Break New Ground in China's Major-Country Diplomacy*
June 22, 2018
In conducting foreign affairs, we should be guided by the thought on foreign affairs of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. We must take a holistic approach to the situation both at home and abroad, focus on the goal of rejuvenating the Chinese nation and promoting the progress of humanity, and endeavor to build a global community of shared future.
We must firmly uphold China's sovereignty, national security, and development interests, actively participate in reform of the global governance system and steer its course. We should enhance our network of global partnerships, and endeavor to break new ground in pursuing major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features. We hope that with these efforts, we will be able to create a favorable external environment and contribute to the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and, ultimately, a great modern socialist country.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee, we have overcome multiple difficulties in the ever-changing world and forged ahead on the diplomatic front in the face of multiple challenges. We have made remarkable progress in pursuing in a creative way major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features. We have withstood the test of numerous risks, fought many tough battles, accomplished no small number of difficult missions, and made historic progress.
Reviewing these practice and experiences, we are more keenly aware that in conducting foreign affairs, we must always take a holistic approach to the domestic and international situation, have confidence in our diplomatic strategies, maintain strategic resolve, and creatively develop and enrich our diplomatic theories and practices. We need to plan and pursue our diplomatic agenda from a strategic and global perspective and firmly safeguard our core and major national interests. We should uphold the greater good and shared interests in promoting mutually beneficial cooperation, and remain alert to risks and potential dangers.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, based on a keen understanding of the general development trends in China and the world in the new era, we have made significant breakthroughs in our diplomatic theories and practices. It is on this basis that the thought on foreign affairs of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era has taken shape. The ten principles underlying the thought are as follows:
• upholding the authority of the CPC Central Committee and strengthening the Party's centralized and unified leadership over China's foreign affairs;
• pursuing major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features to accomplish the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation;
• building a global community of shared future to safeguard world peace and promote common development;
• upholding socialism with Chinese characteristics and enhancing our strategic confidence;
• pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) under the principles of extensive consultation and joint contribution to benefit all;
• pursuing peaceful development on the basis of mutual respect and win-win cooperation;
• building global partnerships through pursuing a broad diplomatic agenda;
• steering reform of the global governance system to promote greater equity and justice;
• upholding China’s sovereignty, national security, and development interests as our core and non-negotiable position; and
• shaping China’s distinctive diplomatic conduct by drawing on its best traditions and adapting to the changing times.
We must put into action the thought on foreign affairs and work continuously to create an external environment favorable for realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and building a global community of shared future.
We need to adopt a historical and holistic approach to assessing international developments and choose the right approach to China's role.
A historical approach is to observe the unfolding international developments from a historical perspective. We need to review the past and learn lessons from history so as to gain a keen understanding of the underlying trends of the future.
A holistic approach is to look beyond individual phenomena or specifics to capture the essence of developments and see the broader picture. We must focus on the main problems and their key features, so as not to get disoriented or pursue minor interests to the neglect of fundamental ones in a fluid and ever-changing world.
The right approach to China's role is to be cool-headed in analyzing global developments. We should view China's role in the context of its relations with the rest of the world so as to clearly define its position and role in an evolving international landscape, and adopt a foreign policy that befits China's role.
Our country is now in its best period of development since the advent of modern times; and the world is undergoing momentous changes unseen in a century. Both trends are growing and impacting each other. These developments are conducive to conducting our foreign affairs for now and in the years to come.
The period between the 19th and the 20th CPC national congresses is one where the timeframes of the Two Centenary Goals converge; and this period is of special significance to achieving the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
World history tells us that the progress of humanity has always been driven by the interplay of interwoven events. We must make an in-depth analysis of evolving international developments as the world is going through a period of transition. This will help us to gain a keen understanding of the underlying features of China's external environment, and plan and conduct our foreign affairs accordingly.
We need to have a keen appreciation of the dynamics of the accelerating global trend towards multi-polarity, and closely follow the significant adjustments of relations among major countries.
We need to closely follow both the growing trend of economic globalization and the profound changes in the world economic landscape.
We need to recognize both the overall stability in the international environment and the complexity of interwoven international security challenges.
We also need to see both the trend of mutual learning and enrichment between civilizations and the diversity of ideas and cultures.
To successfully conduct China's foreign affairs, we should implement the overall plans and decisions of the Party Central Committee and pursue a well-considered diplomatic agenda with clearly defined priorities.
We should endeavor to break new ground in conducting foreign affairs, with a focus on historic junctures and major events on the timeline of the Party and our country. In the next five years, we will accomplish the First Centenary Goal, and start working towards the second. A series of major events are scheduled for this period. We must align our diplomatic programs with these events and junctures. We should make overall plans with clearly set priorities and adopt a phased approach to their implementation. We should move forward on multiple fronts while taking targeted measures in priority areas so as to deliver desired outcomes.
We should continue to champion the cause of building a global community of shared future, and work for greater fairness and equity in global governance.
We should continue to push forward the BRI under the principles of extensive consultation and joint contribution to benefit all, and see that BRI cooperation will achieve solid and sustainable progress, and will lift China’s opening up to a new level.
We should properly handle our relations with other major countries and put in place a framework for stable and balanced growth of relations among major countries.
We should continue to pursue neighborhood diplomacy to foster a more favorable and friendlier environment in areas around China.
We should strengthen ties and cooperation with other developing countries to promote common progress and development. Other developing countries are China’s natural allies in international affairs. We must pursue the greater good and shared interests, and boost solidarity and collaboration between developing nations.
We must further promote in-depth exchanges and mutual learning between China and the rest of the world.
Foreign policy epitomizes the will of a state. The power to make foreign policy is vested in the CPC Central Committee. It is important to maintain our political commitment, think in terms of the general picture, follow the core leadership of the CPC Central Committee, and act in accordance with its requirements. It is imperative to uphold the authority of the CPC Central Committee and its centralized and unified leadership, and closely follow the leadership in terms of thinking, political commitment and actions. All directives and orders of the CPC Central Committee must be executed without fail.
The conduct of foreign affairs is a systematic endeavor. It requires coordination between all actors involved, including the Party, the government, NPC, CPPCC, the military, local authorities, and non-governmental sectors. Each actor needs to have their own focus and work in concert with others. There should be a general framework of cooperation and coordination in place where the CPC exercises overall leadership and coordinates the foreign affairs programs of all the actors. This mechanism will ensure the foreign policy and strategies decided by the CPC Central Committee be implemented in letter and spirit.
* Main points of the speech at the Central Conference on Foreign Affairs.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)