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London - China's development is an opportunity for the world, Cong Peiwu, Chinese Minister Counselor to the UK said on Saturday.
Cong's remarks opened the third China Development Forum, an annual conference organized by the China Development Society at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
China's rise will be peaceful, said Cong. "The commitment to peace and harmony is deeply rooted within China's traditional culture", he said.
"In our time, the trend towards prosperity and globalization is irresistible," he said, adding that China's status as the world's largest exporter and second largest importer creates opportunities for the world economy.
Cong's comments are echoed by Zhang Weiying, professor of economics at Peking University.
"Everything in China is a big market," Zhang said, explaining that China's large population now creates many non-traditional business opportunities, with China's foot message industry, wedding market and the education sector being some examples.
But Cong said that China's peaceful rise is not yet fully appreciated by the rest of the world.
"Nowadays, students in China start to learn English in primary school, and nurseries in some cities. These trends give China better exposure to the British culture and society. By contrast, Britain's understanding of China is shaped by the BBC and newspapers," Cong said.
He urged Britain to strengthen its understanding of China as "the first step to reduce a deficit in understanding" between the two countries.
Danny Quah, professor of economics at the LSE, said that although the West's perception about China is improving, there are still misconceptions.
China's rise has meant that now the "rest of the world is quite happy to consider alternative models of economic development, while there was one time the Washington Consensus was promoted as the only way to run an economy," Quah said.
But there are still some observers that see problems in China's economy like "currency manipulation", "domestic markets policies that artificially keeps wages low", and "intellectual property rights policies", and ask China to change.
Cong agreed that many problems still exist within China's economy, but said that China's three decades of reform and opening up has also brought the country many achievements.
"We have built up a socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics, and are strengthening the rule of law," Cong said.
"The 21st century is a century of peace and development. And peaceful development is the only way to bring a better future for all," Cong added.
China's peaceful rise is also a topic that China's State Councilor Dai Bingguo spoke about at the third China-UK Strategic Dialogue held in London last September.
Dai stressed that peaceful development is a strategic choice for China, and it is inseparable from the understanding and support from the international community including the UK.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said at the Strategic Dialogue that the UK takes the rise of developing countries as an opportunity, and will cooperate closely with China and other emerging countries to meet global challenges and establish global partnerships.