Starting from the late 1970s China’s focus on economic and military modernisation programmes has elevated the country’s profile among not only the Asian countries but also at the global level. While the concept of “peaceful rise” [heping jueqi], or in its latest variant “peace and development” [heping yu fazhan] gained currency among officials and scholars in China from about 2003, China’s rise in several indicators can be seen from about the 1978 Four Modernisations programme and specifically to the late 1980s and 1990s. Not only did China consistently post near double-digit economic growth rates, specifically after Deng Xiaoping’s famous southern tour of 1992, but also has become a favourite destination for foreign direct investments from other countries. 2. The external trade increased by leaps and bounds and constitute a significant proportion of the gross domestic product (GDP). Joint venture companies and reform of the state industrial policies have contributed to the phenomenon of China as one of the largest manufacturing hubs of the world. The entry of China into World Trade Organisation in 2000 has opened up new opportunities. 3. By 2004 China became the sixth largest economy and the fourth largest trader of the world. Its trade volume is to touch about a trillion US dollars in a short time, while its GDP figures are rising to more than US $ 1.3 trillion. As President Hu Jintao mentioned in his address to the Bo Ao Forum for Asia in April 2004, the Chinese government intends to “quadruple the 2000 GDP to 4 trillion US dollars with a per capita GDP of 3,000 US dollars”.1 China’s foreign exchange reserves have increased over a period of time to nearly $450 billion. China has embarked on developing its infrastructure and started the East-West oil and gas pipeline from Urumqi to Shanghai, railway line from Golmud to Lhasa, river diversion projects, etc. In addition, it has plans to connect the country with Russia and Central Asia with energy pipelines. The 2008 Olympics and 2010 Shanghai Expo are poised to further add to the luster of a rising China. 4. China has also enhanced its military modernisation efforts after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) suffered losses in the 1979 Vietnam War. The 1985 “structural reorganisation” plan has relatively succeeded in putting the rank and file of the PLA on the road to a “lean and mean” armed force. Hardware and software modernisation of the PLA and double-digit increases in the defence budget allocations, throughout the 1990s and in the subsequent period were to make it one of the forces to contend with in the region. It is generally recognised that by 1999, the PLA was making a turnaround from large infantry-based armed force to that of gradually acquiring the potential to project power abroad.

See for the full text of Hu Jintao’s speech on April 24, 2004 at


nearly twenty Chinese scholars reportedly have worked out the major arguments of this thesis to systematically counter the security concerns expressed by China’s neighbours and those in the West. Various ramifications of this phenomenon are not yet crystal clear and hence. but argued that such competition would take the path of “ He also advocated establishing “communities of common interests” in East Asia and “sub-regional mechanisms with different functions and features. What is the significance to ASEAN Nations? 2 Ting Yong-Kang.peaceforum. a generalised treatment of the subject is made here. However.can be said to be the basis of the current rise of China.RESTRICTED MP 2. This paper attempts to outline first the main trends in the official and scholarly debates in China on peaceful rise or peace and development and offers certain broad generalisations and implications of such a rise in Asia and to the process of democratisation. vice president of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Party School at Bo Ao Forum for Asia in 2003. 6. 2004 observed candidly that China’s rise may usher competition in the AsiaPacific region. mutual benefit and win-win. Against this generalised introduction. SCOPE 8. A few caveats are necessary at the outset. as the following section indicates. “’Peaceful Ascendancy’ and Cross-Straits Relations”. The focus of the paper will be on issues related to foreign policy and military. several officials and scholars in China have reflected on this phenomenon. a year before this speech. cooperation. there exist several imponderables. the concept of “peaceful rise” [heping jueqi] of China was proposed by Zheng Bijian. These have considerably elevated the profile of China in not only Asia but also in the world. to ward off any negative connotations that “rise” indicates in the discourse of late has been a tendency to rephrase the phenomenon as merely “peace and development”.3. These two major changes – in the economic and military fields. Rising . or competition for spheres of influence or hegemony”. and conduct flexible cooperation to achieve marked results”. AIM 7. 1-2 RESTRICTED . The phenomenon of the rise of China is a dynamic concept and is still in the process of unfolding and hence. http://www. not competition of arms build-up.2 TD 5. However. The scope of the paper will discuss and cover the following fields: a.2 Zheng Bijian in his speech at the Bo Ao Forum of Asia on April 25. Subsequently.

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