China believes in peaceful rise, says senior official

Madam Yan Junqi with members of the Chinese delegation and RSIS staff yesterday, including Mr Ong Keng Yong (beside her); Mr Fang Xinwen (behind her), charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Singapore; and Mr Liu Hongcai (behind Mr Ong), deputy h
Madam Yan Junqi with members of the Chinese delegation and RSIS staff yesterday, including Mr Ong Keng Yong (beside her); Mr Fang Xinwen (behind her), charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Singapore; and Mr Liu Hongcai (behind Mr Ong), deputy head of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Today's world must be a diverse one with different cultures coexisting, and in such a world, Chinese views and wisdom are necessary if the world is to understand China, a senior Chinese official has said.

"No civilisation or culture should seek to replace or consider itself to be superior to another. And that is the exact message we want to convey to you today," Madam Yan Junqi, vice-chair of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said yesterday.

Madam Yan, who stressed that China believes in a peaceful rise, was replying to ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute research fellow Termsak Chalermpalanupap on what she saw as the world's most serious misunderstanding of China, following her S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) Distinguished Public Lecture at NTU@one-north. Madam Yan said that while some countries hold the view that China would encroach on their interest as it rises, or look down on small nations, the China of today "firmly believes" in a path of peaceful development.

She added that throughout history, other countries had risen to power in different ways, such as through colonialism or waging war, and China had long been subject to such "suffering" at their hands.

This is why China believes in a peaceful rise, and aims "to build a community with a shared future for mankind", she said, reiterating what President Xi Jinping outlined at the Communist Party of China's 19th Party Congress in October. "As we know, prejudice comes from misunderstanding... and prejudice gives rise to fear. If we have fear towards each other, we cannot cooperate well with each other," she added.

Madam Yan also heads the China Association for Promoting Democracy, one of eight other recognised political parties, and is president of the Chinese Association for International Understanding.

COMPETITION NECESSARY

It is quite natural for the US to put America first and also come up with American plans for globalisation, given the many challenges facing the world.

As for the question of strategic rivalry, if we consider that all countries are providers of public goods to the world market, we can see that competition in this world market is quite necessary because it will help improve the quality of the public goods.

If there is a monopoly by one country, then we can see that the public goods provided in the market will be of low quality.

MR ZHU RUI, secretary-general of the Chinese Association for International Understanding. He was on an RSIS panel in Singapore yesterday.

At the dialogue moderated by RSIS executive deputy chairman Ong Keng Yong, Madam Yan fielded questions on China's politics and development, and how the Chinese government is seeking to alleviate poverty, among others.

In her lecture, she outlined China's goals from putting environmental protection as a priority, to its aim to build a "moderately prosperous society" by 2020. She said Singapore is "an important channel for China to develop its relationship with the world", and for the West to understand China. And China is willing to have a "deeper relationship" with Singapore so that both can contribute to world and regional peace and stability.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2017, with the headline 'China believes in peaceful rise, says senior official'. Print Edition | Subscribe