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2018: China to grow stronger in chaotic world

The year 2018 has come. What shall we expect? Let’s start with international affairs. First of all, we hope China’s international neighborhood and the Taiwan Straits can remain peaceful. It will also be a crucial year for the Korean Peninsula as we may find some clues to solve the nuclear crisis – either the US and North Korea restrain themselves and turn to a peaceful solution or the two resort to a military showdown. The second option is more likely though.
Taiwan authorities have come to a tipping point as they advocate “Taiwan independence.” It is hoped that Tsai Ing-wen and her administration can realize how serious the situation is and pull back before it is too late. If the Tsai administration crosses the bottom line on issues such as holding a “referendum” and having “military exchanges with the US,” the mainland public is willing to see the People’s Liberation Army take action to punish those “Taiwan independence” forces.
Whether the South China Sea can retain its current tranquility, to a large extent is determined by whether the US speeds up its provocations. It is also worth noting whether India, instigated by US Indo-Pacific strategy, adopts more radical China policies. China’s relations with Japan and South Korea will likely see some improvement this year.
Besides peripheral affairs, major power relations will shape China’s diplomatic pattern. We expect Beijing-Washington ties to keep stable, while many have predicted that bilateral relations in 2018 will face more difficulties than last year.
There are three areas of friction between the two. The US has complained a lot about China’s trade policy, while China has plenty of retaliatory measures. If the US launches a military strike against North Korea, how will China react and how will the US respond to China’s reaction? These questions can be expected to focus attention. Meanwhile, if the US upgrades its ties with Taiwan, especially military ties, China will respond strongly.
Russia will hold presidential elections in March. Ties between Moscow and the West tend to turn for the worse during Russian election years, but China-Russia relations are expected to consolidate in the new year.
Domestically, we hope that the just-concluded 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) can help the country retain robust economic development. A vigorous economy will boost people’s confidence. It is expected that economic reforms can be implemented and governments at various levels can make political achievements.
Meanwhile, social governance should be improved and economic and social development should be people-oriented. China has reached the stage of high-quality development, but his has to be in line with popular expectations.
We also hope all of society can reach a wider consensus, and mainstream concepts and values based on China’s fundamental political systems can be enhanced. This can boost a relaxing and diverse cultural atmosphere.
As China builds up its overall strength, we expect military development can achieve prominent progress. China’s strategic nuclear development should score an achievement and its development of aircraft carriers should continue. While military pressure from the US will mount, the PLA is capable of coping with all kinds of challenges. This will serve as a solid backup of China’s diplomacy and a source of public confidence.
The Chinese public hopes to live a peaceful and prosperous life. People hope that the government should serve them in an effective way and can strenuously respond to external provocations. These are high demands for the government, and sometimes even contradictory. We believe the CPC and the Chinese government have the aspiration and wisdom to maximize the interests of the Chinese people.
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the country’s reform and opening-up. The CPC has guided the Chinese people through tough times and now will lead them to a brighter future.
(The article is an editorial of the Chinese edition of the Global Times Tuesday. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn)
(Global Times)

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