Nanning, China - The giant is fully awake.
China, which went into economic isolation and slumber during the decades-long regime fo Mao Tsetung after the Second World War, has begun to flex its muscle. Hardly anyone doubts that already this nation with more than 1.3 billion people spread across 9.6 million square kilometers of real estate is on its way to becoming a true global superpower.
While the whole world continues to watch China with a newfound curiosity and fascination, China stares back with just as watchful, expectant eyes. Its government has extended broad and aggressive efforts to foster regional and global multilateral relationship, using its astounding foreign exchange reserves to not only buttress its coffers but also acquire more respect and prestige.
Indeed the whole nation, including its boondocks, is undergoing a massive transformation. For instance, Nanning, capital of the southern province of Guangxi, used to be just known for its lush green mountains, a back water to its more prosperous neighbor Guangdong (formerly Canton). But it has been the host of the China-Asean Exposition (Caexpo) for four years running and has established its presence as another major player in national development, alongside Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The Caexpo was first proposed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao for the primary purpose of the China-Asean Free Trade Area (Cafta) and the resulting Cafta Agreement. It was immediately backed by the 10 Asean countries.