Wang Yi summarises achievements of China’s diplomacy in 2014

WangYiOn 24 December 2014, Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the opening ceremony of the Symposium on the International Development and China’s Diplomacy in 2014 co-hosted by China Institute of International Studies and China Foundation for International Studies. On this occasion, he delivered an address titled 2014 in Review: A Successful Year for China’s Diplomacy. The following is the full text of the address:

‘It gives me great pleasure to attend the Symposium on the International Development and China’s Diplomacy at the end of the year to review major global trends and the performance of China’s diplomacy in 2014. I hope we will engage in in-depth discussions at the the symposium and work for further success in China’s diplomacy in the new year.

In 2014, the world experienced a new round of turbulence and instability following the international financial crisis. Conflicts in some regions kept flaring up, the road to global economic recovery remained treacherous, and the transformation of the international order gained momentum. The call for peace and development was stronger, so was the call for cooperation and change and for building a community of shared interests and destiny.

In 2014, the central leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping as the General Secretary accelerated the comprehensive reform and advanced rule of law in an all-round way, and it led the 1.3 billion Chinese people in a relentless effort to realize the Chinese dream of great national renewal. On the external front, China remained committed to pursuing peaceful development and win-win cooperation and played a constructive role in upholding peace, stability and development in both our region and the world.

On the diplomatic front, we explored new theories and practices for conducting international relations, participated in global economic and financial governance, engaged in friendly exchanges with countries in all major regions, and worked for the peaceful resolution of hotspot issues in some regions. These efforts created an enabling environment for China’s domestic development. Building on the good start last year, we have continued to achieve major progress in China’s diplomacy this year.

First, we have promoted the Chinese vision of building a new type of international relations. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the central Party leadership has made vigorous efforts to develop new theories and practices in diplomacy. Following the initiatives made last year, such as the pursuit of the Chinese dream, taking a right approach to principles and interests, the building of a new model of major-country relations between China and the United States and the pursuit of neighborhood diplomacy of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, we have put forward the following new vision this year.

1. The call for building a new type of international relations with win-win cooperation at its heart. At the recently concluded Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, President Xi Jinping pointed out that we need to pursue win-win cooperation, promote a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, and continue to follow the win-win strategy of opening-up and a win-win approach in all aspects of our external relations including political, economic, security and cultural fields.

This important exposition of President Xi Jinping is a synthesis of the new diplomatic theories and practices we have developed in our relations with major countries, neighboring countries and developing countries. It has enriched China’s long-established diplomatic principles of equality, mutual benefit, opening-up and win-win cooperation, and added a new dimension to realism-based traditional theory of international relations.

This new type of international relations is underpinned by win-win cooperation. China is the first major country to make win-win cooperation the fundamental goal of international exchanges. This is in keeping with the fine tradition of the Chinese culture, the abiding goal of China’s diplomacy and the contemporary trend towards economic globalization and democracy in international relations. As a new approach to managing state-to-state relations in the contemporary world, it will exert a positive and profound impact on the evolution of international relations.

2. The call for building a global network of partnerships. Another major diplomatic vision expounded by President Xi Jinping at the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs is to make more friends and build a global network of partnerships while abiding by the principle of non-alignment.

Building partnership is a distinctive feature of China’s diplomacy. After the end of the Cold War which was marked by the confrontation between alliance of nations, we drew on the experience and lessons of history in a timely way and succeeded in developing a new approach of forming partners instead of allies. China has established 72 partnerships in different forms and at different levels with 67 countries and 5 regions or regional organizations, which cover all the major countries and regions in the world. President Xi Jinping’s call for building a global network of partnerships is an incisive summary and enrichment of China’s successful diplomatic practices over the past two decades and more. It has increased the strategic and global dimension for our efforts to build partnerships.

The partnerships that we are building have three basic features. First, equality. Countries, regardless of their sizes or levels of development, should respect each other’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity as well as each other’s choice of development path and values, treat each other as equals, and show mutual understanding for and support each other. Second, peace. What makes such partnership different from military alliance is that it does not have any hypothetical enemy nor is it targeted at any third party, thus keeping relations between countries unaffected by military factors. It aims to handle state-to-state relations with a cooperative rather than confrontational, and a win-win rather than zero-sum approach. Third, inclusiveness. The partnership we have initiated seeks to go beyond differences in social systems and ideologies to maximize common interests and pursue a common goal. As President Xi Jinping puts it, “Those who share the same vision and follow the same path are partners. Those who seek common ground while shelving differences can also be partners.” On the other hand, partnership does not mean giving up principles. China will continue to follow an independent foreign policy of peace in international affairs, and take position and make its judgment on an issue based on its merits.

