Analyzing Xi's Statement
Apr. 23, 2015
Leaders at the Asian-African Summit have called for change in the international order. The biggest nation pushing for this has been China. Speaking at the Summit’s final day, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed his willingness to contribute to Asian and African development. He said China will do this by creating a large framework for multinational economic growth. He was referring to China’s proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB.
China has participated in the Asian-African Summit since it began in 1955. Premier Zhou Enlai was a key figure at the Bandung Conference. He worked with Indonesian President Sukarno and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
In the six decades since, China has increased its influence in Asia and Africa. It recently gathered as many as 57 founding countries to launch the AIIB.
For President Xi, the Summit was an opportunity to show his commitment to change. "Developed nations should maintain and develop an open global economy,” he said. He said wealthier nations should “build a fair, just, and tolerant international financial system, and create an environment that is conducive to the growth of developing countries.”
Xi expressed China’s strong dissatisfaction with the global financial order that continues to be dominated by the IMF and the World Bank, both led by the US. He indicated China’s influence has been repressed, despite its status as an economic giant.
The main focus of President Xi’s diplomacy is a policy he called ‘One Belt, One Road.’ This initiative involves the creation of an economic belt spanning from China to Europe. It aims to create mutual benefits among the nations in the bloc by promoting their development.
Xi visited Pakistan earlier this week ahead of the conference.
He met with the Pakistani Prime Minister to discuss the establishment of an economic corridor that will stretch from Southwestern Pakistan to western China.
The leaders agreed that China would help build infrastructure along the corridor, such as roads, railways and power plants.
This project is considered the flagship of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative.
An expert on Chinese diplomacy points out that President Xi wants to dispel the idea that the nation’s global emergence will threaten world peace.
“Xi tries to calm down this concern,” says Jin Canrong, a professor at the Renmin University of China. “With the so-called AIIB and the ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy, definitely China will strengthen economic ties with many countries.” Jin says Xi’s ultimate goal is to create for China a global partnership network.
Xi’s emphasis on mutual harmony and benefit has not found universal acceptance. China has been causing major friction with its neighboring countries over territorial rights in the South China Sea and other issues. Some participants in the Asia-Africa Conference alluded to such matters.
"In Asia, there are nations dealing with territorial rights issues on land and sea as well as serious armed conflicts,” said President Truong Tan Sang of Vietnam.