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Addressing the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Fu Ying, Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, said that the situation in Asia now was different from that of Europe in 1914, when countries were fighting for expansion in “the year of imperialism”.
The rise of China and India is peaceful and their expansion is “not for power or for war”, Ying said.
She was referring to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s claims at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week that the current tensions between Beijing and Tokyo resembles that of the rivalry between Germany and Britain before the First World War.
“While some people trying to compare the situation of Asia 2014 to Europe 1914”, China does not agree with it, she said.
Abe’s comments were preceded by a recent Brookings Institution essay by historian Margaret MacMillan that warns against the growing clout of China, also quoting a Wall Street Journal report that “has published authoritative reports that the Pentagon is preparing war plans against China”.
“We are witnessing, as much as the world of 1914, shifts in the international power structure, with emerging powers challenging the established ones. Just as national rivalries led to mutual suspicions between Britain and the newly ascendant Germany before 1914, the same is happening between the U.S. and China now, and also between China and Japan,” she writes.
The Chinese Foreign Affairs official said in Munich on Saturday that globalization provided opportunities for a peaceful development of emerging economies including China.
Although in the process of globalization, finance, technology, resources were transferring from traditional center of industrialized countries to developing countries including China and India.
“Now is the era of peace and development,” she said, adding that the economic development of developing countries would not have the same drive for the expansion for power, or for war.
China, she asserted, has built confidence with its neighbors and initiated lots of economic and financial cooperation programs aimed at this.
The Chinese official told delegates at Munich that Asia today is “an attractive place with prosperity and lasting stability”.
On the recent strain in ties between China and Japan, Fu Ying said, “Until the Japanese leaders can face honestly what happened during the war, until they can make genuine reconciliation with the people of their neighbors, until they can take off the burden of history, it’s very hard for them to become a constructive member of Asian partnership.”
China and South Korea have condemned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for visiting Tokyo’s Yasukuni shrine in December that honours war dead including convicted war criminals.
TBP and Agencies