China’s advice to Pakistan: peaceful development

Published: June 19, 2013
Email
“China cannot be called an active player in the ME. Such a role is wrongly (attributed to it) by some foreigners” says Li Yuanchao. PHOTO: FILE

“China cannot be called an active player in the ME. Such a role is wrongly (attributed to it) by some foreigners” says Li Yuanchao. PHOTO: FILE

BEIJING: 

China is already the world’s second largest economy, after the United States, and some say it has set a target of surpassing the combined economies of the US, EU and Japan by the time the nation celebrates its diamond jubilee in 2049.

By the time that landmark date comes around, China also aims to become the world’s leading technological power and the main force in global innovation and scientific development.

There have been challenges along the way, and the global recession in particular took a toll on China’s export-oriented growth model, a model that had achieved a stunning growth rate of 9% for the Chinese economy. The recession slowed this rate down, but China responded by trying to boost domestic demand and upgrading the quality of its products.

Thus, when China speaks, the world listens. And at a lunch hosted by China’s vice minister Ai Ping for a 14-member delegation of journalists, writers and parliamentarians round the world, there were many opportunities to both listen and speak.

Even as its international clout grows, China has been careful to avoid the kind of entanglements that have characterised superpower policy. Of course, that’s a term that the Chinese leadership chooses not to use, as one questioner discovered.

“The word ‘Super power’ gives an impression of hegemony,” said Ai Ping, interrupting the questioner before he could finish.

The lunch was followed by a meeting with Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, and after expressing his best wishes for the new government, he too repeated the Chinese refrain, that Pakistan should go for ‘peaceful development’ above all else.

In a characteristically oblique reference to regional conflicts, the VP said that while South Asia had enormous potential for rapid development, “the shadows cast by war cannot be lifted overnight. To address these issues needs patience and good will.” he said in an apparent reference to the situation in Afghanistan and the region.

Without specifying the contentious issues in South and South East Asia, he said the problems will not be easily resolved but that regional countries should strive for peace to achieve development. “We seek the common development of Asia”, he added.

That’s certainly been China’s domestic approach. Giving examples of his country and its goals, he said that by 2020 China will be a moderate income country and by 2049 a prosperous nation.  “We believe that there should be equal opportunities for all. We say to our people if you want a better life, you have to work hard. Be innovative and set up (new) businesses”.

“Every day in China is a new China,” he continues. “If you go to a city after a little while, you cannot recognize it. That’s how rapid the change is.”

All the officials in China during the 10-day visit had similar views when it comes to their country and its goals.

The Chinese vice Minister Ai Ping during a candid interaction said “Our dream is to rejuvenate the Chinese nation. We are still at an initial stage. Still a lot of work has to be done”.

He said that while China’s economy is now the second largest in the world, per capita income is still below the world average. Despite its rapid progress, Chinese officials admit the country has many problems. With unbalanced growth, there is a huge gap between rural and urban incomes, Zaho Bingbing deputy director general of Policy Planning, said during a briefing.

“Our success is rescuing 400 million people from poverty in 20 years” said Professor Pan We from Peking University.  .

In the year 2000, he said the country’s social spending was merely 1 percent of the GDP but in 2013 that figure stands at 12 percent, another remarkable achievement in ameliorating the sufferings of under-privileged segments of society.

But while Chinese leaders willingly talk about their own country, they are more circumspect when discussing international affairs.

When asked about the Chinese role in the Middle East, Li Yuanchao replied, “China cannot be called an active player in the ME. Such a role is wrongly (attributed to it) by some foreigners”.  He said China believes that countries in the Middle East should decide their issues themselves. “History proves that a foreign country cannot do much for development in another country,” he said, giving a message that ultimately one must put his own house in order without relying on foreign-inspired solutions. That seems to be a consistent line of thinking among the Chinese, with many officials repeating a colloquial phrase that stepping into others’ problems always creates more problems. That’s certainly the concept that is at the heart of Chinese foreign policy.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2013.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (19)

  • Faisal
    Jun 19, 2013 - 5:45AM

    VP Li Yuanchao hit nail in the head!

    Recommend

  • Zaida P
    Jun 19, 2013 - 6:24AM

    Best advice a friend can give. Give up the anger and growth will follow.

    Recommend

  • Polpot
    Jun 19, 2013 - 6:53AM

    “the Chinese refrain, that Pakistan should go for ‘peaceful development’ above all else.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Implying thereby that Pakistan is currently not going for peaceful development!

