By Yang Jiechi—Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has, with great foresight and a comprehensive perspective, reflected deeply on the future and destiny of mankind as well as the general development trend of China and the whole world. Inspired by the two centenary goals (namely to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the centenary of the CPC in 2021 and to turn China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the centenary of the People’s Republic of China in 2049) and the Chinese dream of national renewal, the Central Party Committee has broken new ground in both diplomatic theory and practice while maintaining consistency and continuity of China’s foreign policy.
It has put forward new ideas and propositions with distinctive Chinese features that embody the call of our times and envision greater human progress. It is on this basis that General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy has been formed and established. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy represents the CPC Central Committee’s new governing philosophy and strategy as they apply to diplomacy and is an integral part of the theories of socialism with distinctive Chinese features. It is a vision that has greatly enriched and taken forward the diplomatic thinking and strategy of New China and will have extremely important and far-reaching significance in steering China’s endeavor to keep pace with the times and make new progress in external work.
Diplomacy is an essential part of the overall work of the Party and the State. At a time when China’s relations with the rest of the world are undergoing profound changes and the Chinese nation has entered a crucial stage of achieving renewal, General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy addresses new issues facing China’s diplomacy with a Marxist position, viewpoints and approaches. It answers key questions such as what is major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features and how to conduct it, and defines the guiding philosophy, basic principles, key tasks, strategies and tactics, and institutional arrangements of conducting external work in a new era. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy is a comprehensive and profound system of theories with rich connotations.
1. Setting strategic goals and key missions for China’s external work in a new era. Based on his assessment of the global trend and the historical stage China has reached, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out in explicit terms that we are closer than ever to the center of the global stage, that we are closer than ever to fulfilling the Chinese dream of national renewal and that we are more confident and able than ever to realize this goal. General Secretary Xi Jinping has stressed the following: In pursuing diplomacy, China will stay committed to peace, development and win-win cooperation, take into account both domestic and international situation and ensure both development and security. We will stay committed to peaceful development, resolutely uphold sovereignty, security and development interests and preserve and extend the major period of strategic opportunity for China’s development so as to pave the way for achieving the two centenary goals and fulfilling the Chinese dream of national renewal. These important statements which expound on the nature, objectives and missions of China’s diplomacy are a fundamental guide to the conduct of China’s external relations.
2. Boosting confidence in China as a major socialist country with distinctive Chinese features. General Secretary Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized that the whole Party should have firm confidence in the path, theories, system and culture of socialism with distinctive Chinese features. The Chinese Communists and Chinese people are fully confident of offering Chinese input to human exploration of better social systems. Since the 18th Party Congress, China has overcome many difficulties and challenges on the diplomatic front, forged ahead in a changing international environment, and made outstanding achievements.
It has been proven that socialism with distinctive Chinese features represents the biggest strength, the most salient characteristic and the greatest opportunity of China’s external affairs. Having full confidence in the path, theories, system and culture of socialism with distinctive Chinese features underpins and drives China’s external work, and ensures its success.
3. Laying out a great vision of building a community of shared future for mankind. With a keen sense of responsibility for the whole mankind and with the historical advance of the human society in mind, General Secretary Xi Jinping shows a deep understanding of the trend of the times and future of mankind. On this basis, he calls for building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and jointly fostering a community of shared future for mankind. By pointing out the direction and drawing a blueprint for the international community to achieve enduring peace, common development and sustained prosperity, this call represents China’s global vision of pursuing both its own development and the development of the world, and demonstrates that China is ready to shoulder its responsibility as a major country. It therefore displays strong appeal, influence and vitality.
Since the 18th Party Congress, China has championed this call at important multilateral forums like the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. In conducting external exchanges, China has followed the principle of seeking win-win outcomes and taken steps to achieve the long-term goal of building a community of shared future for mankind. China’s endeavors have thus been well received and supported by the international community.
4. Pursuing all-round diplomacy to build a global network of partnerships. With the vision and strategic thinking of an outstanding statesman and strategist, General Secretary Xi Jinping has laid out an overarching plan for conducting China’s external work. To this end, he has made vigorous efforts himself to visit various countries across the five continents and major organizations of regional and international cooperation. During these visits, General Secretary Xi Jinping engaged fully with foreign leaders, public figures and ordinary people. By citing touching examples of China’s win-win cooperation with other countries and people-to-people friendship, he stressed the need for all countries and peoples to forge partnerships in pursuing a shared bright future.