3. The call to pursue the Asia-Pacific dream. President Xi Jinping first called for pursuing the Asia-Pacific dream and elaborated on it during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. He stressed that this dream is about fostering a sense of the Asia-Pacific community and shared destiny, jointly working for the prosperity and progress of our region, and driving global development and making greater contribution to the well-being of mankind.

The pursuit of the Asia-Pacific dream was put forward against the following historical background. First, while there are turbulences in many regions of the world, Asia-Pacific has increasingly become the anchor of global stability and prosperity. At the same time, as various powers have increased their involvement in the Asia-Pacific, the regional architecture is undergoing profound transformation; and the international community is closely following the evolution of the Asia-Pacific. Second, as various bilateral and multilateral mechanisms with different goals have emerged in the Asia-Pacific, we need to work to build consensus on how to advance the all-round cooperation in our region. Third, as China is the most dynamic economy in the Asia-Pacific and the host of this year’s APEC meeting, the world is watching how China will lead the development of the Asia-Pacific.

Against this background, President Xi Jinping called for pursuing the Asia-Pacific dream during the APEC meeting in Beijing. He put forward a four-point proposal on shaping the future through Asia-Pacific partnership, building an open economy in the Asia-Pacific, exploring new drivers for economic growth and drawing a blueprint for comprehensive connectivity. This has addressed the concerns of various parties, set the direction for cooperation in our region, thus playing an important role at a crucial time for the Asia-Pacific’s development.

4. The vision of Asian security. President Xi Jinping called for promoting common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in Asia at the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA); and this initiative was accepted by all parties and included in the Shanghai Declaration. The vision of Asian security has added a new dimension to China’s underlying thinking on security, enhanced the global influence of China’s thinking on security, and provided new guidelines for maintaining security and stability of both Asia and the world.

China has used the CICA platform to champion security cooperation by rejecting the old mentality of seeking one’s own security at the expense of the security of others and building an open and inclusive new security architecture in Asia. This shows China’s eagerness to take a more constructive part in Asia’s security affairs and provide public security goods.

This new vision builds on progress made in diplomatic theories by the central Party leadership since the 18th CPC National Congress. It elucidates China’s strategic thinking on today’s world and its diplomacy, and adds a salient Chinese feature to contemporary international relations.

Second, we have actively pursued China’s diplomacy to boost ties with all other countries. In the short span of two years since the 18th CPC National Congress, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have made 17 foreign visits, covering over 50 countries across the five continents and meeting foreign heads of state and government close to 500 times. This has created a “Chinese whirlwind” in the world. Over the past year, we have achieved the following progress on major diplomatic fronts:

On the neighborhood front, we have worked vigorously to build a community of shared interests and destiny. We have maintained frequent high-level interactions and all-round cooperation at various levels and in various fields with our neighbors in 2014. As a result, our converging interests have been expanded and our mutual understanding has been enhanced.

Following President Xi Jinping’s call to pursue neighborhood diplomacy featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness made last year, we jointly hosted with India and Myanmar commemorative activities to mark the 60th anniversary of the initiation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. The commemoration, which added new historical dimensions to these five principles, was well-received by China’s neighbors and the international community.

We have advanced pragmatic cooperation with countries in Northeast Asia. President Xi Jinping visited the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Mongolia respectively. He enriched the China-ROK strategic partnership by defining it with “four partnerships”, namely, partnership for common development, partnership for regional peace, partnership for Asia’s renewal and partnership for world prosperity; and he elevated China’s relations with Mongolia to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Acting in the spirit of “taking history as a mirror to guide the future”, China reached a four-point common understanding with Japan on how to handle issues affecting bilateral relations, thus taking the first step towards improving China-Japan relations.

