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V09: Ambition to Lead the World?

February , 2016


There is a strong sentiment in the U.S. that China is the major adversary of the United States and that one day it will replace the U.S. as the world leader. The cover in this issue by Mr. C. H. Tung, chairman of the China United States Exchange Foundation, however, gives an unequivocal answer: China has no ambition to lead the world.

Instead, China needs to focus on its mounting domestic needs, Tung argues: faced with an increasingly complex world, Beijing and Washington should intensify their efforts to build strategic trust and expand exchanges at all levels of society.

Fu Ying, spokeswoman of the National People’s Congress of China, also refutes the growing concern about China’s assertiveness. While China cannot support in its entirety the “world order” as defined by the U.S., Fu writes, “China is part of the existing international order and will continue to contribute.”

Listing an array of troubles facing global growth and increasing threats from terrorism, former senior Chinese diplomat He Yafei seems to echo Tung and Fu’s call for the two countries to work together. He urges world powers to take concerted actions in addressing global tensions and collaborate on reshaping the world order.

On China-U.S. relations, Meicen Sun and Yoshifumi Ide caution “realist” scholars about being trapped in a Cold-War mindset from which they assess China’s ties with its Asian neighbors and the United States. The authors also urge tapping into cultural capital to build collective Asian identity to boost cooperation and avoid military competition in the region.

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  • There are people in the United States who believe that as China grows in strength, it will supersede America’s position of global leadership.
    The truth is that China has no ambition to lead the world.
    As China moves up the economic ladder, it will certainly want to be a force of good for the world.


  • Indeed, if one only listens to some of the U.S. election rhetoric, one may fear that the two countries will fall into the Thucydides Trap with their eyes wide open.

    Fu Ying

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