Building a Community with a Shared Future: Meliorating the Era of Strategic Opportunity in China
The concept of a community with a shared future for mankind has become the symbol of the Xi Jinping Diplomatic Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. As the transformation of the international order speeds up, the joint construction of the community will bring about an era of enhanced strategic opportunity for China.
The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, and is the year for the beginning of the implementation of the decisions taken at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Providing a blueprint for the direction of China’s development in the next 30 years, the Congress has vowed to build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of the century. At present, with an annual GDP of 80 trillion yuan, China has entered a new stage of development, indicating strong momentum and a bright future. Under strong leadership of the CPC, the Chinese economy has the capacity, potential, and confidence to maintain high-speed and high-quality growth for the foreseeable future. As the world’s second largest economy, China is expected to maintain its rapid and sound pace of growth at least until 2050, which will mark a miracle in human history by its 72 consecutive years of unprecedented growth and development. The key to creating such a miracle lies in how China ensures and expands the era of strategic opportunity for its development over the coming decades.
As the country enters a new era in its history, General Secretary Xi Jinping, taking overall control of the situation, has crafted a top-level design for China’s diplomacy. He profoundly summarized the brilliant achievements made by the CPC in diplomacy since the 18th CPC National Congress, and made comprehensive plans and arrangements for diplomatic objectives in the
Ruan Zongze is Executive Vice President and Senior Research Fellow of China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).
future. The Chinese commitment he announced to building a “community with a shared future for mankind” has been incorporated into the CPC constitution. In the ever-evolving 21st century, this is China’s outstanding contribution to the theory of international relations. It is a distinct privilege and honor for China to lead the trend of the times and take up the banner of progress for human civilization. It is also a guarantee that China’s strength will grow in a sustained and steady manner, and that this concept will guide the diplomatic work of China in the new era. It shows that the CPC and the Chinese people are fully confident and capable of providing new options for mankind to explore a better social system.
Since the first proposal of building a community with a shared future for mankind in 2013, General Secretary Xi Jinping has elaborated on this concept many times, which has contributed to the formation of a rich, scientific, and profoundly comprehensive ideological system. As a major innovative achievement of China’s diplomacy in the new era, this concept has been written into UN documents and gained increasing international recognition. It has been highly praised and enthusiastically responded to by the international community. This paper will discuss and analyze the course and trend of China’s diplomacy in the new era from the aspects of the connotations, background and necessary conditions of building a community with a shared future for mankind, as well as the theory and practices of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.
Core of Xi Jinping Diplomatic Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era
What is the community with a shared future for mankind? How should it be built? Why should we build it? The report of the 19th CPC National Congress has made clear from the outset that “… socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era. This is a new historic juncture in China’s development.” In this new era, China is getting ever closer to the center of the world stage, and is consistently making greater contributions to
mankind. This new era calls for a modern take on major-country diplomacy. As soon as the concept of the community with a shared future for mankind was proposed, it effectuated strong repercussions at home and abroad, and has become the symbol of the Xi Jinping Diplomatic Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
The report of the 19th CPC National Congress pointed out that China will follow a path of peaceful development and work to build a community with a shared future for mankind. China also calls on the people of all countries to work together to realize this goal. Specifically, this thought includes “five shoulds:” (1) We should respect each other, discuss issues as equals, resolutely reject the Cold War mentality and power politics, and take a new approach to developing state-to-state relations with communication, not confrontation, and with partnership, not alliance. (2) We should commit to settling disputes through dialogue and resolving differences through discussion, coordinate responses to traditional and non-traditional threats, and oppose terrorism in all its forms. (3) We should stick together through thick and thin, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, and balanced so that its benefits are shared by all. (4) We should respect the diversity of civilizations. In handling relations among civilizations, let us replace estrangement with exchange, clashes with mutual learning, and superiority with coexistence. (5) We should be good friends to the environment, cooperate to tackle climate change, and protect our planet for the sake of human survival.1
In the keynote speech delivered at the APEC CEO Summit after the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi Jinping for the first time outlined the goals of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for a new era on a multilateral international stage. While highlighting the beautiful prospects featured by the interaction between China and the rest of the world in the new era, the speech also declared that China had ushered in a new journey
1 Xi Jinping, Secure a Decisive Victory in Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects and Strive for the Great Success of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era: Report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, People’s Publishing House, October 2017, pp. 58-59.
