The arrival of the new year is a time to celebrate the present, reflect on the past and list expectations for the future.
In 2020, China is set to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, which marks a realization of the first of its two centenary goals.
What might the rest of the world expect from China in the new year?
The year 2019 was one of turbulence and mounting challenges for the world. Multilateralism and unilateralism were locked in a bitter contest, and the world saw a rampage of power politics and bullying.
China should “play a driving role in reviving multilateralism and fostering greater openness towards plurality,” said Bertrand Badie, a veteran specialist on international relations at France’s Sciences Po university.
As a committed multilateralist, Beijing has made its stance clear that the essence of carrying forward multilateralism is that international affairs should be addressed through extensive consultation rather than decided by one country or a few.
Vassiliki Souladaki, a Greek international relations expert, said “China should be committed to inclusive growth and sustainable solutions for a fairer, democratic and multilateral world order, based on the principles of the UN-centered international system.”
At a time when protectionism and populism have been on the rise, China’s staunch support for multilateralism has gained more prominence and popularity.
Roderich Ptak, a professor at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, said China and Germany “both promote multilateralism, free trade and both fight against protectionism.”
“If the two countries can join hands and cooperate more, they will bring positive energy to the world,” said the German sinologist.
Alexander Gusev, director of Russia’s Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting, said that with the development of the trend toward world multi-polarization, China’s status in the global economy and international politics has greatly improved.
Noting that the strong strategic support between Russia and China bears significance to maintaining world peace and development, Gusev said he hopes that the two countries can strengthen coordination in international and bilateral affairs and work together to maintain global security.
This year, the United Nations (UN) celebrates 75 years. Currently, globalization is encountering setbacks and a global governance deficit has become apparent.
“Urgent global challenges such as climate change; growing global competition in energy, natural resources, food and water; urban landscape development; biotechnology use; the rivalry between national and transnational forces; and, above all, international terrorism are forcing countries to face new realities,” Souladaki said.
Against this backdrop, China firmly upholds the UN-centered international system through word and action. The country’s call for extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in global governance and for building a community with a shared future for mankind has been embraced and supported by more and more countries.
China will “try to improve global governance, which is in crisis, in order to face the great challenges that exist in the world today,” said Eduardo Regalado, researcher at Cuba’s Center for International Policy, adding that “China will continue to promote multilateralism.”
As the past years have seen a rapid increase in China’s role on the global stage, analyst expect more contributions to global governance from China.
French writer and sinologist Sonia Bressler said Chinese concepts regarding global governance will profoundly affect the world’s political and economic systems.
“The world order will evolve in the coming decades and China is likely to play a great role in that fundamental transformation of global governance,” said Musarat Amin, assistant professor at Fatima Jinnah Women University in Pakistan.
“China’s approach is more constructive concerning resolving different issues, and this is very important for global governance,” she said.
China’s “positive role” in global development is becoming increasingly apparent in the international arena, said Nina Ivanova, head of the Belarusian Society of Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries.
She added that a “good example” of this is the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is “gaining popularity in countries around the world.”
The BRI has brought “more jobs and less poverty” in the countries along the routes, said Ptak, adding that “thus it brings peace and reduces conflicts.”
“I think more importantly it also enhances understanding and communication among different cultures,” the German professor said, adding that “it’s indeed a good initiative and very visionary.”
Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, said he looks forward in 2020 to China’s continuous promotion of the Belt and Road’s construction so that African countries can gain more from China’s development.
Similarly, Ismael Buchanan, senior lecturer of the Department of Political Science at the University of Rwanda, expressed hope that China will continue cooperating with African countries in such areas as trade, security and infrastructure connectivity.
These “of course will happen” under the BRI, he added.
In 2020, China will host the second UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference, which is expected to further bolster connectivity and common development in Asia, Europe and beyond.
China will continue to “deepen its relationship with the rest of the world,” Regalado said.
The Asian country will become a key actor on the world stage that “offers opportunities to others to join important projects in which everyone wins,” he said.