The 20th Chinese navy convoy fleet start a global tour after accomplishing escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast, on August 23, 2015 (XINHUA)
In his report delivered at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on October 18, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said that with decades of hard work, "socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era. This is a new historic juncture in China's development." The report also makes it clear that the CPC strives for both the wellbeing of the Chinese people and human progress. And to make new and greater contributions to mankind is the Party's abiding mission.
This shows that the relation between China and the rest of the world is undergoing unprecedented changes. China has transformed from a nation of Asia to one of the world and is setting its eyes on the entire world. The CPC's goal—serving the people wholeheartedly—is manifested not only in the Party helping the Chinese people seek happiness and well-off lives, as well as the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, but also in building a community of shared future for mankind and a beautiful world that features lasting peace, shared security, common prosperity, openness and inclusiveness.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Xi at its core has come up with a series of diplomatic ideas, strategies and theories which produced impressive results. The confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics is also seen in China's diplomatic endeavors. These diplomatic ideas, strategies and theories have well integrated the Chinese dream into the development dream of the whole world, writing a new chapter of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.
Undoubtedly, China and its dual identity as both a developing country and an emerging power are being heatedly discussed and widely recognized by the rest of the world. China is also forming its own way of acting on the international stage.
A famous Chinese historian Zhang Baijia once described the logic behind the relationship between China and the world thus: "the changes taking place in China can influence the world," which means domestic affairs have spillover effects on international relations. Being fully aware of this, China has firmly adhered to the principle of non-interference in others' internal affairs in the past. The diplomatic doctrine is also one of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. This is also the fundamental background of the principle of "keeping a low profile" that China advocated in its previous diplomatic practice.
Now, major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has stressed on many occasions, is the diplomatic manifesto of China's new generation leadership. It is also an active response to the expectations of the international community that China will play a larger role in world affairs.
The new type of Chinese diplomacy is not a new concept. It is based on China's role as a developing country and socialist nation as well as traditional Chinese culture. First, China is a developing country, which is its fundamental reality. A sound external environment is beneficial for the country to complete the building of a moderately well-off society in all aspects. Second, China's diplomatic strategies are also based on the fact that it is a socialist nation. China advocates equality and fairness, common prosperity and social harmony at home, while upholding justice in the international arena. Last, Chinese civilization gives birth to China's wisdom in dealing with modern international relations.
Major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics also comes from China's traditional diplomatic guidelines of being independent, safeguarding world peace, championing common development and strengthening exchanges with the rest of the world with an open mind. The new diplomatic idea of China is also in line with the trend of the times and the world. China is willing to broaden its participation in global and regional affairs, while shouldering more responsibility, and to push the international order toward a more just and reasonable direction.
Into the world
The new type of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics is reshaping the way China deals with international affairs and participates in global governance. Today, China is advocating the establishment of a new type of international relationship with all-win cooperation at its core, based on the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration. It is actively promoting dialogue instead of confrontation, and partnership rather than alliance. On this basis, building a community of shared future for mankind has already become an anchor for international stability and peaceful development, and the engine for global economic growth as well as new global governance.
While China's model comes from China, it belongs to the world. Major-Country Diplomacy, a recent six-episode political documentary which aroused heated discussion among the Chinese people, stated that China belongs to the world and should shoulder greater responsibility as a global citizen. In the past, China influenced the world through reform and opening up. By stimulating economic growth via reform and opening up, it has enabled 700 million of its population to shake off poverty. Now, China is guiding globalization and reshaping global governance by proposing Chinese initiatives, as well as contributing Chinese solutions and Chinese wisdom.
The late Chinese leader Mao Zedong expressed in 1956 the expectation that China would make greater contributions to mankind. And now, the nation is on the way to fulfilling that expectation. It has much successful experience to offer. But China will never force its development path on other nations; instead, it encourages countries, especially along the routes of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, to walk a path that is suitable to their national conditions, so as to eventually achieve leapfrog development.
Major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics is the solution China offers to the new type of globalization and global governance, making globalization more inclusive, countries more interconnected, adapting to local conditions, and having global governance improve based on the principle of extensive consultation, joint efforts and shared benefits.
The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius said that beneficence is beneficial. By promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by President Xi, China, as the current locomotive of the global economy, can turn its edges in productivity, technology, capital, experience and model into advantages shared by all its international cooperative partners, so that China's opportunities can be the world's opportunities.
Human society is at a new beginning. Will the world become increasingly open and inclusive, or more self-enclosed and extreme? This is a question that remains to be answered in the 21st century. Major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, which embodies China's willingness to shoulder responsibility and share its wisdom, provides the answer.
The author is a professor at the School of International Studies, Renmin University of China
Copyedited by Chris Surtees
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