We have continued to enhance relations with Southeast Asian countries. Building on the 2+7 cooperation framework proposed by Premier Li Keqiang last year, we called for working with ASEAN to adopt a master strategy for growing China-ASEAN relations. We launched negotiations on upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, discussed the signing of a treaty of good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation between China and ASEAN countries, and began substantive consultations on forging the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The Chinese leaders have visited all Central Asian countries. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang paid successful visits to Tajikistan and Kazakhstan respectively. Line C of the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline has gone into operation and construction of Line D has begun. The China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund was established. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Agreement on Facilitation of International Road Transport was signed after ten-year-long negotiations. And the SCO started the process of admitting new members.

We have strengthened friendship and cooperation with South Asian countries. During his visit to the Maldives, President Xi Jinping announced the establishment of a comprehensive friendly and cooperative partnership between China and the Maldives, and he launched FTA negotiations with Sri Lanka and inaugurated the Colombo Port City project during his visit to the country. These efforts have given a strong boost to the building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

In relations with other major countries, solid progress has been made in building a new model of major-country relationship with the United States. President Barack Obama paid a successful visit to China. Following their Sunnylands meeting last year, the two presidents had in-depth evening discussions at Yingtai in Zhongnanhai Compound, Beijing. The visit deepened mutual understanding and led to major progress in a wide range of areas, including climate response, reciprocal visa arrangement and confidence-building measures between the two militaries.

China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination has maintained high standard performance. For the second year, President Xi Jinping chose Russia as the first destination of his overseas trip. President Putin visited China twice within a year, and the two presidents met five times in 2014. Breakthrough has been made in a number of major collaborative projects, thus tightening the bond of common interests between the two countries.

New progress has been made in China-EU cooperation. President Xi Jinping paid a historic visit to Europe to forge partnerships of peace, growth and reform between different civilizations, lifting China-EU relations to a new height. Premier Li Keqiang visited Europe three times in the year, moving China-EU pragmatic cooperation in the direction of innovative cooperation. His meeting with leaders of Central and Eastern European countries broke new ground in introducing China-made equipment, high-speed rail equipment and technology in particular, to the European continent.

Solidarity and cooperation among BRICS countries have been deepened. President Xi Jinping paid state visits to India and Brazil, and hosted the visit to China by South Africa’s president. China and India agreed to make their strategic and cooperative partnership more development-focused, and breakthroughs were made in China-India pragmatic cooperation. China and Brazil decided to enhance their comprehensive strategic partnership and explored the feasibility of building a railway running across South America from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast.

With respect to Africa, following President Xi Jinping’s first African tour last year when he proposed the four-point principle of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith for China’s relations with Africa, Premier Li Keqiang visited Africa this year and raised such important initiatives as seven major cooperation projects and three major transport networks amid fresh progress in bilateral cooperation concerning railway, mining and agriculture projects which further enriched the new type of strategic partnership between the two sides.

With respect to Latin America, President Xi Jinping met with leaders of Latin American and Caribbean countries for the first time in the history of China-Latin America relations. The two sides declared the launching of a comprehensive cooperative partnership of equality, mutual benefit and common development and created the China-CELAC Forum as a new platform for elevating relations between the two sides, thus extending China’s collective cooperation mechanism to include all developing countries.

With respect to the Middle East, we have elevated our relations with Egypt and Algeria to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership, hosted the sixth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum and put forth initiatives for China-Arab joint efforts to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and create a new “1+2+3” cooperation pattern, which were responded favorably in Arab countries.

With respect to the South Pacific, President Xi Jinping visited Australia and New Zealand and upgraded China-Australia and China-New Zealand relations to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership. He established strategic partnerships of mutual respect and common development with Pacific island countries and advanced China’s overall cooperation with the South Pacific island countries having diplomatic ties with China.

Taking the past two years as a whole, China’s diplomacy, facing a new situation and new demands, has got off to a fruitful start, with its agenda unfolding across the board and its global network of partnerships basically taking shape.

Third, we have made our own contribution to common development in the world. As the world’s second largest economy, China is fully aware of its responsibility and has done its utmost to promote development and prosperity of the world.

