China's State Council has released a white paper outlining its commitment to peaceful development. The paper is seen as the most comprehensive and systematic clarification of the government's theory and practice in national development.
China - a rising power on the world stage. With its drastic economic growth, military modernization drive and growing global stature, the country is often scrutinized by the outside world.
Professor Qu Xing, president of China Institute of International Studies, said, "With China's rise, there have been some worries about the country's intentions following its growing strength. China needs to reiterate its stances to the world, the inevitability, the determination and the understanding for maintaining a peaceful development path."
Professor Qu Xing says the White Paper sends a clear message that peaceful development is not merely a choice, but also a need for China.
China began to embark on this road during its reform and opening-up in the late 1970s. Still, it has a weak economic foundation and unbalanced development. Although it's now the world's second-largest economy, it lags far behind many developed countries in terms of per capita GDP. So, a peaceful environment is eagerly needed to keep steady GDP growth.
Yan Xuetong, director of Tsinghua University Institute of International Studies, said, "The white paper is in fact a comprehensive and deep introduction of what kind of road the country is going to take in the future. It stresses that a peaceful development path is not only a foreign policy, but also a domestic policy as well."
Peace remains elusive in the world today. Food insecurity, environmental damage, natural disasters, financial turmoil and armed conflicts are among the top challenges. China calls for international cooperation and dialogue to face the risks. Senior Colonel Chen Zhou, says China's peaceful development reflects a new security concept for common development.
Chen Zhou, researcher from PLA Academy of Military Sciences, said, "China's overall goal of pursuing peaceful development is to promote development and harmony domestically and pursue cooperation and peace internationally. China's national defense policy should also follow its national commitment, protecting the nation's peaceful rise."
But the white paper does not say that peaceful development implies giving up the use of force to protect its core interests. By stating this long-term goal, China hopes to promote a favorable environment. Given its deep and global integration, China's peaceful development strategy is not just a domestic issue, it concerns the rest of the world too.
(CNTV.cn September 6, 2011)