What's new in China's diplomacy?

-- Interpretations of Xi Jinping: The Governance of China

By Du Yanjun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, February 17, 2015
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First and foremost, on behalf of China Institutes on Contemporary International Relations and CICIR president Ji Zhiye, I want to congratulate Royal Academy of Cambodia on hosting the seminar on The Governance of China at the beginning of the year.

This is the first international seminar on the work of a Chinese leader since the book was released in foreign languages last September. Not only representing friendship between two countries, the seminar also shows that farsighted Cambodian leaders and think tanks attach much importance to Sino-Cambodia relations.

Secondly, I want to thank RAC for offering me a good opportunity to learn from you and share with you my opinions. Xi Jinping: The Governance of China is an insightful book covering broad fields. Many new thoughts, views and judgments in the book are worth studying. But due to limit of time, my presentation will focus on diplomacy.

Since President Xi took office, Chinese government has launched all-round diplomacy and destinations of Chinese high-ups have covered many regions worldwide. Last year President Xi alone visited 18 countries in four continents, attended over 300 diplomatic events, met more than 80 foreign heads of state and government leaders and signed over 500 cooperation programs. His diplomatic strategy establishes a new model for foreign exchanges and cooperation. On the premise of ensuing policy continuity and stability, the new Chinese leadership draws lessons from their practice and proposes a series of new thoughts on diplomacy, which basically include the following five aspects:

Ⅰ. New Diplomatic Strategy Featuring Peace, Development, Cooperation and Win-win Situation

China's diplomatic strategy and policy are based on its domestic situation, interests, culture, traditions, international situation as well as past experience. To match with the complex international situation and China's development strategy, the new leadership develops a new diplomatic strategy targeting peace, development cooperation and win-win situation. This strategy is designed to create a favorable international situation for China to achieve the "two centenary goals". Peace, development, cooperation and win-win situation are major trends of our time. However global landscape changes, people of all nations share the common desire for peace and development. Facing complicated international situation and various challenges, countries need to jointly safeguard world peace and promote common development.

Ⅱ.New Asia Security Concept Featuring Common Grounds, Comprehensiveness, Cooperation and Sustainability

The "New Asian Security Concept" (NASC) was presented by President Xi Jinping in May 2014 at the Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA). Security is not a single country's business, because today's countries are highly connected and interdependent. Countries form a community of shared destiny like a ship carrying many people: passengers have to combine their efforts to safely reach the destination together. Security challenges include traditional as well as untraditional ones, such as terrorism, transnational crimes, environmental security, cyber security, and energy and resource security. Security is protected through planning and coordination instead of any country struggling alone. In addition, it is also very important to cope with the root of the problems. Chinese experience indicates that security and development are equally crucial, and we need to focus on both of them, so that security would be durable.

Ⅲ. Diplomacy with Neighboring Countries Characterized by Friendship, Sincerity, Reciprocity and Inclusiveness

Neighboring countries are the priority of China's diplomacy in the new era. As the old Chinese saying goes, a far-off relative is not as helpful as a near neighbor. Report to the 18th NCCPC makes it clear that China's basic policy of diplomacy with neighboring countries is to treat them as friends and partners. Since President Xi took office, he has raised the strategic height of diplomacy with neighboring countries and attached it with China dream and the centenary goals. He also proposes that diplomacy with neighboring countries should be characterized by friendship, sincerity, reciprocity and inclusiveness, which means that unlike diplomacy with other countries, China and neighboring countries are like relatives that frequent mutual visits make them closer. When getting along with neighbors, we need to treat them sincerely and kindly, and share interests with them. The new diplomacy inherits the basic idea of China's old policy of making neighboring countries feel secure and supporting their development, just put in simpler words. As Chinese always say, no matter being rich or poor, far-away or close, good neighbors and friends should treat each other sincerely and equally, especially in the face of difficulties.


Ⅳ.New Model of Major-country Relations Characterized by Equality, Mutual Trust, Inclusiveness, Mutual Learning and Win-win Cooperation

Major countries have the power to shape world peace and development, so building the new model of major-country relations becomes an important area of diplomacy. It is stated in the Report to the 18th NCCPC that when dealing with foreign relations, the basic principles are equality, mutual trust, inclusiveness, mutual learning and win-win cooperation. For two years, China's new leadership strives for the new model of major country relations and achieved many successes in developing relations with U.S., Russia, India and EU, etc.

Sino-U.S. relationship is one of the most important bilateral relations for China. United States is the most powerful country in the world and China's biggest trading partner. China and U.S. have established over 90 dialogue mechanism at all levels in the fields of economy, politics and culture. China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. treasury. The new Chinese leadership attaches much importance to ensuing long-term stability and healthy development of Sino-U.S. relations. When Xi Jinping defined the "New Type of Great Power Relations" in his stay in United States in 2012, he described it in four points: 1) no conflict or confrontation, through emphasizing partnership and treating each other's strategic intentions objectively; dealing with disagreements through dialogue and cooperation 2) mutual respect, including for each other's social system, development path, core interests and major concerns; 3) mutually beneficial cooperation, by abandoning the zero-sum game mentality and advancing areas of mutual interest; and 4) control disagreements. Considering the many fields China and U.S. has disagreements, controlling disagreements and crisis is significant to two countries, and even to the world. Despite some fluctuations, Sino-U.S. relationship moves forward amidst twists and turns. During the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in July 2014, the two countries signed over 300 agreements on strategic, economic and cultural cooperation. Last November when President Obama visited China, he and President Xi reached 27 agreements covering military exchanges, emission reduction cooperation, bilateral investment negotiation, joint counter-terrorism, joint anti-corruption, business and trade, tourism and visa rules. As ancient Chinese saying goes, cooperation brings gains while confrontation brings loss. How to enhance mutual respect and trust, promote cooperation and steadily develop bilateral relationship? This is a question raised to the new model of major country relationship as well as leaders from both countries.

