A "New Type of Great Power Relationship" and Governance in the International System of the 21st Century

  • Zhongying Pang Renmin University of China


In the early decades of the 21st century, the real world of powers is neither the so-called unipolarity of the United States of America as the sole superpower, nor the trans-Atlantic domination of the joint Western hegemony. Things are no longer that simple. A fundamental fact of the contemporary international system is that several great powers co-exist – a great powers system has emerged. Clearly, the emergence of the great powers system is a major global challenge. Unfortunately, there are still no effective solutions to the challenge posed by the great powers system. However, China’s proposal a “new type of great power  relationship” touches on the issue of the management of the 21st century’s great powers system. The concept of a “new type of great power relationship” still needs time to be further developed theoretically. The management of the great powers system could be the main aim of the concept. In order for 2 America to maintain its dominant position, America turns towards Asia. However, this may help consolidate American hegemony for a short time but it cannot manage the great powers system on a long-term basis. This article argues that China’s “new type of great power relationship” can be seen as a foreign policy innovation in managing the great powers system. It notices that, like China’s new proposal, similar arguments on how to deal with the global challenge posed by a great powers system are emerging in Europe and the Asia Pacific.

Research Article