On March 28, the GMF Paris Office, the Transatlantic Academy, and the Asia Centre, in collaboration with CERI-Sciences Po, organized an international workshop on the rise of China and its implications for the West, gathering over 130 participants from the main French institutions, Embassies, business sector and the media. Issues included different perspectives of the United States and the EU on China, views from other important neighboring Asian countries and hypotheses about Chinese stabilization strategies.
During the first session on American and European views regarding the rise of Asia (chaired by Steve Szabo, Transatlantic Academy), TA fellow James Goldgeier (George Washington University) presented the two contrasting views of the U.S. administration China's rise: its economic growth leading to the rise of a middle class and more democratic system, or that it continues to grow without improving its democracy. Over the years there has been a shift in beliefs: with international threats, all major powers have common interests, which is a strongly unifying vector. However, Obama’s approach of being more respectful of other countries has given the perception that the new administration might be weaker. Bruce Stokes (GMF) was convinced that China will be a challenge for the United States, mainly due to the galloping rise of the deficit with China and a competition on oil reserves. Therefore, there is a growing perception of the need of stronger cooperation between the United States and EU in the face of the rise of China, though the United States does not understand Europe’s scarce appreciation of these emerging issues. Francois Godement (Asia Centre) suggested that the theme of increasingly scarce transatlantic dialogue maybe caused by the resurgence in competitiveness between the United States and EU, and the strategic use China is making of it. The central question being that China is not developing as the responsible stakeholder the West hopes of it.
In the second session chaired by Christophe Jaffrelot (CERI-Sciences Po), Swaran Singh (Jawahral Nehru University) pointed out how New Delhi thinks about the rise of China and its impact on the region, while Kubo Fumaki (University of Tokio) stressed that China’s behavior is difficult to understand for Japan, especially towards North Korea. TA fellow Iskander Rehman (Sciences Po) closed the session with considerations about China and India’s relations and motives as to why New Delhi perceives the rise of China as a possible threat (because of borders issues, Tibet, and competition over natural resources).
In the third session on how China sees its own image, Eberhard Sandschneider (German Society for Foreign Policy) made clear that China is not politically willing to take its portion of responsibility in the international game and thus, the West has to take decisions about how to deal with China. He added that China has strong interests in Africa because energy is a fundamental for it to maintain its economic growth. According to him, a multi-polar system is by definition less stable than a bipolar system, and there is obviously a shift of power.
The Transatlantic Academy report “Global Shift: How the West should respond to the rise of China” will be released on May 24, 2011.