    Recommend

  • Souriya Sakin
    Jun 19, 2013 - 7:01AM

    @Faisal – VP Li Yuanchao hit nail in the head! But you cannot drive a nail through a rock. The security situation which worsens by the day and no foreign entity would dare invest in a country so dangerous as Pakistan.If the citizens are not safe we will NEVER be able to guarantee the safety of foreign nationals and companies who would like to make serious investments in Pakistan, Who suffers from the turmoil if insecurity not the rich politicians, not the affluent rich it the man on the street. Young men and women who have struggled to achieve a decent educations cannot find jobs and as companies look to other Asian countries we in Pakistan are losing big time,

    Recommend

  • Sandip
    Jun 19, 2013 - 7:03AM

    Are the creators of such fanciful strategies like “Strategic Depth”, “Riposte” etc listening? Probably not. They would rather prefer to put wool into their ears when such sane advise is proffered.

    Recommend

  • Polpot
    Jun 19, 2013 - 7:15AM

    So the Chinese are now giving advice instead of money?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Pakistan should return the compliment.

    Recommend

  • sm
    Jun 19, 2013 - 8:01AM

    “History proves that a foreign country
    cannot do much for development in
    another country,”

    this line suites very well for Pakistan.It has long been a political playground of the global powers and to even greater extent the playground for the Arabs,and that’s why the present day crisis.

    Recommend

  • Pragmatist
    Jun 19, 2013 - 8:02AM

    Is China also being pressured by a neighbor to make these statements? This is not usually the language China uses for Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Zain
    Jun 19, 2013 - 8:21AM

    Very good article. The whole world knows that No Country has Friends, only Self Interests. But for some strange reason, almost everyone in Pakistan, mistakenly thinks that China is our One and only Best friend in the whole wide world. Now China’s VP is saying out loud, that they will not play any role in Middle East, they do not want to play any role in its Development, although Pakistan is not in Middle East, but the message is LOUD AND CLEAR, it will be upto Pakistanis in Pakistan to make Pakistan a better place. No one from the outside, specially China will step into to Develop Pakistan for the Pakistanis. It is the job of the Pakistanis to work hard, and do it like everybody else had done to improve their own country. How hard is it for us Pakistanis to understand this simple concept.

    Recommend

  • vasan
    Jun 19, 2013 - 8:32AM

    “ultimately one must put his own house in order without relying on foreign-inspired solutions”
    and of course foreign oriented and religion oriented hatred.

    Recommend

  • antanu
    Jun 19, 2013 - 8:44AM

    this is a true super power. so different with us.we start blabbering if any call us a future super power whereas china is one but dont like the tag.

    Recommend

  • Water Bottle
    Jun 19, 2013 - 9:13AM

    @antanu:

    “this is a true super power. so different with us.we start blabbering if any call us a future super power whereas china is one but dont like the tag.”

    Hehehe! Nobody has ever called Pakistan a future super power.

    Pakistan must heed to China’s advice. This advice is not coming from your foe India. it’s coming from your all-weather friend China.

    This means, renounce all violence targeted at anyone and start looking towards development.

    Recommend

  • Muneeb
    Jun 19, 2013 - 9:43AM

    What is it with Indians and China-Pakistan, whenever they see something remotely associated, they barge in. Specially this guy Polpot who knows little but flaunts his all knowledgeable head everywhere at ET.

    Recommend

  • ZZ1
    Jun 19, 2013 - 9:54AM

    @antanu:
    pretending as Indian?China is not a superpower, so India too. your comment shows that u have something special towards china, means who?

    Recommend

  • indi
    Jun 19, 2013 - 10:54AM

    china isnt a superpower ..neither is america at this moment….china might become 1 by 2030 and america is fast loosing its tag

    Recommend

  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Jun 19, 2013 - 11:33AM

    A true comrade is that who gives you rightful,true,positive and fruitful advices instead of harmful and negative.So China is proving its true,sincere and honest comradeship.
    We are proud of Pakistan-China comradeship……
    Pakistan-China comradeship always long live……

    Recommend

  • joy
    Jun 19, 2013 - 11:54AM

    Well,well well…..China has been forced to say publicly what it has all along been conveying to Pakistan in private…….hope there is someone listening..and following.

    Recommend

  • Milind
    Jun 19, 2013 - 1:33PM

    ““History proves that a foreign country cannot do much for development in another country,” he said, giving a message that ultimately one must put his own house in order without relying on foreign-inspired solutions. “

    This realization (and the resulting frustration) probably dawned on the Chinese after trying to help Pakistan.. The sub-text to Pakistan is — please find some other donor… not us please!!!!

    Recommend

  • Jawad
    Jun 21, 2013 - 12:46AM

    @Pragmatist: my friend “diplomatic language” is also some phenomenon to understand. Its not some friendly gup shup where u speak ur heart out..

    Recommend

More in World