Yearender: Predictions for 2016 through 20 questions
Updated: 2015-12-31 07:53
13. Will there be any breakthroughs in building the new type of major power relationship between China and the United States?
Li Haidong, a professor of US studies at China Foreign Affairs University
Yes. The promotion of the new type of major power relationship has borne fruit in the past two years, and will keep making progress with the rise of China and the expanding cooperation between China and the US.
True, the US leadership still has some doubts about the Beijing-proposed concept, but its significance is being recognized by more people. China, therefore, should seek closer coordination with the US in accordance with their respective situations, to maximize the exemplary effects of the new type of major power relationship in the making.
The past two years have witnessed increasingly routine meetings between both leaders, diversifying communication mechanisms, and deepening bilateral cooperation in the domains of climate change, anti-terrorism and cybersecurity. Cooperative exchanges will become more frequent next year, which is in the interests of both sides.
In general, their management and control of disputes are effective and conducted in a responsible and prudent manner. However, as the 2016 US presidential election approaches, both governments are obliged to avoid serious clashes in certain disputes, which might be repeatedly used by some "China threat" upholders to spoil the bilateral bond.
It is becoming clear that China gives more priority to its diplomatic ties with the US, acknowledging that their interactions have more extensive impacts on regional and global affairs. However, the outstanding disparities over "freedom of navigation" and Washington's latest arms sale to Taiwan, require both countries to exercise extra caution and vigilance.
What should also be noticed is that US President Barack Obama, who will automatically leave office after the upcoming election, is slightly but almost certainly being marginalized in directing the country's foreign policy. The Department of Defense, for instance, often disagrees with him when it comes to the US's stance on the South China Sea disputes.
China needs to stay alert to the possibility that the US defense authorities make their own decisions to challenge China's legitimate interests in the region. On the other hand, under the framework of the United Nations, both nations should cooperate closely in fighting the Islamic State group and addressing global climate change, while avoiding fueling their disagreements on the security structure and development mode in the Asia-Pacific region.
14. Will the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative break fresh ground?
Wang Yiwei, a professor in international relations at Renmin University of China
Yes. For the Chinese government, the priority in the past two years has been promoting the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road worldwide, and seeking to achieve consensuses with relevant countries and international organizations (over 60 have said yes). In the following year, it will be the operation that counts.
The foreseeable breakthroughs at home and abroad will take place in some major inland infrastructural projects such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and the revamping of roadside harbors, including Jakarta in Indonesia, Sihanoukville in Cambodia, and Gwadar Port in Pakistan.
Besides, China is likely to make progress in negotiations on some major free trade agreements, for example, the ones with Sri Lanka and the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
The biggest uncertainty of all may be China's own economic well-being. As for the Belt and Road Initiative, which largely rests upon interconnectivity, strategic synergy, transnational capacity cooperation, and the exploration of the third-party markets, next year's focus should be on enhancing international cooperation to deal with China's excessive capacity in traditional industries such as steel and cement.
More, to avoid potential geopolitical risks, China should give priority to expanding its markets in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, and East and Central Europe, with a focus on promoting its new advantageous capacity involving high-speed trains, nuclear power and telecommunications.
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