The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has set a good example for international relationship. When President Xi visited Russia in 2013, he claimed: "The relationship between China and Russia is the best relationship between major countries." The first country Xi visited as Chinese president is Russia, reflecting how China values this relationship. Both China and Russia are permanent members of the UN Security council. On the premise of equal political status and mutual trust, China and Russia share similar or close views on many major international issues. Besides, both sides support and respect the core interest of each other. The complete end of boundary problems between China and Russia, together with Sino-Russian Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, lays solid foundation for two countries to develop long-term stable and comprehensive partnership of coordination. It also creates favorable conditions for all-round cooperation in military, technology, economy, culture and other areas. The key lesson from China-Russia relationship is no confrontation, no conflicts, not targeting third country and win-win cooperation.

The China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership enjoys constant improvement. European Union is an indispensable power in the global stage. It is also one of China's biggest trading partners. As President Xi described when he met EU leaders in Beijing in November 2013, China and EU are two major powers safeguarding world peace, two big markets promoting common development together, and two major civilizations contributing to the progress of mankind. Principles to build the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership include mutual respect, equality, inclusiveness and mutual trust. In the year 2014, many Chinese high-ups visited Europe; China and EU released joint declarations and signed cooperation agreements on trade, finance and high-speed railways, which laid a solid foundation for building the China-EU partnership featuring mutual benefit. Moreover, China and EU have very good interactions on issues like peacekeeping in Mali, Iran nuclear negotiation and fight against piracy. The two countries join hands to build a balanced multi-polarized world.

China-India strategic partnership is steadily enhanced. India is the largest country in the Indian subcontinent. In recent years bilateral relationship between China and India is improved in a stable manner that leaders from two countries have frequent mutual visits and contact, bilateral trade volume grows rapidly and the level of bilateral strategic dialogue and military exchanges keeps rising. For obvious reasons, boundary disputes and Tibet problem are stumbling blocks to China-India relationship. When President Xi was interviewed by Indian press in March 2013, he offered five suggestions to improve bilateral relationship: stabilizing bilateral ties, expanding cooperation, promoting cultural exchanges, improving coordination on international affairs, concerning each other's core interest and properly deal with bilateral problems. In May 2013, Premier Li Keqiang paid his first foreign visit to India after taking office. During this stay he has sighed eight agreements covering trade, culture and water resources. In addition, he published a joint declaration with Indian government. After PM Modi won the election in 2014, President Xi visited India to make progress in bilateral political relations and economic cooperation. Modi highly appreciated Xi's visit and claimed it "opened a new chapter" in China-India economic ties. In Modi's signed article he even said that India and China are two bodies in one spirit. Although China and India has not yet eliminated disagreements, the two sides will focus on development, cooperation, mutual benefit and disagreement control when building the new type of partnership.

Apart from above examples, China also pays much attention to diplomacy with developing countries, For instance, African countries, China-Latin America, etc. Due to limit of time, I will not elaborate on this.

Ⅴ. Actively Participating Multilateral Cooperation Mechanism and Advocating Large Cooperation Projects

According to Report to the 18th NCCPC, China will play the role of a responsible major country and actively participate in multilateral affairs. After taking office, President Xi attached so much importance to multilateral mechanisms that he attended many multilateral summits, including BRICS Summit, Boao Forum for Asia, G20 Summit, SCO Bishkek Summit, APEC CEO Summit, CICA Summit, the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum and APEC Informal Leaders' Meeting. Meanwhile, to practice the new diplomacy strategies, Chinese government makes many proposals for international cooperation and development, such as proposals to build Silk Road Economic Belt, 21 Century Maritime Silk Road, China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor, the New Eurasian Land Bridge, China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, the Bangladesh China India Myanmar Economic Corridor and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. By the end of 2014, 55 out of 65 countries alongside the "One Belt and One Road (OBOR)" area have made positive response to this proposal. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS Development Bank and Silk Road Fund programs initiated by China are officially launched and Chinese government has invested a large sum of money to them. Currently, the OBOR program has entered the phase of pragmatic cooperation. Connectivity construction in this region will provide opportunities for countries alongside silkroad and inject vitality to regional as well as world economy.

In conclusion, as time goes by, China's diplomacy will be improved and enriched through practice. China's diplomacy needs admission and support from the world; it also needs to be linked with the development with neighboring countries. I hope that our neighbors and friends will share with us their ideas and suggestions and join us in the cooperation programs. Let's make progress together and enjoy the benefits together. Thank you.

China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations

Special Assistant to the President, Du Yanjun February 2015

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