And don't mess with China
China is doing a bit of that; it is tightening its economic management to take all this in stride.
Asian analysts are wasting time trying to find out exactly what, when and how Beijing will do what its key policy making committee (the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee) set out in its road map. They, and other China-watchers, should realize that everything is covered in the document (published last Tuesday evening, November 12, 2013) on the country's sweeping reform process covering the economy, financial markets, judicial system, national security, party's role and social policies. There is no improvisation here.
Some less contentious and simpler issues will be solved rapidly – as was the case with changes to the one-child policy and the abolition of labor camps. More challenging technical and political problems will be tackled with the tried and tested Chinese pragmatism -- "crossing the river by feeling the stones." There probably will be a whiff of improvisation here, but the party will control and make sure that all remains within the confines of "socialism with Chinese characteristics."
(Read more: Economics behind China relaxing its one-child policy)
China's Asian neighbors should not allow territorial issues to degenerate into confrontation and what, rightly or wrongly, Beijing perceives as hostile policies to obstruct its economic and political standing in the region. That would be damaging to Asia's huge potential of economic development.
Remember, it took 40 years of tough negotiations for China and Russia to settle their border issues. India and China are now into their 50th year of technical and political dialogue about contested frontier regions.
And here is some anecdotal evidence about the economic dividend of friendly and peaceful Asian relations. On a private visit to a major Asian capital a year ago, I saw many gleaming condominium towers with billboards advertising easy sales – "nothing down," "0 percent interest rates," "special bonuses available," etc. Aha, I said, that looks like what I saw in parts of Florida in 2007 and 2008. But when I recently returned to that city, billboards were gone and replaced by the eyesore of drying linen on elegant balconies in the city center.
What happened? A local acquaintance told me that most of those empty residential towers were sold out to mainland Chinese.
(Read more: China's early-bird investors are left holding the worm)
I understood things a bit better when in my fully booked five-star hotel there were only a few sun-starved north Europeans, formerly the main customers in Asian tropics. Again, most of the rooms were rented out to the Chinese trying to escape their debilitating air and water pollution.
The next day, I boarded a completely sold jumbo jet flight originating in Shanghai en route to a popular Indian Ocean tourist destination. Visitor arrivals from China have reportedly doubled in the first nine months of this year in some Asian holiday spots.
Clearly, China is driving an incredibly fast-changing economic scene in Asia. With more than 300 million of an increasingly prosperous and well educated middle class (roughly half of all urban dwellers), that is hardly surprising. These are the people that will carry the Asian economy. These are also the people that are forcing China's leadership to get in step with the times by paying greater attention to social justice, income equality and better public services – all part of the program of ongoing structural reforms.
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Michael Ivanovitch is president of MSI Global, a New York-based economic research company. He also served as a senior economist at the OECD in Paris, international economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and taught economics at Columbia.