Western nations must respect China's peaceful rise

The Chinese national flag flies behind security cameras outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, China on Nov 22, 2017.
The Chinese national flag flies behind security cameras outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, China on Nov 22, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

I don't agree with the speculation that when China becomes the world's No. 1 superpower, it will use its military power to coerce smaller countries in Asia to succumb to its wishes (Don't underestimate China's ambition, by Mr Roy Goh Hin Soon, Jan 31).

The commentary by Professor Kishore Mahbubani reaffirmed that contrary to Western analyses, China has not become more aggressive militarily (How the US and China can avoid war, Jan 27).

The Obama administration reneged on its promise of not taking sides and stepped up patrols on the pretext of freedom of navigation and overflight by sending warships and military bombers, which prompted China to construct defensive installations on the islands. Colonisation is not in the DNA of this 5,000-year-old civilisation. China's current leaders have repeatedly said it would never become a hegemony and threat to other nations. The US and Western nations need to understand and respect China's history, culture and its peaceful rise to be self-reliant.

It may not be a liberal democracy but China has proven that capitalism and socialism can co-exist and work for the global community's benefit.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2019, with the headline 'Western nations must respect China's peaceful rise'. Print Edition | Subscribe