Whither China: From Membership to Responsibility? – Robert B. Zoellick


From US Department of State


Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Mr. Zheng Bijian, Chair of the China Reform Forum, who over some decades has been a counselor to China’s leaders. We have spent many hours in Beijing and Washington discussing China’s course of development and Sino-American relations. It has been my good fortune to get to know such a thoughtful man who has helped influence, through the Central Party School, the outlook of many officials during a time of tremendous change for China.

This month, in anticipation of President Hu‘s visit to the United States, Mr. Zheng published the lead article in Foreign Affairs, “China’s ‘Peaceful Rise’ to Great Power Status.” This evening, I would like to give you a sense of the current dialogue between the United States and China by sharing my perspective.

Some 27 years ago, Chinese leaders took a hard look at their country and didn’t like what they saw. China was just emerging from the Cultural Revolution. It was desperately poor, deliberately isolated from the world economy, and opposed to nearly every international institution. Under Deng Xiaoping, as Mr. Zheng explains, China’s leaders reversed course and decided “to embrace globalization rather than detach themselves from it.”

Click here for an abstract of “China’s Peaceful Rise to Great Power Status” from Foreign Affairs.

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