China has become more interesting for investors and other global powers as it is developing very fast economically and politically. China has also become internationally very active in recent years, which certainly has attracted attention around the world. But we have to consider that China is still a developing country which is not willing to adapt in all areas of international reforms. Rising global powers, in this case China, have always trigged dramatic side effects or serious changes in the power structure of the world. Certainly imperial ambitions, aggressive expansion and striving for power are known to be the reasons for many wars, hence destruction and chaos. The world will have to cope with big challenges because of Chinas need for new recourses, power and recognition. China already goes international unacceptable ways according to Western powers as it cooperates with countries like Iran. In some ways a confrontation seems to be inevitable, as states like the USA want to keep their hegemonial position in the world as long they got the power on their side. On the other side China’s military chairman Hu Jintao guarantees a peaceful rise from which not only the own countries will profit, also the international world around. To answer the question I will focus on Chinas current status, and how political and economical actions will favour or hinder the rise to a global power. Also I will focus on how US interaction may hinder the rise as they see a threat in China. What will happen if the sleeping dragon awakes economically and politically?
2. China and the World
One could say that the Chinese Republic is seen in the Western world as a somehow uncontrollable and unpredictable power. The “China-Threat” theory (Roy, Denny,1996) accuses the country to be a military threat for Asia, which could in the future danger the security interests of the USA. These tense relations are usually explained by cultural and ideological reasons (authoritarian regime against liberal democracy), and also the mistrust plays a very important role. Experts also explain the threat theory to be a tool to hold back Chinas development. (People’s Daily)
There is also the other side that argues that China creates an opportunity, and will play a very important political and economical role in the future as it does already. Especially states that depend on Chinas exports see in the state an enormous economical potential, which is founded on the steadily high growth. Out of this we can create different scenarios: Will Chinas integration into the existing political order be successful, or is there a threat because of a new Chinese world order?
3. Foreign political influence
The Chinese government aims for security in the region. Therefore the control over the regional order of the Asian Pacific is a main interest of the Chinese state to accumulate power and to secure its long run survival. This power would guarantee China with the help of deterrence to be protected of military attacks. China also rules the largest territory and population in Asia which gives the state a political power advantage.
China much secures its statehood. This happens with the help of the “One-China-policy”. China wants to keep its integrity with schismatic provinces like Taiwan and also Tibet (Xinjian/Osturkestan), which is a central characteristic of Chinese foreign politics. Also the territorial fights in the South- and East Chinese Ocean have to be included here.
In a neo-realistic view the growth of the economy and military strength is a must to strengthen the position of China in the international system. The Chinese economy has been growing since the mid 90th an amazing 9% per year. This seems to confirm the economic strength of China. Also the military budget is rising since 1995, and according to actual data from 2005, 67 billion are spend. China is the largest weapon importer. But estimations of security organisations (IISS, SIPRI) state that much more budget is invested (up to 9% of the GDP). At the same time China owns the biggest standing army of the world (about 2.5 million soldiers).