The rise of China as a major player in international politics ranks as one of the defining features of 21st century global politics. China’s rise however has been met with considerable suspicion among many political watchers who view Beijing’s growing influence with suspicion, especially concerning China’s long-term intentions within the Asia-Pacific region. China has clearly moved from a position of passivity to a more active one, as its national interests become increasingly globalized. Furthermore, China is clearly eager to present its credentials to the international community and is determined to be taken as a major global stakeholder. This paper will argue that China’s enthusiasm to demonstrate its international influence now takes the form of a rising chorus echoing China’s claim to exceptionalism in world affairs. Unlike American exceptionalism, the Chinese version is not done in order to remake the world in its own image, but to (i) assert greater influence on the world stage; (ii) consolidate its widening orbit of interests and to ensure its ongoing prosperity; and (iii) present itself as a moral (credible) stakeholder of the global community.
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