Since the 18th Party Congress, China has fully advanced its friendly relations with other countries, with neighboring countries and major countries being the priority of this pursuit, other developing countries serving as its foundation, and multilateral settings as its platform. We have deepened practical cooperation, enhanced mutual political trust, garnered popular support and improved institution building for this endeavor. China has boosted its all-round, wide-ranging and multi-tiered external exchanges, and China’s circle of friends has covered the whole world.
5. Pursuing a new round of opening-up featuring the Belt and Road Initiative. Based on a keen appreciation of new dynamics in China’s internal and external environment, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative (the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road). This initiative aims to further advance China’s opening-up and share China’s development opportunities with other countries, and it will inject strong impetus into global development. Over the past four years since it was launched, the Belt and Road Initiative has been translated into action and delivered concrete outcomes. As a matter of fact, it has developed into an open and inclusive platform of international cooperation and a widely-welcomed public good for the global community. Over 100 countries and international organizations have expressed support for or participated in the initiative, and many landmark projects with wide impact have been launched.
The complementarity between China’s development strategy and those of many other countries has been enhanced and fast progress has been made in scaling up infrastructural connectivity. China has recently hosted a successful and productive Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, creating more momentum for jointly pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative.
6. Demonstrating China’s resolve to uphold its sovereignty and security interests. General Secretary Xi Jinping has unequivocally stated that China stays committed to peaceful development. China does not covet the rights and interests of other countries. Meanwhile, it will never give up its legitimate rights and interests. No country should ever expect China to trade off its core interests or swallow the bitter fruit that undermines its sovereignty, security and development interests. This is what we say, and also what we do. Since the 18th Party Congress, we have particularly staked out our positions on Taiwan, the South China Sea and other issues concerning China’s major core interests. We have drawn a clear line of what is unacceptable, and acted forcefully to defend our core interests as well as legitimate rights. All this has greatly boosted the morale of the Party, the military and the general public and won international respect.
7. Exploring new approach to and practice of global governance. General Secretary Xi Jinping has tapped into the rich heritage of governance philosophy and wisdom unique to Chinese culture that is relevant today and given full expression to the shared aspirations of both the Chinese people and the people around the world. In response to major issues and challenges confronting global governance, General Secretary Xi Jinping has put forth a series of new propositions on global governance, security, development, justice, interests and globalization which are aimed at promoting a global governance system that is fairer, more equitable, inclusive and balanced.
Since the 18th Party Congress, China has hosted the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing and the 2016 G20 Summit in Hangzhou, and taken part in many major multilateral diplomatic events. Through such active participation to help steer the global governance process, China has offered its vision and input for reforming and improving the global governance system and establishing a fairer and more equitable international order.
8. Exercising overall leadership by the Central Party Committee over China’s external work. General Secretary Xi Jinping has stressed that the Party’s role is central to running China’s affairs well. The leadership by the Communist Party of China is both the defining feature and the biggest strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics. What is more, such leadership enables us to cope with internal and external challenges. Since the 18th Party Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has exercised overall leadership over the conduct of China’s external work. It has further enhanced the role of the Central Foreign Affairs Leading Group and convened a meeting on neighborhood diplomacy and a central conference on work relating to foreign affairs to improve top-level design, strategic planning and coordination on external affairs. It has adopted and improved major regulations on foreign affairs management, advanced institutional reforms on external work and coordinated efforts of various departments and regions to form synergy. All these endeavors have provided powerful political support for us to overcome difficulties and forge ahead in external work.
General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy is an important component of the new governance philosophy and strategies developed by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. It provides a solid theoretical foundation for and guidance to conducting China’s diplomacy in the new era. To study and achieve a deep understanding of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy is an important political task for all of us in conducting China’s foreign affairs and diplomacy.
