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Interview: China more proactive in setting agenda for global growth, governance -- U.S. expert
Last Updated: 2017-10-12 00:15 | Xinhua
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China has been "more proactive" in helping set the agenda for global growth and governance in the past five years, says a renowned U.S. scholar, citing the Belt and Road Initiative as an example.

That represents a "very significant change" in China's foreign policy afterXi Jinpingwas elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in November 2012, Robert Lawrence Kuhn told Xinhua in an interview in the run-up to the 19th National Congress of the CPC.

Xi, who took over the Chinese presidency in March 2013, "began a more proactive approach to the world, which basically had China not just reacting to others' agenda but helping in a mutual way to set the agenda," added Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, an American nongovernmental organization promoting U.S.-China ties.

Particularly, the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Xi in 2013 to promote win-win cooperation and common development along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes, shows that China is taking a "proactive, original" approach on some issues, he noted.

Recalling that the initiative was "underappreciated by almost everyone at first, including many Chinese, in terms of its importance for China and for the world," Kuhn said it is actually a "very powerful idea."

"This symbolizes to me China's new role (in the world) in a very thoughtful and engaging way," he said.

By linking countries and regions that account for more than 60 percent of the world's population and 30 percent of globalGDP, the initiative is a "perfect example" of China sharing its wisdom and solutions for global growth and governance, Kuhn added.

Describing it as a new and "very engaging" initiative, he said it allows China to use its own experiences and expertise to bring "what is probably the most desperately needed commodity to the developing world, which is infrastructure."

"So you have the balance internationally between China being equal on critical difficult issues like (the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue) and setting the agenda on where the world needs to go," he added. "That's a substantial change befitting China's economic and social position in the world."

As regards U.S.-China relations, Kuhn, who has decades of experience in advising multinational corporations on China strategies and transactions, said he is optimistic about closer win-win cooperation between the two countries, despite their social and cultural differences.

"The differences in the social system are wildly exaggerated," he said. "To me, that difference in social systems is something that really makes no sense in today's world."

In addition, "both countries have smart people in very substantial positions who are all working to" bridge differences and promote bilateral ties, he added.

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