of promoting the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. “Our world is full of challenges and the road ahead will not be smooth. But we will not give up on our dream. We will double our efforts and work with all others to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys durable peace, universal security, and common prosperity.”2
At the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting, General Secretary Xi Jinping further discussed the rich connotations of the community with a shared future for mankind, as well as how to build it. In essence, the building of a community with a shared future for mankind is a process by which the prospects and destinies of every nation and country will be closely connected to each other, sticking together through thick and thin, uniting the disparate peoples of the world into one harmonious family, and turning their aspirations for a better life into a reality. In order to realize such a common dream, efforts should be made in four aspects: building a safe world free of fear, with common security as a primary feature; eliminating poverty and promoting common prosperity; embracing openness and inclusiveness; and building a clean and beautiful world with picturesque scenery.3
In the face of the international community’s question of “what is going on with the world,” Xi Jinping’s speeches on two major occasions during his visit to Switzerland in January 2017 have generated significant reverberations globally. On January 17, Xi attended the opening session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017, and delivered a keynote speech entitled “Jointly Shoulder Responsibility of Our Times, Promote Global Growth.” In response to problems found in the world’s economic growth, governance, and development model, he proposed that “we should develop a dynamic, innovation-driven growth model,” “pursue a well-coordinated
2 Xi Jinping, “Seizing the Opportunity of a Global Economy in Transition and Accelerating Development of the Asia-pacific: Keynote Address at the APEC CEO Summit,” November 10, 2017, http://www. chinadaily.com.cn/world/2017-11/11/content_34393531.htm.
3 Xi Jinping, “Working Together toward a Better World: Keynote Speech at the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting,” December 1, 2017, http://world.people.com.cn/n1/2017/1202/ c1002-29681600.html.
and inter-connected approach to develop a model of open and win-win cooperation,” “develop a model of fair and equitable governance in keeping with the trend of the times,” and “develop a balanced, equitable and inclusive development model.”4 At the United Nations office at Geneva one day later, Xi Jinping delivered another keynote speech entitled “Work Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind,” which proposed to build an open, inclusive, green and low-carbon world featuring lasting peace, common security and common prosperity.5 The two speeches are seamlessly linked, giving a Chinese reflection in response to the question of “what to do with the current situation.”
Building a community with a shared future for mankind offers a powerful answer to the question of “what kind of world China wants.” The unprecedented expectations of the international community on China also means unprecedented responsibilities for China. China’s solution is to build a community with a shared future for mankind to achieve win-win outcomes and shared benefits. As pointed out in Xi Jinping’s 2018 New Year Speech,
At present, various sides have both expectations and worries about the prospect of peace and development for mankind, looking forward to China expressing its stand and attitude. The world is one big family. As a responsible major country, China has this to say: China will resolutely uphold the authority and status of the United Nations, conscientiously perform its due international obligations and responsibilities, keep its promises on global climate change, actively push forward the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, and always contribute to the building of world peace and global development, and the safeguarding of international order.
4 “Jointly Shoulder Responsibility of Our Times, Promote Global Growth: Keynote Speech at the Opening Session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017,” Xinhua, January 17, 2017, http://www. xinhuanet.com/english/2017-01/18/c_135991184.htm.
5 “Work Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind: Speech at the United Nations Office at Geneva,” January 18, 2017, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-01/19/c_135994707.htm. 6 “Chinese President Xi Jinping Delivers 2018 New Year Speech,” December 31, 2017, http://chinaplus. cri.cn/news/china/9/20171231/72084.html.
Today, China has an ever closer relationship with the rest of the world, in which “all countries have a bit of each other.” In the almost 70 years since the founding of the PRC, China has become independent and prosperous, and now it aims to become stronger. The Chinese people pursue not only a better life, but also aspire to a better world. China does not wish to provide solely for its own people, it seeks to benefit the world through shared development opportunities.
