A former Chinese ambassador to the United Nations hopes for a world where the U.S. and China can be allies, the diplomat said at an Elliott School event Tuesday afternoon.
Wu Jianmin spoke about the future of China’s international relations as a part of GW’s Sigur Center’s lecture series on Asian identity and power. China, now more than ever, Jianmin said, is dedicated to claiming its spot as a modern industrial superpower through inclusive, globally peaceful relations.
This new, more open China is focused on nation building that embraces global interconnectedness and thinks intensely intimate relationships between countries are a source of strength, not fragility, the ambassador said. Still, Jianmin emphasized that nations should not take this new policy as an invitation to try and control China.
“China has no intentions of seeking hegemony or making (inclusive) alliances,” Jianmin said. “The country views all international players as fair game.”
Taking a look at China’s economic history, Jianmin did not deny blemishes on China’s past – including feudal regimes that still influence today’s culture and business practices.
Despite the many setbacks Jianmin sees, he made it clear that his outlook on the future is bright.
“The center of gravity in international relations is shifting from an Atlantic focus to a more Pacific focus,” the ambassador said. “Asia is the core of the rising shift in international relations.”
Jianmin also addressed concerns over China’s use of energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Web site, China is the third largest consumer of oil.
“China is in the midst of three revolutions. An energy revolution is the first and leads directly into the other two. The second level of revolution is industry. The third revolution focuses on the way of life,” Jianmin said. “As China’s energy usage moves towards greener systems, its industrial sector as a whole must change.”
Audience member Christopher Knight, a freshman, said he was intrigued by the ideas Jianmin had about the future of his country.
“I thought he made an interesting point,” he said. “The issues that have made our relationship fragile have the power to bring us together.”
The sponsor of the event, the Sigur Center, is part of the Elliott School and is the largest academic center devoted solely to Asian studies in the United States.