Ong Tee Keat, the chairman of the Centre for New Inclusive Asia, CNIA, has asserted that the three initiatives put forward by President Xi Jinping are more realistic and prudent in solving the persistent deficit in global governance.
Mr Ong Tee Keat, a former Malaysian transport minister, was speaking at the just concluded Lanting Forum in Shanghai on Friday, 21st April 2023.
In a panel discussion themed ‘achieve shared growth through collaboration, promote global governance’, Mr Tee Keat said the global initiatives have all the hallmarks of Chinese philosophy and heritage.
“In reality, having been cognizant of the multipolarity of global dynamics and cultural diversity, China’s ideal of shared growth and co-existence underpinning the GDI, GSI and GCI is a more realistic and prudent approach in addressing the current deficit in global governance. The wisdom owes its origin to the various Chinese philosophical thoughts which constitute the rich heritage of Chinese civilization.
From the Chinese perspective, in its pursuit of a shared future for humanity, economic collaboration and infrastructural connectivity embodied in the BRI are merely the key means to address economic disparity and enhance understanding among nations, while both the GDI and GSI constitute the two pillars of a great global engineering of nurturing peace and harmony. Again this resonates with the lofty Chinese philosophical ideal of which literally means ‘collaboration and harmony for all nations’. It portrays a far more bigger picture than the notion of ‘prosper-thy-neighbours’ which many of us might be familiar with. The wisdom of ‘collaboration and harmony for all nations’ is not just an endeavour embracing near neighbours in the name of good neighbourliness, but rather it is a global endeavour embracing humanity,” he said, via a video link.
The former parliamentarian added that grasping Chinese wisdom is enough to refute the so-called debt trap reports in the West who are intentioned to “weaponize anything for geopolitical gains.”
He stated: “In the same context, perhaps the myth that the Chinese initiative, like BRI, is a debt trap, can be demystified by the understanding of Chinese philosophical wisdom which may remain incomprehensible to those nefarious minds who are prepared to weaponize anything and everything for geopolitical gain.
A clear case in point is the understanding of Confucius teaching of ‘aiding others when one prospers’ which may help shed some light on the proactive offer of public goods by China in addressing the global exigencies. The logic is simple and is unrelated to altruism in essence. The bottom line lies in the common disastrous plight awaiting the entire mankind if the exigencies were left unabated. No single nation state could ever stay safe from the onslaught of disasters in face of the existential challenges, as the destiny of the entire planet, where we call home, is intertwined.”
He said the Chinese don’t believe in “zero-sum mentality” but entrenched inclusiveness, which has characterised Chinese civilisation for generations.
“Throughout the history of China, no single war has ever been fought due to cultural fallout and religious difference. This has shaped the Chinese global views for ages. It could only be appreciated in the right perspective if we really stay true to our commitment to striving for a better world,” he noted.
He advised the United States to come to terms with the reality that there is new paradigm shift and “any brutal bid of stifling fair competition vis-a-vis these emerging powers would only reveal the lack of self-confidence and spirit of fairplay on the part of the superpower. This does not commensurate at all with the status of global leader that the superpower proclaims.”