The idea of building a community with a shared future for mankind is rooted in the cultural genes of the Chinese nation. The pursuit of a better world serves the shared benefits of China and the rest of the world. To build a community with a shared future for mankind is, in essence, an expression of the Chinese Dream in a global context. The 5,000 years of Chinese civilization is a profound epic, featuring the pursuit of a beautiful world. The Chinese nation upholds the ideas that, “all under heaven are one family,” “all peoples and beings are your kind and shall be loved,” “all nations live side by side in perfect harmony,” and “all under heaven coexist in great harmony.” The Chinese culture, which is experiencing a revival in the 21st century, defines the relationship between China and the world by “win-win cooperation.” Building a community with a shared future for mankind is not only the practice of China approaching the center of the world stage, but it is also the best way for the world to approach China in the new era. This is both a practical summary of China’s own experience in terms of culture and history, and China’s solemn commitment to the international community. It reflects China’s willingness as a major country to make new and greater contributions to mankind.
An important approach to building a community with a shared future for mankind is to forge a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation, with the aim of exploring a new path towards friendly coexistence among nations. In this process, the Belt and Road Initiative functions as a bridge, connecting the
To build a community with a shared future for mankind is, in essence, an expression of the Chinese Dream in a global context.
present to the future. The five major factors of the initiative, namely, policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds, will help create a new platform for international cooperation, and add new impetus to common development. As pointed out by Xi Jinping, the proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative is to practice the concept of the community with a shared future for mankind. In the past four years, the Belt and Road construction has become a big cooperative platform for the common development of all countries concerned.7 It can be seen that “building a community with a shared future for mankind is not only the noble goal of China’s diplomacy, but also the common responsibility and historical mission of all countries in the world. We must thoroughly implement the idea of building a community with a shared future for mankind, continuously create new horizons for China’s diplomacy, and work hand in hand with all other countries to build a better world.”8
Creating a Greater Period of Strategic Opportunity
“In a global context, we are facing a change that is unprecedented within the past century.”9 While world multi-polarization, economic globalization, the construction of an information-based society and cultural diversification have all deepened, the deficits of peace, development and governance are interwoven. The humankind are faced with various conflicts as regional hotspot issues continue to flare while terrorism spreads rampantly. The ideologies of protectionism, anti-globalization and populism have emerged, greatly hindering the development of global governance and causing a serious shortage of institutional supply. Faced with the multitude of risks, no country, however powerful, can fight unilaterally against these global problems, and
7 Xi Jinping, “Working Together toward a Better World: Keynote Speech at the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting.”
8 Yang Jiechi, “Promoting the Community with a Shared Future for Mankind,” People’s Daily, November
9 “Xi Jinping Meets with Chinese Ambassadors Attending the Working Meeting of Ambassadors and Makes an Important Speech,” Xinhua, December 28, 2017, http://cpc.people.com.cn/n1/2017/1228/c6409429734770.html.
all countries must work together as one. The international community must update its understanding of the concept of global governance, build a more just and equitable international order, and forge a better future for mankind. As the transformation of the international order speeds up, the joint construction of the community with a shared future for mankind will bring about an era of enhanced strategic opportunity for China.
As underlined by the report of the 19th CPC National Congress, “Both China and the world are in the midst of profound and complex changes. China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development; the prospects are bright but the challenges are severe.” With significant development and readjustments of the world, the global structure is increasingly balanced, which becomes the irreversible general trend of the times. On the one hand, Western governance concepts, systems and models that dominated the world since the end of the World War II have malfunctioned, plagued by numerous disadvantages and chronic problems that can hardly be solved by Western countries themselves. The “end of history” theory once popular following the conclusion of the Cold War has come to an end, and the world has increasingly approached a “post-western” era. On the other hand, emerging market economies and developing countries have increased in strength. Such new developments have greatly changed the balance of world power, reshaped the theories and practices of international relations, and made the international order more just, reasonable, inclusive and balanced.
Different from past changes, the remarkable feature of this round of transformation of the international system is the absence of war. In history, the transformation of international systems has mostly come about by launching large-scale wars, especially those between major powers. After the wars, power was redistributed among the victors, and a new order soon came into being. The Versailles-washington system that emerged after the World War I and the Yalta system that emerged after the World War II were both formed in this way. Since the end of the Cold War, the international system has become increasingly multi-polar. Despite the sometimes fierce competition among
major powers, the risk of systemic confrontation or war has reduced, and peace has generally dominated the international landscape. Therefore, the transformation of the international order will be a long and tortuous process, which tests the endurance and patience of great powers.