It is also a very important guide to us in conducting a systematic review of the achievements and experience of China’s external work since the 18th Party Congress and in making new progress in external affairs. Wide-ranging in coverage, rich and profound in connotation, General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy serves as a comprehensive and systematic guidance to the external work of the Party and the State. We should focus on the following four aspects in our efforts to gain a deep understanding of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy:
1. We should have a keen appreciation of the sense of mission underlying General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy. Demonstrating a strong sense of historical mission and extraordinary political vision, General Secretary Xi Jinping has led us on the Long March of our generation toward the two centenary goals and the realization of the Chinese dream of national renewal. General Secretary Xi Jinping, bearing in mind the responsibility of the leader of a big country, has reflected deeply on the critical issue of what kind of a world we should build and how to build it, an issue that concerns the future of mankind. He has offered China’s contribution and input to this endeavor.
Since the 18th Party Congress, China has, as its capability permits, undertaken more international responsibilities and obligations. It has fully participated in international peacekeeping missions, played its part in meeting global challenges such as climate change and addressing major regional hotspot issues, and offered global public goods, particularly in the form of the Belt and Road Initiative. China has thus made an important contribution to advancing world peace and development.
2. We should have a keen appreciation of the profound significance of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy to our times. With an incisive grasp of the growing interdependence among countries and recognizing the need to adapt to and sustain the trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation in our times, General Secretary Xi Jinping has set forth the important vision of building a new type of international relations and a community of shared future for mankind. He calls for making economic globalization a more open, inclusive and balanced process that delivers win-win outcomes to all.
He also calls for building a global governance system that reflects well the changing reality of balance of forces in the world. His vision has thus set the direction and pathways to address thorny issues facing mankind such as deficit in peace, development and governance. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy, formed and developed as China’s relationship with the world is going through historic changes, bears a distinctive feature of our times and has great current and historical significance.
3. We should have a keen appreciation of the spirit of innovation embodied in General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy. General Secretary Xi Jinping views reform and opening-up as the defining feature of contemporary China. He has integrated the underlying principles of Marxism with the realities of present-day China, and he is bold in breaking new ground in both theory and practice. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy builds on past success and is forward-looking in nature. Having drawn on China’s fine cultural and philosophical tradition, it has enriched and taken forward the diplomatic thinking and strategy of New China, thus creating a system of theories of major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features.
Bearing in mind both China’s own development and the world’s common development and drawing inspiration from the ancient Silk Road, General Secretary Xi Jinping creatively put forward the Initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, thus building a new platform for China to share development opportunities with the world and developing a new model for international cooperation. The new thinking articulated by General Secretary Xi Jinping, such as upholding justice and pursuing shared interests, a new vision of security and a new vision of global governance, has provided theoretical guidance for countries to reject the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game in favor of peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation.
4. We should have a keen appreciation of the strategic wisdom underpinning General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy. General Secretary Xi Jinping has always observed the prevailing trend in a strategic context and made strategic decisions accordingly. He has made a profound analysis of external opportunities and challenges facing China, taken into account both China’s domestic and international interests, and attached importance to both development and security. On this basis, he has advanced China’s external work in a well-planned and coordinated way on various fronts, such as relations with other major countries, the neighboring countries and other developing countries as well as multilateral diplomacy. General Secretary Xi Jinping has put forth a whole range of principles guiding China’s diplomatic strategy and policies.
He places high importance not just on top-level designing and strategic planning, but also on operations and policy moves. He is thus able to address core issues like pulling an ox by its nose and ensure good coordination among various fronts as a good pianist does with ten fingers, achieving a high degree of balance between firm commitment to principles and appropriate flexibility in policy implementation. Guided by General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy, China has become more confident in pursuing major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, fully demonstrating its distinctive vision, style and way of conduct as a major country. As a result, China has secured a favorable strategic position in the complex and fluid international arena.
We should fully appreciate the great political, theoretical, practical and methodological significance of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy. We should, with a keen sense of mission, responsibility, purpose and commitment, work hard to study this thinking and implement it earnestly, systematically and thoroughly. We should strive to gain a deep understanding of the essence and core of this thinking, so that it will become a powerful source of inspiration and strength that guides us in conducting major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features.
The world is now at a stage of major development, transformation and adjustment, and China’s diplomacy is faced with both unprecedented opportunities and challenges. We must be fully aware of the need to uphold political integrity, keep in mind the bigger picture, follow the leadership core, and meet Party requirements. We must stay true to our ideal and mission and fulfill our responsibility. We must purposefully follow the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core theoretically, politically and in practice, and fully implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy. This will enable us to make new progress in conducting China’s external work, foster favorable external conditions for achieving the two centenary goals and realizing the Chinese dream of national renewal, and continuously make important contribution to the cause of peace and development for mankind.
