China should ease fears over its rise

China has overtaken the United States as the world's largest economy, when measured by purchasing power parity.

But it still deems itself a "developing" economy. If its growth continues at this rate, by the time it becomes a full-fledged developed nation, its economic dominance will be unprecedented in modern history.

A fast-rising China not only brings about many new opportunities but also raises multiple issues with other nations.

Just look at the results of a poll conducted last month by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research (Johoreans 'prefer S'pore investments'; Feb 24).

In Singapore, there is a fear that an increased association with China may dilute our national identity and cause uneasiness among non-Chinese Singaporeans.

The large influx of Chinese immigrants and workers is another cause of anxiety.

Our close economic relationship with China will also make us more vulnerable to any crisis in China, such as the bursting of a property bubble.

Regionally, nations may adopt a new form of neutrality on international issues.

Some may adopt a more China-friendly stance, but the consequences of overdoing this could be severe, since they have to consider their close engagement with Western powers too.

The countries are walking a tightrope. Military ties and alliances may have to undergo some adjustment.

Some nations also worry that China's mounting influence would spill over to their domestic politics.

It is in China's interest to eradicate these anxieties and correct any wrong perceptions or suspicions other nations may have on its external developments.

Albert Ng Ya Ken