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

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China I Updated: 2021-12-11

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

October 24, 2013 

Good diplomacy with neighboring countries is a requirement for realizing the Two Centenary Goals, and the Chinese Dream of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We need to work harder to promote our diplomacy with neighboring countries, strive for a sound regional environment for our development, apply our own development for the benefit of neighboring countries, and achieve common development with them. 

Following the founding of the PRC in 1949, the Party's first generation of collective central leadership under Comrade Mao Zedong, the second generation under Comrade Deng Xiaoping, the third generation under Comrade Jiang Zemin, and the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as general secretary, all attached high importance to diplomacy with neighboring countries. They developed important strategic ideas and guiding policies, created a sound environment, and laid a solid foundation for future diplomatic work. After the 18th National Congress, committed to ensuring continuity and stability in China's foreign policy, the CPC Central Committee defined, planned, and carried out a series of major diplomatic initiatives, paying particular attention to neighboring countries which are important to our development and diplomatic strategy. 

Regions around our borders are strategically significant to our country in terms of geography, the environment, and relationships. When dealing with neighboring countries and related issues, we need a multi-dimensional perspective that extends beyond the immediate confines of time and space. Reviewing the situation, we can see that great changes have taken place in the general environment and in relationships with our neighbors. Our economic and trade ties with neighboring countries are closer, with unprecedented levels of exchange between them and us. Current circumstances demand that we keep pace with the times and be ever more active in blueprinting diplomatic strategies and undertaking diplomatic work with our neighbors. 

China and its neighbors are full of vigor and vitality, and show obvious strengths in development and high potential. The region is stable on the whole, and most of our neighbors maintain an amicable relationship geared towards mutual benefit and cooperation with China. We must appreciate the situation to the full, devise appropriate strategies, and plan carefully, to perform better in our diplomatic exchanges with our neighbors. 

China's diplomacy in this area is driven by and must serve the Two Centenary Goals and our national rejuvenation. To achieve these strategic aims, we must create and cement friendly relations and further mutually beneficial cooperation with neighboring countries, maintain and make the best use of the strategic opportunities we now enjoy, and safeguard China's state sovereignty, national security, and development interests. Together we must strive to build more amicable political relationships and closer economic ties, to further security cooperation and to encourage more cultural and people-to-people exchanges with neighboring countries. 

China's basic policy of diplomacy with neighboring countries is to treat them as friends and partners, to make them feel secure and to support their development. This policy is characterized by friendship, sincerity, reciprocity and inclusiveness. Friendship is a consistent principle of China's diplomacy with its neighbors. In adherence to this principle, we need to help neighbors in times of crisis, treat them as equals, visit them frequently, and take actions that will win us support and friendship. 

In response, we hope that neighboring countries will be well inclined towards us, and we hope that China will have a stronger affinity with them, and that our appeal and our influence will grow. We must treat neighbors with sincerity and cultivate them as friends and partners. We should cooperate with our neighbors on the basis of reciprocity, create a closer network of common interests, and better integrate China's interests with theirs, so that they can benefit from China's development and China can benefit and gain support from theirs. We should advocate inclusiveness, stressing that there is enough room in the Asia Pacific region for all countries to develop, and promoting regional cooperation with an open mind and enthusiasm. We must embrace and practice these ideas, so that they will become the shared beliefs and norms of conduct for the whole region. 

As circumstances evolve, diplomacy with neighboring countries requires us to analyze and deal with issues strategically, improve our capabilities in planning and implementation, and promote every aspect of this diplomacy. We must also do everything possible to safeguard peace and stability in the region. The path of peaceful development is the Party's strategic choice, in line with the times and aligned with the fundamental interests of the country. A major aim of this diplomacy is peace and stability in the region. 

We must make every effort to achieve mutually beneficial reciprocity. We have to make overall plans for the use of our resources in the areas of economy, trade, science and technology, and finance. We must take advantage of our comparative strengths, accurately identify strategic points of convergence for mutually beneficial cooperation with neighbors, and take an active part in regional economic cooperation. We should work with our neighbors to speed up connection of infrastructure between China and our neighboring countries, and establish a Silk Road Economic Belt and a Maritime Silk Road geared towards the demands of the 21st century. We should accelerate the pace of implementation of the strategy of free trade zones with our neighboring countries as the base, expand cooperation in trade and investment, and create a new pattern of regional economic integration. We need to further advance regional financial cooperation, prepare for and establish an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and improve the regional financial security network. We should open the border areas more quickly and reinforce reciprocal cooperation between the border areas of China and neighboring countries. 

We must make efforts to promote regional security cooperation, which is needed by both China and our neighboring countries. A new outlook on security is required that features mutual trust and reciprocity, based on equality and cooperation. We must develop a comprehensive security strategy with neighboring countries, actively participate in regional and sub-regional security initiatives, push forward cooperation and enhance mutual trust. 

We must strengthen publicity work, public diplomacy, people-to-people and cultural exchanges with neighboring countries, and consolidate and expand the social and public basis for the long-term development of our relationships with them. Diplomatic relations rely on the bonds between peoples. We should promote exchanges in all respects, including tourism, science, education and regional cooperation, to make friends in a broad range of sectors. We should clearly present our domestic and foreign policies to the outside world, explain China in an acceptable way, speak out and make ourselves heard, interpret the Chinese Dream from the perspective of our neighbors and their aspirations for a better life and regional prosperity, and let a sense of common future take root. 

Policies and strategies are the lifelines of the Party, and of our diplomatic work as well. To do good diplomatic work, we must keep our eye on the situation both at home and abroad. Our domestic focus is to realize the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese Dream; our international objectives are to strive for favorable external conditions for China's reform, development and stability, to safeguard state sovereignty, security and development interests, and to maintain world peace and stability, and promote common development. We should seek common ground and find converging interests, stick to the sound values of justice and benefit, hold to principles that we can act upon, cherish friendship and righteousness, and offer any assistance to developing countries that is within our means. For best results we need to promote reform and innovation in diplomatic work and strengthen the planning of our diplomatic activities. To achieve greater progress we should build a general framework to coordinate diplomatic work, weigh every relevant factor, and give full play to every department involved. 

Diplomatic work with neighboring countries is arduous and demanding. Those charged with this responsibility must have a sense of mission and urgency. They must bear in mind the purpose of this work, improve their competence and working practices, devote themselves to the task, be bold in assuming responsibilities and making innovations, and engage in this work with drive and enthusiasm. 

* Main points of the speech at a seminar on the work of neighborhood diplomacy.

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