Wandering China

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China Threat? Former French Diplomat Says No [Forbes] #RisingChina #PeacefulDevelopment


Adding empathy to the eye of the beholder: a gap in the China Threat perception.

In trying to grasp the motives of a more assertive China in territorial disputes such as the South China Sea, Vairon suggests the U.S. try putting itself in China’s shoes for a moment. He posits a situation where China stations its navy in the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean’s due to disquietude with the U.S.-Cuban relations.

Also see –
A Q&A with Lionel Vairon, author of “China Threat?” (CN Books)
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China Threat? Former French Diplomat Says No
By Heng Shao, Forbes Staff
Source – Forbes, published July 29, 2013

Is China a threat? Not by nature, but perhaps by reaction, said former French diplomat Lionel Vairon at the launch of the English version of his book, “China Threat?” last Thursday at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He believes that the fear of a rising China results from the inability of Western countries to recognize China’s legitimate national interests. China will become problematic only if dominant powers attempt to contain it and deny its place in the international society.

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Former French Diplomat Lionel Vairon (Second To Right) At The Launch of “China Threat?”

Vairon, who worked as a diplomat for 16 years in Asia, Africa and the Middle East for the French government and now runs a strategic consulting firm in China, traces the fear of China to a Western mentality still fixated on the Cold War era. Whereas hegemony of super powers was the norm of the past, the current philosophy of international relations should adapt to a “multi-polar system without any major power,” Vairon argues.

“It’s important for us to understand that the colonial time and the imperial time is over,” says Vairon. “Now we’re not talking about new super powers, China will be No.1, No.2.” Rather, China is more concerned with defending its own national interests than becoming the next overlord.

In trying to grasp the motives of a more assertive China in territorial disputes such as the South China Sea, Vairon suggests the U.S. try putting itself in China’s shoes for a moment. He posits a situation where China stations its navy in the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean’s due to disquietude with the U.S.-Cuban relations.

“I wonder how [America] would react in the region.” Vairon says. “The U.S. [needs to] recognize that China has vital interests in its neighborhood, which doesn’t mean controlling or invading…It just means ‘we don’t you to be on our borders.’ ”

“We are threatened, so are the Chinese,” Vairon adds.

Please click here to read the entire article at Forbes.

China is not without its faults in managing tension, however. Vairon blames Chinese leaders for communicating in languages unfamiliar to the West, using elusive concepts such as “harmony.” “We are in a culture of conflict…Conflict is producing progress and improvement. In the case of China [though], harmony in society is the way to improve. But French diplomats just laugh, because they don’t understand the concept.”

Dong Xiaojun, deputy consul general of the Chinese Consulate in New York who attended the launch admits to such problems. “Chinese foods in China are different from those in the U.S.,” says Dong, making an analogy. “We realized that we need to communicate in ways that the other party can understand and be willing to listen….diplomats’ quality and international vision both need to be improved.”

“China Threat?” is the first book published by CN Times Books, the U.S. branch of Chinese publisher Beijing MediaTime Books. George Fu, CEO of the privately owned parent company founded in 2008, plans to publish 100 books on China through the U.S. subsidiary, which vows to be “a bridge between cultures of the East and the West.”

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Forbes, Government & Policy, Hard Power, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

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