Studying General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Thought on Diplomacy

By: Yang JiechiFrom:English Edition of Qiushi Journal October-December 2017|Vol.9,No.4,Issue No.33 | Updated: 2017-Nov-28 15:50
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Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has maintained keen focus on realizing the “Two Centenary Goals” and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. It has actively promoted innovation in both the theory and practice of China’s diplomacy while preserving the consistency and continuity of its diplomatic policies and principles. It has also raised a number of new ideas and proposals to guide the development and progress of humanity that demonstrate China’s unique characteristics and contemporary spirit. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thinking on diplomacy has been formed and established on the basis of these efforts.

At a time when China’s relations with the rest of the world are undergoing profound changes and when the Chinese nation has entered a crucial stage in its push to realize national rejuvenation, Xi Jinping’s thinking on diplomacy has used a Marxist standpoint, viewpoint and method to guide the resolution of new issues facing China’s diplomacy. It has defined the guiding thought, basic principles, main tasks, strategies and tactics, and institutional guarantees of diplomatic work in the current era, constituting a complete system of rational theories with rich connotations and profound ideas. The primary details of this system are as follows:

1. Identifying the strategic goals and key missions of China’s diplomatic work in the current era

Based on a scientific assessment of global trends and China’s historical position, Xi Jinping has elaborated in explicit terms that China is now closer than ever to the center of world stage, closer than ever to realizing the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, and now more than ever has the ability and confidence to achieve this goal. Xi has stressed that China’s diplomacy must uphold the principles of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, simultaneously giving consideration to both domestic and international conditions while also balancing development and security considerations. It must remain committed to the path of peaceful development, resolutely defend national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and preserve and extend the important period of strategic opportunity for China’s development, thereby providing a strong guarantee for realizing the “Two Centenary Goals” and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. These expositions profoundly explain the character, goals, and missions of China’s diplomacy, and represent the fundamental source of guidance for diplomatic initiatives.

President Xi Jinping presides over and delivers a speech at the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries in Xiamen International Convention Center, Fujian Province, September 5, 2017. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER PANG XINGLEI

2. Boosting self-confidence as a major socialist country with Chinese characteristics

Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized that the entire CPC must have firm confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and that the CPC and the Chinese people should have complete confidence in their ability to provide Chinese solutions to aid humanity’s search for a better social system. Though it faces a volatile international environment, China has overcome obstacles and advanced towards new horizons, thus achieving worldwide recognition in its diplomatic initiatives.

3. Laying out a grand blueprint for creating a community of shared future for humanity

With an overall view of humanity’s historical progress, Xi Jinping has profound insight into humanity’s future prospects and contemporary trends. Using this perspective, he has put forward the important proposal of establishing a new type of international relations based on mutually beneficial cooperation and uniting to create a community of shared future for humanity. This proposal has drawn the blueprint and pointed the way for humanity to achieve the goals of shared development, enduring prosperity, and long-term peace and stability. It also reflects China’s global vision which integrates the country’s own development with that of the rest of the world, as well as China’s global mindedness and sense of responsibility as one of the world’s major countries. The proposal thus possesses great vitality and appeal. China has actively publicized its proposal to create a community of shared future for humanity through important multilateral platforms like the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, and has earnestly implemented the principle of mutual benefit in its foreign relations. It has thus taken concrete steps to carry forward the long-term goal of creating a community of shared future for humanity and won widespread praise from the international community.

4. Furthering multi-dimensional diplomacy with the goal of developing global partnership

As he has engaged in broad and profound exchanges with people of foreign countries including national leaders, public figures from various fields, and ordinary people alike, Xi Jinping has shared many anecdotes about typical cases of mutually beneficial cooperation and people-to-people contact between China and other countries, stressing the need for all countries and their people to join hands in creating a bright future. In order to comprehensively develop friendly cooperation with all countries, China has made neighboring countries and major countries its focus, developing countries its foundation, multilateralism its platform, and deepening pragmatic cooperation, strengthening mutual political trust, securing popular support, and improving mechanisms as its method. China’s multi-dimensional, multi-level, and wide-ranging structure for foreign interactions has become richer and more complete, ensuring that China’s circle of friends encompasses the whole world.

5. Establishing a new model of opening up led by the Belt and Road Initiative

With a precise grasp of new changes in both the domestic and international environments that affect China’s opening up to the world, Xi Jinping has put forward the great proposal to build the Belt and Road. Firmly committed to promoting a new round of opening up with high standards, the proposal welcomes other countries to share in the opportunities brought by China’s development and injects global development with a strong source of momentum. Since it was introduced four years ago, the Belt and Road Initiative has transformed from proposal to action and from theory to practice, becoming an open and inclusive platform for international cooperation and a globally owned public good that has received universal welcome. With the active participation and support of over 100 countries and international organizations, a large number of influential landmark projects have been successfully launched, coordination has been achieved between China’s development strategies and those of many other countries, and levels of infrastructure connectivity have been rapidly increased.

6. Demonstrating China’s will and determination to safeguard its sovereignty and security interests

President Xi has stated unequivocally that China is committed to the path of peaceful development and does not covet the rights and interests of other countries, but will under no circumstances abandon its own legitimate rights and interests. No country should entertain the thought that China would barter away its core national interests or simply swallow affronts to its sovereignty, security, and development interests. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, we have made our position clear and drawn the line on Taiwan, the South China Sea, and other issues concerning China’s major core interests, demonstrating our willingness to vigorously defend our core interests and legitimate rights.

7. Bringing new ideas to the theory and practice of global governance

Xi has deeply explored how Chinese culture’s unique principles and wisdom relating to governance resonate in the modern day. Giving priority to the common will shared by the Chinese people and people around the globe, he has raised a series of new principles and propositions regarding global governance, security, development, justice and gain, and globalization to address the great practical issues and challenges facing global governance and promote the establishment of a fairer, more equitable, universally beneficial, and balanced global governance system. By hosting the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing and the 2016 G20 Summit in Hangzhou, and by attending a number of major multilateral diplomatic events, China has actively participated in guiding the progress of global governance. By presenting the Chinese viewpoints and offering its own wisdom and solutions, China has helped to reform and improve the global governance system and pushed forward the establishment of a fairer and more equitable international order.

8. Upholding overall leadership of the CPC Central Committee over diplomatic work

Xi Jinping has emphasized that China’s success hinges on the CPC. The leadership of the CPC is both the most fundamental characteristic and greatest strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Even more, it serves as a fundamental guarantee as we respond to a multitude of complex situations at home and abroad. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has exercised overall leadership over China’s diplomacy, further strengthened the role of its Foreign Affairs Leading Group, and convened a conference on diplomatic work regarding neighboring countries and a central conference on diplomatic work. It has enhanced top-level design, strategic planning, and overall coordination of diplomatic work, formulated and improved regulations on managing major diplomatic initiatives, advanced the reform of institutions and mechanisms related to diplomatic work, and led various sectors in coordinating and forming synergy. All of these efforts have provided a strong political guarantee for our diplomatic effort to continue overcoming challenges and making progress.

Yang Jiechi is State Councilor and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Leading Group of the CPC Central Committee. He was elected Member of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee in October 2017.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.14, 2017)