by Jian Ping
CHICAGO, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- China has changed fundamentally over the last five years, turning from a rule taker to a rule maker, said Geoff Dyer, journalist and former China Bureau Chief of Financial Times.
Addressing business leaders and China watchers at a talk hosted by Chicago Council on Global Affairs Tuesday evening, Dyer said " China has started to make the crucial shift from a government that accepts the existing rules to one that seeks to shape the world according to its own national interests."
As a large country which has been exposed to too many events in the world, China can "no longer just concentrate on its own things, " Dyer said in an interview with Xinhua.
"China needs to be much more engaged," he said. As international competition becomes stronger, the Chinese government has been pushed "to be more assertive."
Dyer attributes China's rising in recent years to currency, military, and media.
He told Xinhua that the financial crisis in Asia in 1997 was a big moment for China. "China behaved very responsibly at that time. It didn't just look after its own interest. People saw that and respected that."
For a decade, China used the opportunity to build up its economic ties and good friendship with many countries in Asia, Dyer said.
"I don't think China is doing anything that's different from what other big rising countries have done in the past," Dyer said when talking about China's rise as a world power.
When a country reaches a certain size and scale, "it is entirely natural that the country wants to be more influential and wants to start shaping events around the world, especially in its own region," he said.
While pushing its agenda in the disputed territories in Asia in the last four years, China has alienated a few countries, he noted. And it is also inevitable that China finds itself pulled into a geopolitical competition with the U.S..
"China and the U.S. are contesting in international politics, from control of the oceans in Asia to the currency in international business," said Dyer, adding, however, the contest of the century between the two countries is "a chessboard rather than a struggle."
"There is this competition of rivalries, but there is also a lot of cooperation and connections in business as well," he said.
The challenge is to make sure the rivalry of competition is managed in a way that it doesn't go out of control.
"I think China needs some sort of positive projects," he added.
He emphasized the benefits of finding projects that the two countries can work together, "things we can do together not only for the benefits of both countries, but also for the benefits of the world."