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The world is Xi's oyster, says Banyan in the 6 December issue of The Economist. |
The author comments on Mr Xi's speech of foreign affairs that it had three main messages. The first, which was largely implicit, is that China is now a great power and needs a foreign policy—and international respect—to match. Mr Xi seemed to suggest that China could no longer “hide its light” as Deng Xiaoping used to urge. The second is that the world order and China’s neighbourhood are in flux. The trend, he argued, was to a “multipolar” world. But his audience would have understood this to mean that American power has begun to wane as China’s waxes. The third is that, although China will be no pushover when its interests are threatened, this delicate process can be managed peacefully, as a “win-win” for it and the outside world.
He also concludes that not only Mr Xi, but also its neighbours and America agreed that a prosperous, strong China, comfortable with its place in the global order, is preferable to a poor, weak and angry one. But on some issues, it is impossible for both sides to win. Most fundamentally, China’s aspiration for regional leadership challenges American naval supremacy in the western Pacific. And little so far suggests that any American leader would be willing to lose enough to let Mr Xi’s China feel it had won.