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Changing world increases need for cooperation

By WANG MINGJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-25 07:59

Changing world increases need for cooperation

Peter Frankopan, author of international best-seller The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

China is engaging with the world in a much more systematic way than it did before, which is a positive development, according to a professor of global history at Oxford University.

"This is partly because of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the rebuilding of connections in countries across Asia and Africa," said Peter Frankopan, author of the international bestseller The Silk Roads: A New History of the World. "Part of this also comes from a growing awareness that the world is changing."

Frankopan, also director of the Oxford Center for Byzantine Research, said the greatest challenge China faces is the changing world around it. "China does not exist within a bubble, but like all countries at the moment it is faced with a time of profound transition, which makes collaboration and cooperation more important than ever," he said.

In this transitional period, Frankopan said knowledge and education are the building blocks of good relationships, which enable countries to understand, listen and talk to each other.

He said that China's increased self-confidence could translate into more tolerance of differing views.

Although China is at a turning point, where much will depend on decisions made in the coming months and years, he said there is no question the country is planning for the future, but how it adapts policies in the face of change elsewhere will be crucial.

In early September, Frankopan attended the BRICS summit in Xiamen, Fujian province. He said it made him smile when President Xi Jinping said at the conference that he had spent much time in the city but still did not understand everything the locals said because of their accent. "I like politicians who make me smile," Frankopan said.

"But I'm mostly impressed by his commitment to the Belt and Road Initiative, and to seeing ways in which China can use its expertise and resources to support growth in other countries. This seems to me progressive and sensible."

He commended China's commitment to environmental sustainability, saying the country's attitude to the environment will play an important part in slowing climate change.

"The most significant step it could take in today's world is playing a greater role in humanitarian crises around the world," Frankopan said.

Famines are devastating several countries, and he said he wants to see China play a greater role in helping those affected, and in resolving the conflicts that underpin these problems.

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