China shifts to ‘people-centered reforms’

The government should take a comprehensive review of its foreign policy, with an eye on how to capitalize on China’s push toward global advancement.

An important development in Geopolitics happened today when China formally introduced Li Qiang, its new Premier, who led Shanghai when Tesla built its biggest factory outside of the US and is considered an advocate of more private-led enterprises in the economy.

Critics point out that he also led Shanghai during the height of the lockdowns during the Covid-19 crisis, and his rise is actually a move by President Xi to consolidate power. He is said to have the ear of President Xi Jinping, who was given an unprecedented third time.

It is also a signal of furthering and enhancing Xi’s socio-economic agenda, with Li leading the State Council, which is the equivalent of the Cabinet.

The question now is how this would impact Philippines-China relations, especially in the tense environment in the South China Sea and Taiwan straits, and given how the Marcos administration has appeared to have acquiesced to the United States in gearing up for a possible war in the region because of Taiwan.

In a forum of the Integrated Development Studies Institute, geopolitical expert Sass Rogando Sassot raised the question of why the Philippines is blindly following the US when the US itself abides by the One-China Policy and does not formally recognize the island’s independence.

On the other hand, former Senator Francisco Tatad pointed out that the Marcos administration should clarify its actual stand and foreign policy, and he hopes that if ever, it is a policy that is geared towards achieving peace, and not the specter of war.

The most interesting topic that should really be elevated in the public discourse is how we should position ourselves to seize the opportunities that China’s socio-economic agenda presents.

IDSI Director George Siy pointed out how the global shift in economic development has made China a superpower when he pointed out that America before was the leader in a “practical” approach to economic growth, but has now become more “political” as it tries to hedge and leverage its economic and military might with cutthroat embargoes and impositions with its trading partners around the world, including us.

China prioritized the practical approach and has shown the world that a big, poor Asian country can transform itself into an economic and technological superpower in less than a generation, and developing countries like ours can adopt many lessons, especially in a rapidly changing global economy, Wharton-trained economist Siy asserted.

Indeed, there is a lot that we can learn from China’s pursuit on the economic and development front, and we really can benefit from it in various ways — in education, human resource, infrastructure development, and most especially in technology application.

The government should take a comprehensive review of its foreign policy, with an eye on how to capitalize on China’s push toward global advancement, to further our own national interest.

Because at the end of the day, we cannot change our neighbors, and they will continue to reform and improve. And the needs of our people will continue to grow bigger.

Mark my word.

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