Building a community with a shared future for mankind calls for a global governance concept that upholds wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. China is transforming itself from a participant to a leader of global governance, as it actively participates in the reform and construction of the global governance system, and continuously contributes its wisdom and strength. China’s in-depth interaction with the world and active participation and leadership in global governance are also effective ways to safeguard and expand its own
interests in the new era. The rise of China is achieved within the existing system. This unprecedented story of success has been written by more than 1.3 billion people, and the great achievements made by socialism with Chinese characteristics have attracted worldwide attention. China has deeply integrated itself into the international system, and has both the conditions and capabilities to make more contributions to the world. In order to gain greater institutional rights, China is actively promoting the reform of the current system of global economic governance. In the latest round of voting rights redistribution of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), effective from January 2016, China’s voting shares rose from 3.996% to 6.394%, ranking third from the sixth place and now behind only the United States and Japan. This change has not only boosted China’s weight in the global economic governance system, but also made the system more fair and reasonable.
The concept of global governance with Chinese characteristics goes hand in hand with China’s concept of national governance. China’s participation in global governance will extend its governance ideas beyond the borders, enhance the recognition from the international community, and allow the Chinese solutions to better serve global governance. China attaches importance to the innovation-driven development strategy and the five major development concepts of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. China gives priority to strengthened coordination and cooperation with the international community in major issues such as sustainable development, climate change, energy security and cyber security. China has put forward the Belt and Road Initiative, established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, hosted a series of international events, such as the summits of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, the Asia-pacific Economic Cooperation, the Group of 20 and the BRICS, as well as the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. These events have succeeded
China’s participation in global governance will extend its governance ideas beyond the borders, enhance the recognition from the international community, and allow the Chinese solutions to better serve global governance.
in internationalizing the Chinese solutions put forward on these occasions and translating them into international consensus, which has gradually broadened China’s path of development.
Adherence to the path of peaceful development and maintenance of world peace are what China must do as it seeks to build a community with a shared future for mankind. China will let history show that its rise from a country suffering from chronic poverty to the second largest economy in the world is not built on military expansion and colonial plundering, but on the people’s diligence and love for peace. China is a force devoted to the maintenance of world peace, and thus the development of China indicates the enhancement of global forces for peace. Since the end of the Cold War, four out of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely, the US, the UK, France and Russia, have been involved in wars. China is the only country that has been concentrating on the path of peaceful development. In fact, this has proven an effective path, urging China to advance global development with the idea of mutual benefits and win-win outcomes. At the international level, China’s peaceful development has enhanced the confidence of a large number of developing countries, and provided new reference for them to complete their modernization. To sum up, the more China develops, the better it will be for the world. World peace and stability will create a better external environment for the further development of China, and expand China’s strategic opportunities. Therefore, building a better world featuring a community with a shared future for mankind is what China will do to shape a new international order that is more peaceful, stable, prosperous and advanced.
Making New Ground in Pursuing Opening Up on All Fronts
The pursuit of opening up on all fronts and the efforts to build a community with a shared future for mankind are complementary and mutually reinforcing. The former can create necessary conditions for the latter, while the latter can deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and
the international community. China’s development benefits from its openingup, and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation cannot materialize without opening-up.
Whether or not China opens up and whether or not the country can deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with the international community will impact the effectiveness of building the community with a shared future for mankind. An important judgment made by the report of the CPC’S 19th National Congress is that the basic dimension of the Chinese context—that China is still and will long remain in the primary stage of socialism—has not changed, and China’s international status as the world’s largest developing country has not changed. The principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved into one between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. The change of principal contradiction of the society is historic with a bearing on the overall situation, and has put forward many new requirements on the work of the CPC and the state. Despite the total economic output soaring to the second highest in the world, China clearly recognizes that it is still a developing country at the primary stage of socialism, and that it still needs to redouble its efforts to expand reforms and opening-up.
