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China's Diplomacy At a New Historical Starting Point
Speech by H.E. Yang Jiechi, State Councilor of the People's Republic of China
(2013-11-02)

At the 21st Century Council Beijing Conference

Beijing, 2 November 2013

 

 

Your Excellency Mr. Ernesto Zedillo, Chairman of the 21st Century Council,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning. The 21st Century Council is a world renowned think tank whose members are of international prominence. At the outset, I wish to extend warm congratulations on the convocation of this conference in Beijing and a warm welcome to all the distinguished guests.

The theme of this conference, "Understanding China", reflects not only the Council's keen interest in China, but also, to some extent, the desire of the international community to have a deeper understanding of China. It is highly relevant and will contribute to the mutual understanding and trust between China and the rest of the world. The Chinese side places high importance on this conference. This afternoon, President Xi Jinping will meet with the representatives of conference participants. Yesterday, Premier Li Keqiang delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. Now let me take this opportunity to share with you my views on China's foreign policy.

In order to understand China, one needs to view China in the larger context of the development of the world. The world is undergoing profound and complex changes with new features, developments and trends that are quite different from past experience. I wish to touch upon three most salient features.

Today's world is one of rapid development. Many emerging markets and developing countries have embarked on the fast track of development. More than three billion people across the world are pursuing industrialization simultaneously and sharing the benefits of modernization, effectively elevating the cause of human progress to a higher level. With rapid advancement in science and technology, the world is on the eve of a new round of scientific and technological revolution with new growth areas being created. Despite the lingering profound impacts of the international financial crisis, the world has not stopped pursuing development, still less will this course be reversed. It has become a common practice for countries to place development high on their domestic and foreign policy agenda. To realize development of higher quality has become an increasingly important factor in international relations.

Today's world is one of reform with growing momentum. The international balance of power is moving towards greater equilibrium. Deep changes are brewing in the international system. The representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries in international affairs have been raised. Mechanisms of global governance such as the G20 have gradually taken shape and are steadily improving. What has happened shows that there is no such thing as a "one-size-fits-all" development model in the world. We must keep abreast of the times, actively explore and improve development paths suited to our respective national conditions and pursue incremental progress in adjusting and reforming the international system.

Today's world is one of deepening cooperation. As economic globalization gathers pace, interdependence among countries has reached unprecedented levels in both breadth and depth. With our interests so intertwined, we rise and fall together. And there is either security for all or security for none. Facing a host of economic and financial issues, various international and regional hotspots and a growing number of global challenges, no country can stay unscathed. Pulling together like passengers in the same boat has become the one and only option for all countries. To achieve peace, development and security through cooperation is becoming a central theme and major trend of international relations.

The world structure is in an important period of evolution while China stands at a critical juncture of national renewal. China's future and destiny are closely connected with those of the world. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the General Secretary, China has made strategic arrangements for its future development and set out the two centenary goals, namely, to double 2010 GDP and per capita income for urban and rural residents and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects when the CPC celebrates its centenary in 2020, and turn China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious and realize the Chinese dream of the great renewal of the Chinese nation when the People's Republic of China marks its centennial in the middle of this century. Never before have we been this close to fulfilling our goals. We are confident and well positioned to achieve the set goals. At the same time, we are also soberly aware that China's reform has reached the crucial stage and waded into the deep water zone. In this new phase of economic and social development, we still have many difficulties and challenges to overcome and will have to make unremitting efforts for many years to come.

Developments and changes at home and abroad have put forward new, higher requirements for China's diplomacy which now stands at a new historical starting point. Over the past year, President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders have made a good beginning on the diplomatic front through a series of successful major diplomatic initiatives. They have sent out a clear message that China, as a nation committed to fulfilling its responsibility, is building on past achievements and opening up new prospects in its diplomatic work. China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, firmly uphold the independent foreign policy of peace, and strive for new progress in win-win cooperation with other countries.

