A New Milestone for the Socialist Diplomatic Theory with Chinese Characteristics

The Central Unit of the Party Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2013-08-20 15:17
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The report to the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China has provided us with an in-depth analysis of the international situation at present, a systematic summary of China’s diplomatic experiences, and a comprehensive set of arrangements for China’s foreign initiatives in the future. Maintaining the inherent continuity of China’s foreign policies, the report has set forth a series of new ideas, new viewpoints, and new statements with regard to China’s diplomacy, thereby adding further to the development of a socialist diplomatic theory with Chinese characteristics. 

I. Adhering unswervingly to the path of peaceful development

In the report to the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC, the pursuit of peaceful development is listed as one of eight basic requirements that must be met if socialism with Chinese characteristics is to claim new victories under new conditions. According to the report, peaceful development is an inevitable outcome of socialism with Chinese characteristics, being a strategic choice that the Chinese government and people have made on the basis of contemporary trends and their fundamental interests. China is committed to development through opening up, development via cooperation, and development that is of mutual benefit to all. Firmly pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace, China seeks to develop itself by securing a peaceful international environment, and strives to uphold and promote world peace through its own development. Moreover, China maintains that there is dialectical unity between pursuing peaceful development and safeguarding national interests. The pursuit of peaceful development is in China’s interests, and safeguarding national interests is a necessary guarantee for the realization of peaceful development. In declaring its commitment to peaceful development, China has told the world what path it has chosen to follow and what implications China’s development will have for the world. This has allowed us to realize a high level of unity between our domestic and foreign policies and between socialism with Chinese characteristics and the contemporary themes of peace and development under new conditions. 

Former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic (left) attends a launch event for his new book on February 1, 2013. In his new book, China and the Balkans, Mesic expresses that China’s path is one of peaceful development. / Xinhua (Photo by Miso Lisanin)

II. Giving emphasis to cooperation and mutual benefit 

The report to the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC reads, “China will continue to hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, and will remain resolutely committed to following a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up.” These words fully reflect the notions of cooperation and mutual benefit. In promoting mutually beneficial cooperation, China calls for greater awareness that human beings are brought together by a common destiny. In addition to pursuing their own national interests, countries should consider the reasonable concerns of other countries, boost the common interests of humanity, and promote common development and prosperity. Conforming to the growing trend of mutual dependence between the countries of the world, the idea of mutually beneficial cooperation is being recognized and supported by an increasing number of countries. It has enriched the framework of modern international relations with new content rich in contemporary spirit. 

III. Further calling for a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity

As pointed out in the report to the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC, playing by the laws of the jungle will not bring out human coexistence, and the arbitrary use of force will not make the world a better place. The peoples of all countries share a common desire for peace, not war; for development, not poverty; for cooperation, not confrontation; and for progress towards a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity. China calls for the promotion of equality, mutual trust, inclusiveness, mutual learning, and mutually beneficial cooperation in international relations, and for joint efforts to be made in upholding international fairness and justice. The building of a harmonious world not only represents a necessary part of China’s efforts to underpin its social and economic development with a sound external environment, but also constitutes a highly condensed summary of the kind of international relations and world order that China is promoting for a new era.

IV. Deepening understanding of an important period of strategic opportunity for China’s development

The report to the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC states that China is still undergoing an important period of strategic opportunity for development, and therefore needs to accurately judge the changing nature and conditions of this period, seize all available opportunities, and respond calmly to challenges. At present, the international situation is generally stable, and the balance of power between countries is tilting in a direction that is favorable to the preservation of world peace. This, together with China’s increasing national strength and global influence, has placed China in a more favorable position to seize and make the most of an important period of strategic opportunity for its development. However, we also need to realize that our development is coming up against increasing risks and challenges, and that the task of preserving and making good use of a second decade of important strategic opportunity will be an arduous one. In order to gain a correct understanding of the changing nature and conditions of this period, the key lies in understanding that opportunities and challenges are both mutually complementary and mutually interchangeable. Therefore, we need to be adept at finding opportunities amidst complex conditions, at seizing opportunities in changing situations, and at creating opportunities in response to risks and challenges. 