From a historical point of view, China prospered when it was open and reform-oriented, and declined when it closed its doors and turned inward. Today, China’s destiny is closely linked with that of the world, and China’s interests have been deeply embedded in the international system. Since its opening-up to the outside world 40 years ago, China has had a stronger voice in the international system, and has contributed significantly more to the world. China believes that it can only be great when the world is free from troubles, and that the world can become a better place with China’s development. This point is well illustrated by the fact that China has contributed over one third of the world’s economic growth since the international financial crisis in 2008. As Xi Jinping said when he led the members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee to meet the domestic and foreign press,
We will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up in 2018. Reform and opening-up holds the key to the fate of contemporary China. Over the 40 years, the Chinese people have achieved a prosperous life and gradually become affluent. We will sum up our experience, and take advantage of the momentum to advance the modernization of China’s governance system and capacity. We will steadfastly deepen reforms in all fields, and unswervingly expand opening-up, so as to make reform and opening-up reinforce each other. I firmly believe that the great renewal of the Chinese nation will surely be realized in the process of reform and opening-up.10
10 “Xi Jinping’s Speech as Members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee Meet Press,” Xinhua, October 25, 2017, http://news.xinhuanet.com/ politics/19cpcnc/2017-10/25/c_129726443.htm.
11 Xi Jinping, “A New Starting Point for China’s Development, A New Blueprint for Global Growth: Keynote Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the B20 Summit,” September 3, 2016, http://www.fmprc.gov. cn/mfa_eng/wjdt_665385/zyjh_665391/t1396112.shtml.
As the second largest economy and the largest country in terms of trade in goods, China is a staunch defender of economic globalization and free trade. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has held high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and win-win, promoted friendly cooperation with other countries, advanced the reform of the global governance system, and injected confidence and momentum into global development. “China has reached a new historical starting point. It is a new starting point for China to deepen reform across the board and foster new drivers of economic and social development. It is a new starting point for China to adapt its economy to a new normal and transform its growth model. It is a new starting point for China to further integrate itself into the world and open itself wider to the world.” 11
The report of the 19th CPC National Congress stressed “making new ground in pursuing opening up on all fronts” and that “China will not close its door to the world; we will only become more and more open.” The word “open” appears 27 times in the report. The Central Economic Work
Conference held in December 2017 made it clear that, “we need to further expand the scope and level of opening-up, and, more importantly, we must upgrade the ideas, structural arrangements and institutional mechanisms of opening-up.” 12
In response to some international concern about whether China will continue to open its doors, Xi Jinping reiterated China’s commitment to openingup at the APEC CEO Summit, and reassured the world by highlighting the new direction of China’s opening-up efforts. He emphasized that:
China will not slow its steps in opening up itself. We will work together with other countries to create new drivers of common development through the launching of the Belt and Road Initiative. We will adopt policies to promote high-standard liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment. We will implement the system of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list across the board, significantly ease market access, further open the service sector, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors. All businesses registered in China will be treated as equals. We will grant more powers to pilot free trade zones to conduct reform, and explore the opening of free trade ports. We will speed up negotiations with partner countries on the concluding of free trade agreements and investment treaties, advance the building of FTAAP, work for the speedy conclusion of RCEP negotiations, and endeavor to establish a global network of free trade areas.13
As a symbol of China’s redoubled efforts to open itself up in the new era, the Belt and Road Initiative has been upgraded from a Chinese solution to an initiative that has become a point of international consensus. With increasingly deepened practical cooperation, consecutive “super projects” that connect
12 “Central Economic Work Conference: Six Areas to Expect Next Year,” Xinhua, December 20, 2017, http://www.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2017-12/20/c_129771242.htm.
13 Xi Jinping, “Seizing the Opportunity of a Global Economy in Transition and Accelerating Development of the Asia-pacific: Keynote Address at the APEC CEO Summit.”
China to the rest of the world have been launched.
Building an open world economy is in China’s interests, and consequently China’s door will only open wider to the outside world as time goes on. As pointed out by Xi Jinping, “China will keep its door wide open and not close it. An open door allows both other countries to access the Chinese market and China itself to integrate with the world. And we hope that other countries will also keep their door open to Chinese investors and keep the playing field level for us.”14 In the next 15 years, China will have an even larger market. It is estimated that China will import US$24 trillion worth of goods, attract US$2 trillion inbound direct investment and make US$2 trillion of outbound investment. In November 2018, China will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, providing all interested parties with a new platform to expand in the Chinese market. This move shows China’s good will in opening up its market to the world. It reflects China’s confidence and determination in opening up. It will surely foster new opportunities for the world’s open development.
Enriching Major-country Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics
Building the community with a shared future for mankind has comprehensively enriched and developed the theory of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, and has become the overall goal of China’s diplomacy in the new era. Immediately after the 19th CPC National Congress, China carried out intensive diplomatic activities, getting a new look and making new accomplishments, and opening a new chapter for majorcountry diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for a new era.
