POSSIBLE STRATEGIC RESPONSES OF THE WEST TO CHINA’S RISE IF ITS STRONG ECONOMIC GROWTH CONTINUES
Keywords:China, economic power, rise, GDP, the West, openness
During 2018-2019 economic growth has weakened in China. According to IMF, growth is projected to continue to slow gradually in the coming years, with a notable slowdown in industrial output. Nevertheless, in line with the same projections, China's medium-term economic outlook indicates that China's GDP is approaching the one of the US, and that the year of catching up, without some sudden deterioration of China's economic fundamentals, will be 2029.
Over two centuries, the US and Europe acquired economic supremacy, and now with rebalancing set in, the Western world has to adapt to China’s economic rise. So called democracies should maintain an open policy of engagement with China. What is especially important is that China is no longer a predominately rural and impoverished country; in 1979, only 18% of the Chinese population lived in urban areas; today, that figure is about 60% and rising. Better-educated, more prosperous and well-connected societies do not automatically produce more liberal, peaceful societies, but China, with the passage of time, will almost certainly become a less authoritarian state.
According to western authors, the West, especially the US could invest more in scientific research and investigations into specific Chinese companies and investors, so that it can maintain technological superiority without banning Chinese investment and immigration. Only by ensuring more open and equal exchanges can the US hope to transform China’s socalled covert sharp-power operations into authentic soft-power ones.
China will remain America’s main rival for global power and influence for the foreseeable future. The two countries should pursue a policy of constructive engagement including mutually beneficial cooperation. With Chinese leaders fearing, particularlly after the US tariffs, that the age of hyper-globalization that alowed astonishing economic growth of the country is finished the probabilities for favorable outcome of potential constructive engagement are growing.
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