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Growing China: Will China Share Superpower Status with United States?

Essay by   •  October 19, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,608 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,057 Views

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Growing China: Will China Share Superpower Status with United States?

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, United States has remained her superpower status and has established her hegemony all around the world. In the 21st century, everybody waits for a country to fill the gap that was left by the Soviet Union to compete with the United States. Now, China is the most potential country that can be a superpower competing with US. China has developed herself since she became a communist state, especially, it is the past 20 years that China has improved from a state once isolated form rest of the world, into a regional superpower as potentially a state having the capacity to change the future direction of world events. By 2020, China hopes to compete with United States, however, that is not so easy for US to share her superpower status with China and US does not want to engage in another Cold War.

First of all, what is a superpower? We need to define superpower to understand that China will possess the status of what and whether she benefits from it. During the second half of the twentieth century the concept of superpower status has been unique and without precedent. This is due to the fact that in this period, a superpower by definition possesses nuclear capabilities. While the UK, a superpower in the nineteenth century, now possesses nuclear capabilities, it is lacking in other attributes. Today's superpower possesses four attributes, which confer upon it this status. Firstly, a superpower must possess large diversified national economy; secondly, it must own major conventional military force; thirdly, it must hold nuclear weapon capabilities; and lastly, it must enjoy strategic geographic location.

During the period 1950-90 two countries satisfied the four conditions for superpower status; these were the US and Soviet Union. Today, United States is the only country that has those conditions and China appears the most likely candidate to achieve superpower status. China has developed a modest-sized nuclear weapon capability. Secondly, she occupies a pivotal position in the Eurasian land mass. Its position may be superior to that of the former Soviet Union, since China possesses a lengthy coastline, with many large ports and natural harbors. China's ship construction industry is now one of the world's largest, and China enjoys a growing comparative advantage in this industry sector. Thirdly, throughout the past 25 years China's economy has seen an uncharacteristically high economic growth rate. Prior to 1978, China had closed its doors to the rest of the world, preventing Western ideals from entering China. Economic reform began with the privatization of the agricultural industry in 1978. Within a five-year span, the agricultural sector saw substantial growth. The success of this liberal policy eventually led to other changes within the Chinese economy. In 1980, China developed Special Economic Zones (SEZ), which provided a window of exchange to the outside world. China had been in economic isolation until the 1980s, and the SEZs provided a way for Western economic policies to be introduced into certain regions of China. Regulations for foreign direct investment were also relaxed in these zones. Eventually, communist China let market competition play a role in its economy. Restrictions on the formation of new businesses were slowly relaxed. Private industries soon formed at a fast rate, and at the same time the levels of foreign investment entering into their market increased. China's economy developed gradually from these reform policies. China first focused on the rural areas with agricultural reform, and then moved to reform its urban areas with the SEZs. It moved from microeconomic policy into macro-economic policy to develop its economy. This gradual development was necessary due to the large population and the large area over which reform was needed. This gradual restructuring of economic policy eventually paved the way for China to enter into the World Trade Organization (WTO). And finally, Economic growth over the past 20 years has provided China with the resources with which to yield greater power and influence in the world. Along with its increasing economic strength, China must develop its military in order to rival the US, which is regarded as the world's sole military superpower.

As we see China has possessed the four attributes which are requirements of being superpower. Furthermore, China has been developing her four attributes day by day. China may benefit form this status. Superpowers are listened to regarding political and economic issues and problems, Superpowers possess an agenda-setting capability in international affairs and within international organizations.

In spite of being a potential candidate for superpower status, China has many problems that have to be solved. Being a superpower does not only mean holding these four attributes, China has to clean her negative images and gain legitimacy from other countries. We can note that China has six negative images:

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