By maintaining economic stability at home, we have helped global economy, Asian economy, in particular, to effectively resist the downward pressure. As the world’s fastest growing economy, China has made itself an opportunity to world development. The recent Central Economic Work Conference sent out a message that the Chinese economy has come to a new normal, reaffirming China’s direction for a new round of high-quality opening-up. On the home front, we will pursue a path of sustainable development, maintaining a healthy and steady growth of a medium-high speed, upgrading our economic structure toward the medium-high end and bringing about sustained benefits to our people. On the external front, we will deepen our opening strategy of mutual benefit, achieving the transformation from being the world’s workshop of consumer items to being a key supply base of manufacturing equipment and realizing the common prosperity of China and the rest of the world.

By promoting the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, we have injected a strong impetus to the common development in Eurasia. The economic belt and the maritime Silk Road are projects designed to boost win-win cooperation between China on the one hand and Eurasian countries on the other in the spirit of mutual learning and harmonious coexistence reminiscent of the ancient Silk Road and serve as an overarching architecture for China’s external cooperation endeavor in the new era.

Internally, this initiative dovetails with China’s development strategy of developing our central and western regions while addressing regional imbalances and fits well with our “go global” strategy aimed at building all-directional cooperation with the outside world. Internationally, this initiative aims to secure common development and shared prosperity in all countries along the routes, as it upholds the vision for a community of shared destiny and highlights a win-win approach featuring consultation, joint development and sharing. The initiative is bound to bring new life and vigor to the ancient land of Eurasia and give this vast continent two strong wings on its journey toward prosperity.

In the past year since the initiative was raised, over 50 countries along the routes have responded positively and signed on, ready to align their respective development schemes with it. Substantive steps have been made in the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which renders strong support to the initiative. The Silk Road Fund is in place. Infrastructure connectivity cooperation such as China-Mongolia and China-Thailand railway projects is making progress. China-ROK and China-Australia FTA negotiations have yielded fruitful results. As time goes by, the great significance and far-reaching impact of the initiative will become more keenly felt.

By promoting the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), we have worked relentlessly to ensure a right direction for regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. Using the opportunity presented by hosting APEC meetings, we set in motion the FTAAP process and approved the relevant roadmap, transcending and integrating the increasingly fragmented bilateral and multilateral FTAs in the region and creating a significant milestone in the APEC process, which aroused strong resonance and support from all parties. The effort goes a long way toward ensuring mutual inclusiveness and reinforcement of the existing cooperation arrangements in the region.

By taking part in international economic and financial governance, we have played a positive role in revamping the relevant international systems. We moved the G20 Summit in Brisbane to include structural reform, as China called for, in its Leaders’ Communiqué as an important element under macroeconomic policy coordination. We worked with the United States and Australia in drafting the G20 Principles on Energy Collaboration and urging its endorsement by the Summit. In such a way, we took an active part in agenda-setting and rule-making in the multilateral arena. At the BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, we pushed for the launch of preparations for a New Development Bank and a Contingent Reserve Arrangement, thus making a new contribution to improving global financial governance. We actively participated in the United Nations Climate Summit. The Joint Announcement on Climate Change by China and the United States, spelling out their respective post-2020 actions on climate change, set an illustrious example for the international community.

Fourth, we have played our part in addressing global hotspot issues. The Chinese nation has been peace-loving throughout the ages. Not only are we committed to a path of peaceful development, we have also asked ourselves to stand for peace, make peace and keep peace in international affairs.

We have backed our support to the triple transition of Afghanistan with concrete actions. By announcing new assistance package and major training programs for Afghanistan, we have worked hard to maintain peace and stability in that country. In successfully hosting the Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, we have helped identify 64 priority cooperation projects as confidence building measures, thus injecting new vitality to the Istanbul Process and setting new standards to it.

We have taken an active part in the negotiations for a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue. Chinese leaders have personally talked at great length to the leaders of relevant countries on many occasions. We put forward a five-point political proposition at the early days of the negotiations and went on to offer our ideas and plans throughout the process, especially at critical junctures of negotiations. The constructive role played by China in bridging differences, breaking impasse and moving the negotiations forward has been widely recognized.

In the face of the Ebola epidemic, the biggest global public health crisis in nearly 30 years, we extended a helping hand to our African brothers right away. So far, China has provided four batches of assistance worth a total of RMB750 million to the affected countries and their neighbors, sent more than 1,000 epidemic control experts and medical workers for the relief efforts and built in a timely fashion treatment centers in the affected areas. These moves have won China extensive praises internationally.

