What comes to mind when reflecting on 2017? The new era! Obviously, this is the highlight of the year. "China has entered a new era," a statement made by Chinese President Xi Jinping during the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in October, reflects the most striking feature of China today. At the Party's national congress, the CPC released a historic blueprint for the nation's development and China's role in the world in this new era.
China is taking to the center of the world stage. Beijing hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May, which was attended by the state leaders of 29 countries, heads of international institutions and 1,500 important guests from more than 130 countries. The Ninth BRICS Summit was held in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, in September, kick-starting the China-initiated "BRICS+" model and thereby ushering in a golden decade for the bloc's cooperation. These two grand multilateral conferences fully displayed China's charisma.
The concept of "building a community of shared future for mankind" as proposed by President Xi gains more and more ground in the international community. It was first officially included into a resolution of the UN Commission for Social Development in February, and then it appeared in a resolution of the UN General Assembly in November. Now the proposal has been recognized by the UN as a common objective for all countries to strive for. Many such examples could be recounted, but these two suffice to prove China's growing role in the world.
China's ever-growing economy may upset those who bet against it. The year 2017 witnessed smooth development, while remarkable achievements have been made in supply-side reform. A more rational and sound economic structure is taking shape. Meanwhile, 2017 has had fewer smoggy days than previous years, which serves as evidence of improved environmental conditions.
Stability and development have been the key words for the China-U.S. relationship during the year. Since Donald Trump was sworn in as U.S. President on January 20, 2017, both sides have been concerned with where the two nations' relationship is heading. Many people might fear whether the two economic giants will slip into trade wars. However, we now know that although Trump kept lashing out at China during his presidential campaign, and even threatened to impose high tariffs on Chinese products, it turns out that because China and the United States are already economically interdependent, whoever sits in the Oval Office won't be able to wean the United States off the kind of China-U.S. relationship characterized by "coexistence of friction and cooperation, with cooperation outweighing friction." The two sides reached broad consensus through visits by the two leaders within the year. The "100 day plan" has already borne fruit, with a series of major contracts being signed.
On the whole, for China, 2017 will leave a bright chapter in its history books. Of course, some issues somewhat overshadowed the year. Regardless of China's advice, South Korea has had the THAAD system installed on its territory, which has strained its relationship with China and Russia. The Indian army intruded into Chinese territory, causing a diplomatic crisis and harming China-India ties as well as regional stability.
Despite potent challenges ahead, we shall stay optimistic and remain confident in the coming 2018.