US are the two biggest energy consumers, oil importers, and carbon emitters. Europe is also highly dependent on oil imports, which will reach 70 percent of its energy consumption in 2030.
Clean energy cooperation can offer great possibilities for our economic growth and technological innovation to the benefit of all sides. Other areas of converging interest include security in cyberspace, outer space, and maritime zones. These are areas that have a bearing on the security of mankind as a whole. They should be considered as “common spaces,” or, in more economic jargon, “global public goods.” It is necessary to establish common rules and ways of operation in all these areas through consensus.
With regard to security in East Asia (Northeast and Southeast Asia), there is a lot that China and the US can do together to maintain stability there and prevent any accident from evolving into an international crisis on the Korean peninsula. Although there are divergent interests and disputes, all countries concerned have realized that maintaining peace and stability and protecting shipping safety in the South China Sea is in their best interests.