We will integrate our interests with the common interests of other countries and forge a more closely connected community of shared interests. We will combine Chinese people's interests with the common interests of people of other countries, fully accommodate legitimate concerns and lawful rights and interests of other countries while upholding our own interests, and never pursue our own interests at the expense of those of others. We will actively expand converging interests with others, establish and develop communities of common interests with various countries and regions in different areas and at different levels, pursue common interests of the humanity, and share the fruits of progress in human civilization. In the political field, it is important to respect all countries' independent choices of social system and development path, enhance dialogue and exchanges on the basis of equality, and deepen strategic mutual trust. In the economic field, we will be more active in carrying out the opening-up strategy, strive for better results in "bringing in" and "going global" activities, and make the cake of common interests bigger. In the security field, it is necessary to champion the concept of comprehensive, common and cooperative security and promote the building of regional and international security cooperation architecture featuring equality, transparency, openness and inclusiveness. In the cultural field, there is a need to encourage different civilizations to draw on each other's strengths in the spirit of inclusiveness and inject fresh vitality to great development and prosperity of human civilization.

We will take into overall consideration the growth of relations with major countries, neighbors and developing countries and write a new chapter of friendship and cooperation with other countries. Major-country relations bear on world peace and wellbeing of the mankind. China will work with other major countries to ensure that its relations with them will enjoy long-term, steady and sound growth. Last June, President Xi Jinping and US President Obama met in the Annenberg Estate, California and reached important agreement on the building of a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States, thus charting the course for the development of bilateral relations. The centerpiece of the new model is non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. China will work with the United States to constantly enrich the content of the new model to the benefit of people in the two countries and the world. We will vigorously upgrade the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia, deepen practical cooperation in various fields, and maintain international strategic stability. We will further tap cooperation potential with the EU, expand shared interests and growth areas of cooperation, and make fresh progress in China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. We will actively develop friendly relations and cooperation with major developing countries and major regional countries and jointly work for a new international order that is more just and equitable.

A good neighbor is an invaluable asset. The more China develops, the more it appreciates the value of a peaceful and stable neighborhood. China's neighborhood area has always been a priority on its diplomatic agenda. As a matter of fact, we just had a conference on China's neighborhood diplomacy a few days ago, during which General Secretary Xi Jinping made important remarks. He underlined China's commitment to forging friendship and partnership with its neighbors and fostering an amicable, secure and prosperous neighborhood. He also highlighted the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness that guides China's efforts to build a neighborhood of greater peace, stability, development and prosperity and China's desire to bring more benefits to its neighbors and contribute to common development through its own development. These remarks made by General Secretary Xi are an important manifestation of China's innovation in diplomatic theory and practice. They have far-reaching importance in guiding not only China's neighborhood diplomacy but also its overall diplomacy.

Developing countries are the foundation of the conduct of China's diplomacy. China shares a common destiny as well as the same aspiration and vision with other developing countries. China will never forget its identity as a developing country and will always remain a reliable friend and true partner of other developing countries. A balanced approach to justice and interests is a part of the traditional code of ethics of the Chinese nation that we still observe today. In our engagement and cooperation with other developing countries, we will place justice above everything else and pursue our interests on that basis. We will do what we can to help other developing countries and give them sincere assistance to help them achieve faster development.

We will, in light of our ability, obligation and responsibility, make more contribution to world peace and development. To get more actively engaged in international affairs and play the role of a major responsible country is an important dimension of China's diplomacy in keeping with the changing times. We will unequivocally uphold international fairness and justice, oppose hegemony and power politics in all forms, and promote democracy in international relations. We will play a constructive part in seeking solutions to international and regional hotspot issues, work to build a more equitable and balanced global partnership for development, actively participate in international cooperation to meet global challenges, and contribute more of China's strength and vision to the reform and improvement of the international governance regime. On the other hand, we should see that China is still the largest developing country in the world. We will act as permitted by China's current stage of development and actual conditions and strive to play a greater role in promoting human progress.

We will pursue our own goal as part of the common pursuit of people around the world for a brighter future of mankind. The Chinese dream is not only a goal that the Chinese people are working hard to achieve; it is also important for peace and development of the world. The Chinese dream is a dream about peace, development and win-win progress. To realize this dream requires both the hard work of the Chinese people and the understanding, support and cooperation of the international community. In this historic process of realizing the Chinese dream, we will steadily deepen and expand cooperation with other countries to create more opportunities and bigger space for people of other countries to pursue a better life. Thus the Chinese dream will benefit not only China but also the world at large.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Seeing once is better than hearing one hundred times from others. I hope you will come to China more for visits and exchanges and continue to follow China's progress and support its development. I believe that our close contact and exchanges will enable you to better appreciate China and present a true China to the world in an objective way. In doing so, you can play an active role and make greater contribution to enhancing mutual understanding between China and the world and the friendship and cooperation between the Chinese people and the people of other countries.

Thank you.

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