Stick to the path of peaceful development
We want to be a good friend, good neighbor and good partner of ASEAN and all countries in Asia. The bilateral and multilateral agreements we have signed with Asian countries do not have a single article that is exclusive. We are open to regional cooperation and our intentions are transparent and good. We hope that what other countries do in Asia is not aimed to keep off, contain or harm China. We hope that what they say and do at our gate or in this region where the Chinese people have lived for thousands of years is also well intentioned and transparent. Take China's development as an opportunity and seize it, and one stands to benefit. Doubt China's regional and international strategic intentions and focus on finding fault and making trouble, and one will lose the good opportunity to cooperate with China. The attempts to team up to counter or contain China and the practices of sowing discords between countries in the region and conducting joint military exercises in China's adjacent waters are a clear demonstration of the Cold War mentality. It is out of date and cannot stop China's advances. It can only lead to the loss of the historical opportunity of developing cooperation with China. It is doomed to failure.
Some people misinterpret the Chinese idiom "keep a low profile and make due contributions". They take China's announcement of a peaceful development path as a smokescreen for its real intention before it gets strong enough. This is groundless suspicion. That Chinese idiom was quoted from Comrade Deng Xiaoping's remarks from late 1980s to early 1990s, saying that China should keep modest and prudent, not serve as others' leader or a standard bearer and not seek expansion or hegemony. This is consistent with the idea of the path of peaceful development.
In short, the Chinese is a good-will and responsible nation. We respect others, but do not allow others to bully us. We are developing socialist democracy based on our national conditions. We value, respect and protect human rights. We may encounter many difficulties on our way forward, but we will never waver in reform and opening-up. We will always keep an open mind and learn from others. In our relations with other countries, we will seek equality, harmonious co-existence, mutual benefit and common development. Ours is a country that follows the path of peaceful development and treats others with candor and sincerity. The world may feel reassured and confident in dealing with such a country as China.
The international community should welcome China's peaceful development rather than fear it, help rather than hinder it and support rather than constrain its effort. The international community should understand and respect China's legitimate interests and concerns in the course of its peaceful development.
6: How will a fast developing China handle its relations with other countries?
As a Chinese saying goes, "Scooping rice from the same pot, the ladles may inevitably knock against each other". As we live in a global village, frictions and clashes of various kinds are inevitable. It is nothing alarming. What matters is the principles that one follows in trying to tackle the problems: A tit-for-tat tactic or making a fuss of a minor problem, or rather, a totally different approach? We have our basic principles in our external relations, which have proven effective over the past decades. First, we follow the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. To be specific, we reject interference in others' internal affairs and the use or threat of use of force and we do not enter into alliance with any country. Second, we follow the win-win strategy of openingup and never adopt the beggar-thy-neighbor policy. We value, develop and protect common interests and strive to make the pie of common interests bigger and better. Third, we stand for settlement of disputes and conflicts through dialogue and negotiation and by seeking common ground while shelving differences. That is what we have been doing over the past years. We have set up strategic dialogue and consultation mechanisms with the United States, Europe, Japan and some emerging countries and have been engaged in in-depth exchange of views with them on important overarching and long-term issues concerning the world situation and bilateral relations. Those discussions have helped to enhance mutual understanding and trust, seek strategic consensus, expand common interests and reduce troubles and setbacks. For knotty problems, we have proposed that they be put aside until conditions are ripe for solution. Some issues can even be left to future generations.
Some people argue that since the Chinese government has never renounced the use of force for the settlement of the Taiwan question and China's military spending is growing continuously, it is contradictory to China's statement about its path of peaceful development. In my view, no development path should be chosen at the expense of major national interests, core interests in particular. What are China's core interests? My personal understanding is: First, China's form of government and political system and stability, namely the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the socialist system and socialism with Chinese characteristics.