Under the muscular leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has cast off previous restraints, rejecting deference to an American-dominated global order as an impediment to national revival, write Peter S. Goodman and Jane Perlez:
In matters of commerce and national security, China is competing with the United States, even in traditional American spheres of influence. From a Chinese perspective, this reordering is merely an overdue reversion to historical reality as Beijing demands consideration commensurate with its stature.
China’s challenge to the Western-dominated order is amplified now that order’s primary architect, the United States, is now led by an avowed nationalist.
• Mr. Xi has sought to fill a vacuum. He has cast himself as the leader of the rules-based international trading system, even as China faces accusations of stealing intellectual property, subsidizing state-owned companies and dumping products on world markets at unfairly low prices.
Now, China is using its funds to make foreign investments, particularly in overseas infrastructure, with different terms from those offered by other nations:
• Western money comes with rules. Investment from Europe, for instance, is conditional on protecting labor and the environment, and requires that projects be awarded to companies on the basis of competitive bidding.
• China tends to distribute funds with simpler demands. Chinese companies must gain work, free of competition, while Beijing secures an international ally. In offering to finance infrastructure, China has positioned itself as an alternative to many Western development funds.