First, China has promoted coordination and cooperation with major countries, so as to build a framework of major-country relations that feature general stability and balanced development. China-russia relations continue to be characterized by a high level of stability. Xi Jinping’s meeting with Russian
14 “Jointly Shoulder Responsibility of Our Times, Promote Global Growth: Keynote Speech at the Opening Session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017.”
President Vladimir Putin in Danang, Vietnam on November 10, 2017 was the fifth for the two leaders within a year. China and Russia firmly support each other’s right to defend their respective core interests. Having further consolidated mutual political trust, the two countries have become strategic partners reliable to each other. The comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, established and developed between the two countries, remains a great example of a new type of international relations, characterized by mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation. As stressed by Xi Jinping, “at present, socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era while Russia has also been walking in steady steps toward a stronger and wealthier country. China-russia relations have also ushered in new development opportunities while we are at the critical stage for our own development. Both sides should continuously enhance mutual support, strengthen all-round cooperation, advance the scale and quality of bilateral trade at the same time, well implement major projects in such fields as energy, investment, high-tech, aviation and aerospace, as well as infrastructure, push for concrete results from the alignment of the construction of the ‘Belt and Road’ with the Eurasian Economic Union, and well plan and implement new activities for national theme year. Both sides need to strengthen communication on international and regional hotspot issues, and cement coordination and cooperation within multilateral frameworks including the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS.”15 Earlier from October 31 to November 2, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev paid a visit to China, becoming the first foreign leader to visit China after the successful conclusion of the 19th CPC National Congress. During this visit, he joined with Premier Li Keqiang in holding the 22nd regular meeting between Chinese and Russian premiers, where 16 cooperation agreements and a number of cooperation documents were signed, effectively consolidating the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two countries.
The Beijing meeting between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump has clarified the direction of China-us relations
15 “Xi Jinping Meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia,” November 11, 2017, http://www.fmprc. gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1510300.shtml.
in the new era. From November 8 to 10, 2017, Trump was invited to pay a state visit to China, and was received with “state visit plus” treatment. This was the third meeting between Xi Jinping and Trump. Since Trump took office in January 2017, important progress has been made in Chinaus relations, and the two heads of state have maintained multiple avenues of close contact. In April, Xi Jinping and Trump successfully held the first meeting at Mar-a-lago, with a second held in Hamburg in July on the sideline of the G20 summit. The two presidents reached consensus on a number of important issues regarding the development of China-us relations in the new era. Both sides believe that the bilateral relations have a significant bearing on the well-being of the two peoples, and on the peace, stability, and prosperity of the world. Cooperation is the only correct choice for China and the US, and only through win-win progress can the two countries enjoy a better future. Both sides agreed to allow for the strategic leading role of summit diplomacy in the future bilateral relations; strengthen contacts at all levels and give precedence to the four high-level dialogue mechanisms covering diplomacy and security, economy, law enforcement and cyber security, as well as social and people-to-people exchanges, to expand exchanges and cooperation in the relevant fields; and enhance communication and coordination in major international and regional issues, so as to usher in a new era of greater development in the relationship. When Xi Jinping, together with Trump, met the press during the US President’s November state visit to China, he pointed out that:
The development of China and the US is complementary and moves ahead in parallel, and the success of both countries conforms to the common interests of both sides. Faced with complicated and everchanging international situation, as two major countries, China and the US share more common interests in and shoulder greater responsibilities for safeguarding world peace and stability and promoting global development and prosperity with a broader space for cooperation. The sound and stable development of China-us relations conforms to not
only the fundamental interests of the two peoples but also the common expectation of the international community. For China and the US, cooperation is the only right choice, and only win-win cooperation can lead to a better future.16
During Trump’s visit, China and the US also discussed ways to achieve long-term peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. The bilateral “super deal” worth $253.5 billion bill” illustrates that the economic and trade relations between the two countries are mutually beneficial and win-win. As the only right choice, cooperation between China and the US exhibits great potential and will bring enormous benefits to both peoples.
