The Chinese will want to share this century as co-equals withthe U.S.
It is China’s intention to be the greatest power in the world.The policies of all governments toward China, especially neighbor-ing countries, have already taken this into account. These govern-ments are repositioning themselves because they know that there will be consequences if they thwart China when its core interestsare at stake. China can impose economic sanctions simply by deny-ing access to its market of 1.3 billion people, whose incomes andpurchasing power are increasing.
Unlike other emergent countries, China wants to be China andaccepted as such, not as an honorary member of the West.
What does number 1 mean? How will China’s behavior toward other countries change if China becomes the dominant Asian power?
At the core of their mindset is their world before colonization andthe exploitation and humiliation that brought. In Chinese, Chinameans “Middle Kingdom”—recalling a world in which they weredominant in the region, other states related to them as supplicantsto a superior, and vassals came to Beijing bearing tribute: for exam-ple, the sultan of Brunei, who carried silk as his offering, but whodied there four centuries ago and now has a shrine in Beijing.
Will an industrialized and strong China be as benign toSoutheast Asia as the United States has been since 1945? Singaporeis not sure. Neither are Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines,
The Future of China