China: Averse to hegemony – Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal


China has been pursuing an ambitious economic agenda without flexing its military muscle in its neighbourhood and worldwide. Instead of coercion, it has been engaging the neighbouring states by mega-financial investment, encouragement of economic cooperation, and mutual infrastructure projects. It is transferring technology and financing projects in the smaller states. This benign internationalists approach has been increasing China’s influence regionally and globally. So, currently, it is “increasingly approaching the center of the world stage.”

The Chinese ruling elite publicizes that China would never pursue hegemony and remains committed to a multilateral trading system and further opening of its economy. Hence, it practices a defensive national defense policy. On December 18, while speaking at the conference to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening up policy at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, President Xi Jinping said: “China’s development does not pose a threat to any country.

China considers the United States Freedom of Navigation Program different from freedom of navigation permitted by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

No matter how far China develops, it will never seek hegemony.” Beijing’s declaratory external policy that is averse to hegemony differentiates it from traditional Great Powers that exercise aggressive defense policies to establish their regional cum global hegemony. President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (OBI) establishes trade link among the Asian and Eurasian countries and allow a smooth exchange of goods for more than 60 countries.

Since 2012, Beijing has steadily been expanding its footprint globally from Asia-Pacific to Africa and beyond through a broad network of infrastructure projects. Its non-violent march towards the center of world stage alarms the status quo powers, including the United States. During the recent months, President Trump had imposed sanctions on Chinese companies and levied a tariff on Chinese goods to obstruct its peaceful rise.