For peace and development

Updated: 2013-06-28 08:06

By Fu Ying (China Daily)

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In his book titled For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War, Melvyn P. Leffler, a US historian, made a detailed analysis of four major opportunities for the US and the erstwhile Soviet Union to promote entente in their relations and the causes for them missing those chances. The book left two impressions. First, the two superpowers never concealed their policy target of seeking the demise of each other, but what exhausted them most proved to be how to prevent a head-on conflict between them. Second, the two superpowers were never on the same track or established mutual trust with each other, the former Soviet Union focused on an arms race, while the US kept high vigilance and readiness against a Soviet threat.

Entering the 21st century, the world has undergone new changes and gone is the history of seeking hegemony among the world's big powers. Some previously impoverished developing countries are already on the track of fast industrialization, while some traditional developed nations have been entangled in an effort to extricate themselves from protracted financial and economic woes. These have resulted in the narrowing of the gap between them.

In the West where the view that capital means power prevails, some scholars claim the center of world power is shifting from the West to the East, and such a view has kindled debates about whether emerging powers will post a threat, how they should undertake their international responsibilities or whether the world's leadership will have a peaceful transfer.

In fact, the center of world power has not been seen shifting in one direction as some scholars have claimed. But there is a possibility that the power that influences international governance and world affairs will diffuse from the traditional Western-centered belt to a wider sphere. Now, it's not easy for a few countries to dominate all international affairs. And an individual nation will find it difficult to resolve global issues by itself.

The diversification of world power is taking shape and expediting, but the transformation of the established world structure and international governance pattern at a peaceful time will come in a long and gradual manner. During this transitional period, the old structure, if timely reformed and adjusted, should continue to operate for some time.

Facing a series of common global challenges, ranging from degradation of the environment, climate change and the proliferation of nuclear weapons to food safety, terrorism and internal safety, countries, both big and small, are in the same boat. If all countries transcend the old era and look at others in a new light, then the common challenges facing them can be tackled more easily. Otherwise, the difficulties will only become more complicated and harder to resolve.

The author is a member of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress and director of the top legislature's foreign affairs committee.

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