Asian Imperatives

On January 10, 2014, Indian English Newspaper The Indian Express published the article of Ambassador Wei Wei on its Op-ed Page and website. The full text is as follows:

Asian Imperatives

The processes of economic integration, and political cooperation, must be strengthened.

The year 2013 was a year of development and cooperation for Asia. Asia remains a major engine of the world economy. Emerging economies in Asia kept up rapid growth and contributed to the development and prosperity of the world. Asia is generally stable. It is a common aspiration of Asian countries to live in peace, stability and development. In the meantime, Asia is in a continuous process of economic integration, as well as cooperation in politics and security. Regional cooperation as a whole was further deepened. As a matter of fact, the rise of Asia has come to play a prominent part in the international context. It is important for us to have a proper understanding of the status and role of Asia in global affairs.

The current global economy, though in a slow process of recovery, is undergoing in-depth restructuring. Its future is, however, of some uncertainty. The US economy shows rejuvenation, but the momentum is relatively weak. It is difficult to say for the time being that the US will end its quantitative easing (QE) policy. The European debt crisis is at a turning point, but recovery is still slow. Emerging economies like the BRICS countries keep growing, but at a slower pace. They encounter more and more pressure due to changes in the external environment and their own structural adjustment. Against this background, the whole world, including Asia, is more committed to economic development and improving people's livelihoods so as to consolidate the momentum of economic recovery and buffet uncertainty. Especially for Asian emerging economies like China and India, it is imperative to seize the hard-won economic recovery tendency, enhance mutually beneficial cooperation and push forward reform of the international financial regulatory system - so as to reduce the impact, on their own imports and exports and currency, of the withdrawal of QE by the US.

Unfortunately, some Japanese leaders blatantly paid homage at the Yasukuni Shrine where Class-A war criminals of World War II are honoured. This is a brazen challenge to the post-war international order, to historical justice and human conscience. This will also undermine the political stability in East Asia and hurt economic relations between China and Japan and even the US economy. The GDPs of China, the US and Japan rank the top three in the world. Any disturbance to the above three economies will not only damage the global economic recovery impetus, but also harm Asian economies, India included. Japan, as an Asian country per se, should have assumed its responsibility of promoting common prosperity in Asia. The Japanese government, however, is fiercely implementing its right-wing doctrine by trying to get rid of the post-war order, by amending its pacifist constitution and by developing into a "military power". This obviously runs against the global trend of pursuing development and enhancing economic recovery.

Both China and India have made important contributions to the fight against Japanese militarist aggression in WW II. Dr Kotnis and his medical team went to China and helped the Chinese people against Japanese aggression during the anti-Japanese War. The doctor even sacrificed his life in China. He is well remembered by the people of China. With assistance from the US and the United Kingdom, Indian and Chinese soldiers together fought against Japanese aggression in India. We, after suffering the invasion by Japan, should by no means forget this part of history. As Julia Lovell writes in her review of the book China's War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival by professor Rana Mitter of Oxford University, "China's eight years of resistance changed the course of the Second World War. By refusing to surrender, China's armies detained at least half a million Japanese troops which could otherwise have been deployed to other territories." Mitter also mentions in his book that "A pacified China would have made the invasion of British India much more plausible."

Today, the people of Asian countries, including China, India and Japan, would all bear in mind the lessons of history, not for the sake of hostility or revenge, but for the purpose of telling right from wrong, for the purpose of upholding the path of peace and for the purpose of realising common development.

(The writer is the Chinese Ambassador to India)

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