Wang Jisi: China’s Unwavering Determination to Continue the Peace and Development Strategy

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China began to pursue economic reform and an open-door policy in the late-1970s. As part of this profound strategic reorientation, the Chinese government re-assessed China’s foreign policy challenges at that time and, based on that assessment, adopted a foreign policy that emphasized the preservation of national independence while maintaining a peaceful relationship with other countries. Thanks to the successful implementation of this new policy, China has since experienced no large scale armed conflict with other countries. This peaceful and stable environment has enabled China to accomplish rapid economic growth and social advancement over the past thirty years.

After the end of the Cold War, China worked with her neighboring countries in an amicable way to resolve territorial disputes and promote regional stability and security. It made substantial efforts to set up a multilateral cooperative mechanism for security in the Asia-Pacific Region and de-nuclearize the entire region. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which China is a founding member, has played a key role in the fight against terrorism, separatism, extremism, and the effort to maintain stability in Central Asia. At the same time, there has been a steady improvement in the relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, a reverse from the tension stemming from “Taiwan Independence.” Similarly, China has successfully maintained a generally stable relationship with the United States.

In recent years, in contrast to the rest of the world that has been plagued by financial crisis, China has continued to keep a rapid pace of economic growth, which has helped China modernize her military forces and gain influence in global affairs. All these developments have attracted the attention of the rest of the world, winning either praises and cooperation or suspicion and criticism. Such contrasting reactions are inevitable and natural for any rising power. Equally true is that as China’s national strength continues to grow, China will gain more confidence in foreign affairs. For this reason, a portion of the Chinese population and public opinion has expected the government to do more in terms of protecting territorial integrity and national interests, and doing this in a more “aggressive” manner.

With all these developments, China’s foreign relationships are becoming more complicated than in the past, as new issues come to the fore. Confronting such challenges, the Chinese government should keep a balanced and cautious posture in the international community. As emphasized repeatedly by Chinese leaders of late, China remains a developing country. However, China should not deviate from the reform and open-door policy, and the strategy geared toward peace and development. This is the only strategy consistent with China’s fundamental interests and global peace and development.

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