With respect to the question of Ukraine, China has maintained an objective and impartial position, worked actively to promote peace through dialogue, and displayed the image as a responsible major country. We made a three-point proposal designed to promote a political solution at the start of the crisis, and we encouraged all along efforts to seek a political solution that accommodates the legitimate interests and concerns of all parties. China’s position has been well received by the relevant parties.

We are committed to achieving denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability on the Peninsula and solving the issue through dialogue and negotiation. By working vigorously on the relevant parties on the various occasions and through various channels, we have tried hard to create the conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and to bring the Korean nuclear issue back to a dialogue process that is sustainable, irreversible and result-oriented.

We have put forth a five-point peace proposal for settling the Palestine-Israel conflict. Having sent our Special Envoy on Middle East Affairs to the region four times on a shuttle mission of mediation, received visit to China by the Special Envoy of the Palestinian President, and provided emergency humanitarian assistance in cash to the Gaza people in the name of the Chinese Government and the Chinese Red Cross Society, China has contributed its share to easing tensions between Palestine and Israel and safeguarding peace and stability in the Middle East.

We have got actively involved in addressing the Syrian issue by urging the convening of the Geneva II Conference on Syria, making a five-point proposition for a political settlement and encouraging all parties in Syria to seek a middle way that suits Syria’s national conditions and accommodates the interests of all parties. We have also made a great deal of efforts to secure the passage of Security Council resolutions on Syria’s humanitarian situation by consensus.

We have worked hard to solve the conflict in South Sudan. By receiving the government and opposition delegations from South Sudan successively and appointing a special envoy on intensive shuttle diplomacy, China has worked on the conflicting parties in a balanced and in-depth way and played a substantive role in stabilizing the situation in South Sudan.

We have been committed to dialogue, consultation and peacefully solving the disputes concerning sovereignty, territorial integrity and maritime rights and interests with some neighboring countries. While firmly safeguarding our sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests, we have actively advocated a “dual track” approach in addressing the South China Sea issue, namely, the relevant disputes should be resolved peacefully through friendly negotiations by the countries directly concerned while peace and stability in the South China Sea be jointly maintained by China and the ASEAN countries. This approach has won understanding and support from most countries in this region.

At the recent Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, President Xi Jinping pointed out that China must develop a distinctive diplomatic approach befitting its role as a major country, so that China’s diplomacy will show salient Chinese features, Chinese style and Chinese confidence. China’s diplomacy has already stood on a new historical starting point and its relations with the outside world are displaying brand new chapters. The vision, practice, contribution and role of China as I elaborated above have all demonstrated the Chinese features.

The word “features”, highlighting the major-country diplomacy as China pursues, underscores China’s determination to achieve national greatness through ways different from traditional powers. The Chinese features, first and foremost, support unequivocally the social system and development path widely endorsed by the Chinese people and uphold unswervingly the leadership of the CPC and socialism with Chinese characteristics. This is where the foundation of China’s diplomacy lies.

Secondly, the Chinese features embody the upholding of the independent foreign policy of peace, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and other fine traditions in China’s diplomacy. At the same time, we need to keep abreast of the times and continue to work for their improvement, enrichment and development.

Thirdly, the Chinese features include the adherence to such principles as standing for reason and justice and acting in equal-footed way. These principles reflect both the proud traditions of the Chinese civilization and the intrinsic requirements of China’s socialist system, more effectively safeguard the overall interests of developing countries and help promote democracy in international relations.

Fourthly, the Chinese features require that we make serving domestic development, reform and opening-up our top priority. China is the world’s second largest economy, but it is also a typical developing country, which makes it different from other major countries. Therefore, China’s diplomacy must be brought to serve the country’s domestic development by fostering a more stable and more friendly external environment.

Comrades, the major-country diplomacy with Chinese features is an unprecedented undertaking. It has become all the more valuable just because of its difficult and challenging nature. To persevere in the major-country diplomacy with Chinese features is what the central Party leadership with Comrade Xi Jinping as the General Secretary asked of us, and it is also the glorious mission history has bestowed on this generation of ours. I hope that all of us will pool our strengths and wisdom together and make unremitting efforts to this end’.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China