Second, neighboring countries are the starting point for China to build a community with a shared future for mankind. China will deepen its relations with neighboring countries according to the principles of “amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness” and “being a good neighbor and partner.” From November 12 to 14, 2017, after the conclusion of the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi Jinping, as both the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and the Chinese President, selected the socialist neighbors of Vietnam and Laos as the first countries to visit. This visit has written a new chapter of good neighborliness, and brought new opportunities for the development of China-vietnam and China-laos relations, as well as win-win cooperation between China and its neighbors. Vietnam and Laos share similar political concepts and development paths with China. The two countries have shown great interest in the guiding principles of national governance proposed by the 19th CPC National Congress. China and these two countries have actively carried out exchanges of experience in governance and national development, strengthened inter-party communication, enriched the theories and practices of socialist construction, and striven to build a community with a shared future with strategic significance. These moves have conveyed a clear signal to the international community that China will endeavor to build
16 “Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump Jointly Meet the Press,” November 9, 2017, http://www. fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1509903.shtml.
a community with a shared future with its neighbors, and support further development of the socialist cause.
China and Vietnam have strengthened strategic cooperation between the Belt and Road Initiative and Vietnam’s proposal of Two Corridors and One Economic Circle. The trade volume between the two countries in 2016 reached nearly $100 billion, ranking among the top in ASEAN countries. In Laos, President Xi Jinping and Lao President Boungnang Vorachith witnessed the signing of the cooperation document on the joint construction of the Chinalaos Economic Corridor. The China-laos railway will help promote the economic development of Laos by enhancing the country’s strategic position in the connectivity network of the ASEAN region. For Thailand, the launch of the first phase of the China-thailand railway project on December 21, 2017 will effectively enhance the infrastructure construction and connectivity of Thailand and the region, and promote the sustainable development of Thailand’s economy. In the future, the Chinathailand railway and China-laos railway will connect each other, promote economic and trade exchanges, personnel exchanges and mutual benefit among connected countries, and drive regional development and the improvement of people’s livelihood. In addition, China and Vietnam also agreed to manage their maritime disputes, and resolve the demarcation issue on land and at the Beibu Gulf through friendly consultations, creating favorable conditions for the common development of both countries as well as peace and stability in the region.
Premier Li Keqiang’s official visit to the Philippines in November 2017 served to effectively promote the development of bilateral relations. As expressed by Premier Li, exchanges between China and the Philippines enjoy a long history and friendly cooperation is always the mainstream. Currently, relations between the two countries have been turned around as many difficulties had been overcome. Practice has proved that adherence to
Neighboring countries are the starting point for China to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
good-neighborliness and friendliness is in line with the fundamental interests of both sides, which meets the common aspirations of the two peoples and is an irresistible regional trend as well as a cornerstone of mutual development. China is willing to, together with the Philippines, grasp the right direction, consolidate bilateral friendship, deepen cooperation and make up the loss of time in the past so as to promote sound and steady development of Chinaphilippines relations.17
From December 13 to 16, 2017, the South Korean President Moon Jae-in paid a successful state visit to China. China and the ROK are friendly neighbors and strategic cooperative partners. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 25 years ago, remarkable progress has been made between the two countries through exchanges and cooperation in various fields, which brings tremendous benefits to both sides. However, since July 2016, relations between the two countries have suffered a serious blow as a result of South Korea’s deployment of the THAAD missile defense system, which threatens China’s strategic security. Moon’s visit shows that the China-rok relations have entered a period of restoration after being damaged by the THAAD issue. As pointed out by Xi during his talks with Moon, China attaches importance to its relations with the ROK, and is ready to work with the ROK to keep the original intention of establishing diplomatic relations in mind, take full account of the well-being of the two peoples, uphold the basic principle of respecting each other’s core interests and major concerns as well as the principle of treating each other as neighbors with sincerity, and seize the cooperation principle of mutual benefit and win-win results to promote sound and healthy development of China-rok strategic cooperative partnership along the right track.18 The improvement of Chinarok relations is conducive to the maintenance of peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
17 “Li Keqiang Holds Talks with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines,” November 16, 2017, http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1511465.shtml
18 “Xi Jinping Holds Talks with President Moon Jae-in of the ROK,” December 14, 2017, http://www. fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1520215.shtml.
Finally, following the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, and adopting a balanced approach to upholding justice and pursuing interests, China has actively developed global partnerships, expanded common interests, and enhanced unity and cooperation with other developing countries. The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing in May 2017 attracted the attention of the world, and successfully transformed the Chinese solution into a point of international consensus. The BRICS summit in Xiamen in September focused on fostering the next “Golden Decade” for BRICS cooperation. In his speech delivered at the APEC CEO Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam on November 10, 2017, Xi Jinping first used the “five new journeys” to explain the historical position, basic strategy and blueprint of socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era,19 which would help the world to objectively understand China’s development orientation and strategic intention in the new era.
