by Xinhua writer Wang Jiangang
NEW YORK, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- China has made great achievements over the past five years under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said a renowned China specialist in the United States.
In an interview with Xinhua ahead of the 19th CPC National Congress, which is set to open Wednesday in Beijing, David Shambaugh said he expects the CPC to roll out even better policies that will benefit both China and the world.
Shambaugh, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University and also a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, noted that prominent achievements are seen in such areas as international governance, anti-corruption, military organizational reforms, technological innovation and economic growth.
The widely published author, whose books "China Goes Global" (2013) and "China's Future" (2016) were selected by The Economist magazine among the best books of the year, spoke highly of China's current role in international governance.
"Concerning global governance, the world has never been so complicated and filled with difficulties and challenges. The vast majority of these are transnational in nature, and hence require the cooperation of all national governments as well as private sector actors," he said.
Describing China as one of the three major countries in the world today along with the United States and Russia, he said that China "has a particularly important leadership role to play in global governance."
He noted that while China was previously criticized by other countries for being a "free rider" in global governance, he and other foreign observers now recognize that under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, China has really stepped up to play a much "enhanced" and "responsible" role in global governance over the past five years.
"Xi Jinping deserves personal credit for this, as he has demonstrated a personal interest in the issue of global governance," said Shambaugh, who particularly cited Xi's "well-received" speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year.
"As a result, the world has seen China significantly increase its contributions in the areas of climate change, global health, international peacekeeping, anti-piracy, anti-corruption, international law enforcement, disaster relief, global economic governance, development aid, energy security, maritime security, and reshaping multilateral institutions," he said.
"China's dramatically increased role in global governance is very positive and one of the most noteworthy aspects of Xi Jinping's foreign policy," said Shambaugh, who has acted as an advisor to the U.S. government and several private foundations and corporations.
"Overall, China's foreign policy also must be judged a substantial success, in terms of bilateral relations with most nations in the world as well as China's increased contributions to global governance," he added.
"No other global power can claim to have essentially positive relations with so many countries as China," he said.
As for the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, Shambaugh said that it is "a welcome initiative" and "has great potential for many countries and global development."
"Most of the countries along the Belt and Road have significant development need -- electricity and power, transport infrastructure, IT connectivity, etc -- which China can contribute greatly to fulfilling," he said.
EXPECTATIONS AND HOPES
On the upcoming CPC National Congress, the China specialist said it deserves much attention worldwide mainly because of two reasons: personnel and policy.
The CPC national congress, usually held every five years, elects the party's leadership and draws a blueprint for national development for the next five years and beyond.
"Foreign China specialists always pay a great deal of attention -- perhaps too much -- to the composition of the top leadership," he said.
Aside from personnel changes, party congresses are important also because they "both recap the policy directions of the past five years as well as set the overall direction for the next five years," he said.
The noted China watcher said that "General Secretary Xi Jinping's report to the congress is of exceptional importance."
"Normally, these documents are very comprehensive, covering numerous separate sections. There are usually few surprises and much continuity with previously known policies, but they are still very important statements of policy priorities," he noted.
As China is now a major country in the world, with an economy that drives global growth and an international status of growing importance and influence, of course the congress has significant meaning outside China, he said.
He added that many other countries should pay close attention, as they will be impacted -- directly and indirectly -- by the outcomes of the congress over the next five years.
During the interview, Shambaugh suggested that China enhance implementation of the structural reforms set at the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held in November 2013, noting that those reforms "are vital not only to China's long-term economic growth and sustainable development, but also to global economic growth and stability."
"It is hoped that the party congress will breathe new life and momentum into these reforms," he said.
Shambaugh said that he believes China's social stability, political reform and sustainable ecological development are not only vitally important to China, but also to all nations in Asia around China as well as the world at large.
Many other nations and international organizations have worked constructively with China towards these goals over the past four decades, and they continue to stand ready to do so in the future, he said.
"If China is governed well, this is good for the world," he concluded.