1. We should strengthen strategic planning for foreign affairs to accomplish the central task of the Party and the State. We should have an accurate assessment of international situation and overall trend of world affairs, stay committed to peaceful development and national renewal as the theme of China’s external work in the new era. We should take into account both our domestic and international interests, and adhere to the general principle of seeking progress while maintaining stability. We should explore new theory and practice in conducting major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features, and consolidate and enhance China’s favorable strategic position. Doing so will enable us both to ensure reform, development and stability at home and make new progress in pursuing major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features.
2. We should foster a more peaceful and stable external environment by pursuing an all-round diplomatic agenda. We will continue to enhance friendship and cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and work to build a global network of partnerships. We should strengthen coordination and cooperation with other major countries, continuously expand areas where our respective interests converge and put in place a generally stable framework of major-country relationship. We should stay committed to the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, enhance friendship and cooperation with our neighbors, and work to consolidate strategic support in the neighborhood area. We should foster friendship, uphold justice, and pursue shared interests to further enrich South-South cooperation and strengthen mutual trust, solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries.
3. We should take solid steps in pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative and break new ground in opening-up. We should take the opportunity of the successful Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to implement its consensus and outcomes in accordance with the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. We should continue to pursue the strategy of win-win cooperation and opening-up and embrace the world in a more extensive and diversified way. We should actively uphold the multilateral trade regime as the main channel, promote international trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, oppose protectionism in all its forms and endeavor to build an open global economy.
4. We should get fully involved in global governance and promote the establishment of a fairer and more equitable international political and economic order. We should champion and apply a new vision of global governance, uphold the core role of the United Nations as the main channel in addressing issues relating to international peace and security, follow through on the agreements reached at the G20 Hangzhou Summit, Hamburg Summit and the previous summits, and support APEC and other major global and regional cooperation organizations in playing a positive role. These efforts are designed to make the international order and system fairer and more equitable. We should enhance the BRICS mechanism and make the upcoming BRICS Xiamen Summit a success; and we should ensure that emerging markets and developing countries will have a greater say in the international governance system.
5. We should be on high alert against potential danger and effectively uphold China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. Upholding core national interests is the noble mission of China’s diplomacy. We will continue to uphold China’s national interests as the starting point and basic goal of China’s external work, and be firm in defending China’s territorial sovereignty and legitimate maritime rights and interests. We will stay committed to the one-China principle, firmly oppose and fight against any separatist attempt for Taiwan independence and strive for China’s reunification.
We should enhance international cooperation in counter-terrorism, cyberspace and law enforcement to uphold and strengthen national security. We should put in place an efficient and well-functioning system to protect China’s overseas interests and improve it to better protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals and enterprises overseas.
6. We should actively communicate China’s policies to the world and conduct public diplomacy to enhance China’s moral appeal. We should enhance confidence in the path, theories, system and culture of socialism with distinctive Chinese features, and share our governance experience with other countries. We should give a good account of the theory and guidelines of socialism with distinctive Chinese features. We should endeavor to let the world know more about the profound connotations of China’s policy of pursuing peaceful development and its vision of building a community of shared future for mankind. We should actively put forth new thinking, initiatives and plans aimed at resolving hotspot issues as China fulfills its role as a major responsible country. We should encourage dialogue among civilizations and social and cultural exchanges so that the Chinese dream and the dreams of other peoples will be pursued and realized together.
China has reached a new starting point, shouldering a new historic mission in conducting its diplomacy. We will rally even more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, and study and implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy in a deep-going way. We will forge ahead and keep writing new chapters of major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features, greet the successful convocation of the 19th Party Congress with even more diplomatic accomplishments, and make even greater contribution to realizing the two centenary goals and the Chinese dream of national renewal.
(This is the full text of the article published by Chinese State Councilor and Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs, Yang Jiechi, on “Study and Implement General Secretary Xi Jinping‘s Thought on Diplomacy in a Deep-going Way and Keep Writing New Chapters of Major-Country Diplomacy with Distinctive Chinese Features.” This article was originally published in Xinhua Online on July 17, 2017)