V. Continuing to balance domestic considerations with international ones 

As China becomes increasingly linked to the rest of the world, and the relationship between the country’s domestic affairs and foreign affairs becomes ever closer, the Central Committee of the CPC has set forth the important guiding principles of balancing domestic considerations with international ones. In line with this principle, we need to deepen our understanding of the laws governing the interaction of domestic and foreign affairs, and better integrate domestic development with efforts in opening up to the outside world. We should take active measures to grasp opportunities presented by the external environment, and react more effectively to the challenges that the external environment presents. At the same time, we should pay more attention to the impact that domestic affairs have on the external environment, and focus more on the way that the external environment is reflected in China’s domestic affairs. By doing so, we will be better able to support scientific development and the building of a harmonious society through our efforts. These are the important guiding principles for China’s diplomacy in the period ahead. 

VI. Constantly improving the overall layout of China’s diplomacy

As China’s diplomacy continues to develop in both depth and scope, we have further consolidated our initiatives with regard to major countries, neighboring countries, and developing countries. China has worked towards the establishment of a new model for relations with other major countries which is characterized by long-term stability and sound development. It has adhered to a policy of promoting friendship and partnership with its neighbors, so that China’s development can be more beneficial to neighboring countries. At the same time, China has strengthened its ties and cooperation with other developing countries, and will always be a reliable friend and sincere partner of developing countries. In addition, we have expressed that we will play a more active role in multilateral affairs and take solid steps to promote public diplomacy and people-to-people exchanges. Through constant efforts to improve the overall layout of its diplomatic initiatives, China has put in place a diplomatic framework characterized by mutually reinforcing country-specific diplomacy, regional diplomacy, and diplomacy in other fields, the integration of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, and interactions between politics, economy, and culture. This framework has provided a major boost to the development of China’s diplomacy in all directions. 

VII. Promoting a new model for relations with other major countries which is characterized by long-term stability and sound growth 

The way that major countries handle and develop their relationships with one another has major implications for world peace and development. The report to the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC clearly proposes the establishment of a new model for relations with other major countries that is characterized by long-term stability and sound growth. The leaders of both China and the US have reached an important consensus on engaging in joint efforts to develop a new model for relations between the two countries whose characteristics include being free of conflict, mutual respect, and mutual benefit. At the same time, China has also established various forms of partnership with other major countries. The core elements of a new model for relations between major countries should be mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and mutually beneficial cooperation. This idea represents a historical innovation in international relations. As a major innovation in theory, it demonstrates how China, a large developing country experiencing rapid economic growth, should interact with other major countries and how a framework for relations between major countries that is beneficial to both China and other countries should be built. Therefore, this idea represents a major contribution that China has made to the theory and practice of modern international relations. 

VIII. Firmly establishing the principles of putting people first and engaging in diplomatic initiatives for the people

Under the correct leadership and direct guidance of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, we have attached great importance to and appropriately handled major emergencies concerning the interests and safety of Chinese citizens abroad. We have worked resolutely to safeguard the safety and legal rights of Chinese nationals and legal persons overseas, and urged Chinese companies operating abroad to fulfill their social responsibilities. The principles of putting people first and engaging in diplomatic initiatives for the people are an embodiment of the CPC’s tenets of serving the people wholeheartedly. They are also conducive to the integration of patriotism and internationalism. 

The new ideas, new viewpoints, and new statements that have been introduced above constitute both an important aspect of the socialist diplomatic theories with Chinese characteristics and an important part of the theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics. They form responses to a series of major questions relating to China’s role on the world stage under new conditions, such as what banner China holds, what road it is taking, what policies and strategies it is adopting, and what kind of international order it is calling for. These ideas, viewpoints, and statements have charted a course for China’s diplomacy in the period ahead. They present a fundamental response to the common concerns of the international community with regard to how the relationship between China and the rest of the world will develop. 

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.4, 2013)

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