Global Times (1 January 2019) – As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, where will the world and China go? The uncertainties of the future are certain, but the world will face more uncertainties than China.
If we take the US, we find the country is going to have an election amid the utmost split society since the end of World War II. The US will also face challenges brought about by a weakened world economy, the shadow of the trade war it launched and the impact of a volatile stock market. The Korean Peninsula and hotspots in the Middle East won’t be easy either for the US.
The Brexit soap opera will continue as Europe handles a headache with its stagnant economies. Social contradictions are escalating as the refugee issue and the wealth gap worry Europeans. The European Union’s ability to solve problems is weakening and Brussels has gotten the cold shoulder from Washington. This dilemma could last throughout even the entire 2020s.
Japan and South Korea will be stronger than most other countries in dominating their own development strategies. Given the highly risky global situation, the two countries are not strong enough. The US won’t give up using the two countries as its pawns, in which case the two Asian countries will have to figure out a proper position between China and the US. Due to the two countries’ needs for stability, they are not likely to become world-class highlights in the 2020s.
Emerging economies will be the protagonists in the 2020s in terms of development. India will be one of them, but lacks stable development and faces long-term risks triggered by religious issues and people’s fury at the wealth gap.
As for China, 2020 and the 2020s mean both opportunities and challenges. Western public opinion has been focusing on China and the US conflicts despite relaxed trade tensions and China’s growing economy and financial risks.
Economists like Paul Krugman, who predicted crisis for China in 2011, have become more cautious when commenting on the Chinese economy. It is still popular to play down China’s economy but now more voices are heard to warn Western economists not to underestimate China.
Across the world, China is still one of the best among the major economies in terms of comprehensive development. With a stable political structure, China is capable of dealing with various challenges. Thanks to its reform and opening-up, China is on the right track to develop with the characteristics of both a big power – stability – and of an emerging country – resilience.
Though suppressed by the US, China has mitigated the impact by comprehensively opening its arms wider to the world. China will not be isolated. More importantly, domestic demand in China is growing to become the main engine for the country’s development.
China will focus on the domestic market in 2020 as well as the entire 2020s. Outside pressure cannot stop the country advancing. But we should be alert to prevent outside pressure from changing some Chinese people’s mentality and its impact on internal policies.
The Chinese government is resolute in promoting all-round reform and opening-up, and has launched policies to stimulate the economy, especially the private sector.
The year 2020 is an important link between the past and future for China. The Chinese people will be more confident if we handle affairs properly in 2020. China’s rapid development has not run out of luck, but is the fruit of its strong political system. China and the 2020s – the new decade – won’t fail each other.