China’s Diplomacy in the New Era: Opening Up New Horizons with a New Outlook

China International Studies (English) - - Contents - Wang Yi

China’s diplomacy has made many breakthroughs and important headway in the year of 2017. As socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, China needs to gain a new outlook, make new accomplishments and take new responsibilities in the conduct of foreign policy, and will continue to act as a responsible major country in a world of great changes, transformations and adjustments.

The year 2017 is of special, high significance to both China and the world. The world is at a crucial stage of evolving international landscape and shifting balance of power, facing growing destabilizing and uncertain factors and new problems and challenges on multiple fronts. The human society has once again come to a crossroads of history. Should one opt for openness or isolation, cooperation or confrontation, win-win or zero-sum game? These are questions we are all thinking hard about. The choice made by major countries will significantly impact the future of our world and the entire mankind.

As for China, since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has made historic achievements and registered historic changes in wide-ranging areas. The 19th CPC National Congress successfully held established the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, opened up new horizons for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and set out the direction and objectives of China’s diplomacy in the new era. This has given Chinese answers to the serious questions confronting the world. That is to say, China believes it is essential to advance peace, development and win-win cooperation, foster a new form of international

Wang Yi is Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. This article is based on his speech at the opening of the Symposium on International Developments and China’s Diplomacy, co-hosted by China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) and China Foundation for International Studies (CFIS) in December 2017.

relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind. It is fair to say that we have taken stock of our achievements and broken new ground in China’s diplomacy in the year of 2017.

Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee in the past year, we have earnestly implemented the new thinking, new ideas and new measures put forward by General Secretary Xi Jinping in the past five years by taking active, innovative and pioneering steps, and made many breakthroughs and important headway in our diplomatic work. These achievements can be summed up in the following five aspects:

First, we have drawn up the blueprint for jointly undertaking the Belt and Road Initiative.

In the past four years since President Xi Jinping put it forward, this major initiative has been translated from an envisioned concept into real action and progress on the ground. The initiative has delivered real benefits through win-win cooperation and attracted extensive attention and participation. More and more countries are looking to China with high expectation for cooperation opportunities under the Belt and Road framework.

In May 2017, President Xi Jinping successfully chaired the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing. The forum generated huge enthusiasm around the world and the keenness to participate was overwhelming. The heads of state/government from 29 foreign countries, senior representatives from over 140 countries and heads of over 70 international organizations attended the event. It became the most extensively attended and most highly represented multilateral diplomatic event that China had initiated and hosted. And it produced a broad consensus among the nations from across the world on jointly advancing the Belt and Road Initiative.

At the BRF, President Xi Jinping set out the objective of building the Belt and Road into a road for peace, prosperity, opening-up, innovation and exchanges among civilizations. Plans were laid out for

future cooperation under the Belt and Road framework, presenting the prospects for common development and prosperity. Underpinned by real actions and concrete projects, the BRF produced over 270 specific results under 76 broad categories across five key areas. A series of major projects were launched on the ground during the forum. A win-win cooperation network is coming into being, centering around the Eurasian continent and reaching out to continents and oceans across the world. And an international cooperation platform has been put into place for countries to synergize their development strategies and complement each other with comparative strengths for enhanced connectivity and inclusive and open development.

The Belt and Road has become the most popular international public goods in today’s world. Its success lies in the fact that by focusing on the dual deficits in development and governance and the dual challenges of anemic global growth and lack of drive in global cooperation, the Belt and Road Initiative has responded to the shared desire for accelerated development, and sought to pool the economic factors and developmental resources from wider areas following an approach of pursuing shared benefits through consultation and collaboration. This opens a new pathway for resolving development conundrums, improving economic governance, achieving sustainable development and rebalancing globalization.

Up till now, we have signed Belt and Road cooperation agreements with 80 countries and organizations, conducted institutionalized cooperation on industrial capacity with over 30 countries, and built 75 overseas economic and trade cooperation zones in 24 countries under the Belt and Road framework. Chinese businesses have invested over US$50 billion and created near-200,000 local jobs in the countries along the Belt and Road. Building on the first BRF, the Belt and Road Initiative is developing across the board and has shown strong vigor and vitality. It carries far-reaching positive implications for global development, and will also lend strong and sustained impetus to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Second, we have been a strong advocate of economic globalization.

In a time of sluggish economic growth and recovery as well as global turbulence and unending conflicts, the judgment and leadership of global statesmen and the ability to take swift action are more sought after than gold. President Xi’s visit to Davos early in the year was such a trip that boosted global confidence and charted the way forward for economic globalization.

In his keynote speech at the World Economic Forum, President Xi pointed out that the road of human progress has never been a smooth one, but no difficulty, however daunting, can stop mankind from advancing. In the face of difficulty, instead of making complaints or blaming others, we should come together and rise to the challenge. He emphasized that many of the world’s problems are not caused by economic globalization, and trying to reverse the trend of globalization will be futile, just as it is impossible to channel the water in the global economic ocean back into isolated lakes and creeks. He stressed the importance of steadfastly building an open global economy, reminding us that those who pursue protectionism will lock themselves in a dark room deprived of light and air. President Xi also put forward China’s proposal for boosting global growth and making globalization more balanced. He called for joint efforts to develop a model of innovation-driven growth, open and winwin cooperation, fair and equitable governance, and balanced and inclusive development.

President Xi’s visit to the United Nations Office at Geneva is the first such visit by China’s top leader in the 21st century, and a major diplomatic initiative after his participation in the summits commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. It sent a clear message that China fully supports the United Nations and multilateralism. At the Palace of Nations, President Xi gave a full account of his major international initiative to jointly build a community with a shared future

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