The ascent of China will most likely be the biggest geopolitical drama of the 21st century. Wang Jisi, dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University, discusses China’s military expansion, the longevity of the country’s ‘peaceful rise,’ and the effects on global governance and international rules.

Question: I remember a couple of years ago the CCTV aired a program called “The Rise of Great Nations” that featured the histories of Rome, Great Britain, Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union. What implications do these lessons have for China?

Answer: I think the consensus here is that economic growth is the key to becoming a rising power. The Chinese have also concluded that to sustain economic growth it is also necessary to maintain political stability. In the rise and fall of great powers, one lesson the Chinese always learn is that aggression will not pay.

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