During his attendance at the 12th East Asia Summit in Manila in November 2017, Premier Li Keqiang stressed that the 19th CPC National Congress has clearly articulated China’s firm commitment to peaceful development, and called for efforts to forge a new form of international relations with a view to building a community with a shared future for mankind. “China’s development will only bring opportunities for the development and prosperity of East Asia and the world, and will not pose a threat to any country. China wishes to work with all other EAS members to uphold the good momentum of regional peace, development and cooperation, advance the building of the East Asia Economic Community, and open new prospects for East Asian cooperation and development.”20
19 The “five new journeys” are: a new journey of deepening reform across the board and unleashing dynamism for development; a new journey of moving with the times and exploring new model of development; a new journey toward greater integration with the world and an open economy of higher standards; a new journey toward a better life for the people; and a new journey toward a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. See Xi Jinping, “Seizing the Opportunity of a Global Economy in Transition and Accelerating Development of the Asia-pacific: Keynote Address at the APEC CEO Summit.”
20 “Speech by H.E. Li Keqiang Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China at the 12th East Asia Summit,” November 15, 2017, http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1510667.shtml.
At the 20th CHINA-ASEAN (10+1) Summit held concurrently in Manila, China and ASEAN announced the start of consultations on the text of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, which symbolized the return to dialogue and consultation from the once high level of tension. An early consensus-based agreement on the COC would effectively safeguard the peace and stability in the South China Sea. Soon after his visit to the Philippines for the series of ASEAN meetings, Premier Li attended the sixth summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries held in Budapest from November 26 to December 2, paid an official visit to Hungary, and then attended the 16th Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of Governments (Prime Ministers) in Sochi, Russia.
Under the banner of building a community with a shared future for mankind, the theory and practices of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics have continuously been bearing fruits. With one after another important speeches, policy documents and cooperation projects in various corners of the world, Chinese leaders have been busy travelling through multiple diplomatic arenas and making concrete steps. These efforts have fostered greater strategic opportunities for realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, and made significant contributions to promoting the development and progress of human society.
The road that leads to China’s rise will never be a smooth one, and the country may encounter great risks and dangers as it endeavors to realize the “two centenary goals.”21 The international environment surrounding China will surely become more complicated. While more and more people will
21 The two centenary goals are to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the time the Communist Party of China marks its centenary and to build China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious by the time the People’s Republic of China celebrates its centenary.
recognize the opportunities that China delivers and expand cooperation with China, it is hard to exclude the possibility of negative forces looking to disrupt China’s development process by creating obstacles and provoking troubles. Given this, China must take sufficient precautions.
Adhering to the path of peaceful development, China’s rise will not pose a threat to any country. Neither will China simply “import” foreign models, nor will it “export” the Chinese model or demand other countries to “copy” China’s practices. China will never develop itself at the expense of other countries’ interests, nor will it ever give up its legitimate rights and interests. No country should fantasize about letting China swallow the bitter fruits that undermine its own interests. Only by working for the same goal, can countries achieve win-win cooperation. China will unswervingly follow the path of independent development for peace, safeguarding its sovereign, security and development interests, while staying resolutely committed to addressing disputes through dialogue and negotiation. China will stick to the One China principle, contain the separatist attempt of “Taiwan independence,” and oppose any external force interfering in China’s internal affairs. With the unflinching objective of “diplomacy for the people,” it is the due mission and responsibility of China’s diplomacy in the new era to actively safeguard the country’s legitimate interests abroad.
The major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for a new era will usher in new opportunities and make new accomplishments. In this new journey, China will make new contributions to the great cause of world peace and development. With the self-conscious sense to shoulder more global responsibilities, and the confidence stemming from the successful exploration of development path, China, at this historic crossroads of the 21st century, will take the initiative to advocate the building of a community with a shared future for mankind in an attempt to transcend the history of zero-sum game and forge a brighter future.
Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a keynote speech at the United Nations Office in Geneva titled Work Together to Build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind on January 18, 2017. The idea has since been endorsed by various UN agencies, turning the Chinese concept into international consensus.