Even as Beijing steps up its proactive diplomacy, it does not believe that strength inevitably aspires to hegemony.
Nearly one year into the current government’s tenure, China, which has enjoyed stability and steady progress, is attracting increasing attention. Many are eager to see what China will bring to the world. My answer: a better China will make for a better world. As the Report to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China said, China will remain committed to peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, get more actively involved in international affairs, play its due role as a major responsible country, and continue to promote friendship and partnership with its neighbours and consolidate amicable relations with them. This is the pledge China has made to the world.
A China that constantly deepens reform and opens still wider to the outside is an important force for peace and stability in the world. The defining features of present-day China are reform and opening-up. To achieve modernisation, China needs to secure a peaceful international environment to develop itself, and safeguard and promote world peace with its development. It needs to enlarge the convergence of interests of all parties and work towards a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity. That is why our diplomacy flatly rejects the law of the jungle, embraces equality of all countries irrespective of size and stands against hegemonism. China has the confidence to prove, with its own actions and by working with other countries, that a country growing stronger does not inevitably seek hegemony. As the world’s largest developing country and largest grouping of developed countries, China and the EU should respect each other’s development paths as chosen in line with respective realities and work together to maintain world peace and stability.
A China that upholds win-win cooperation is providing a strong impetus to global prosperity and development. “A single flower does not make spring.” China is ready to join the rest of the world to share opportunity and seek prosperity. China and the US have agreed to build a new model of major-country relationships, featuring non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. China and Russia, by vigorously deepening their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, have set a good example of mutual trust and cooperation between major countries. Committed to the right approach to morality and interests, China is willing to give greater consideration to the interests of other developing countries. We are also happy to see developed countries sharing in the dividends of China’s development. The recently concluded Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee has put forth specific goals for a comprehensively deepened reform in the political, economic, cultural, social and ecological fields. In all these areas, Europe is our important cooperation partner. We hope to see a combination of China’s ongoing programme of urbanisation, industrialisation, IT application and agricultural modernisation with Europe’s project of economic recovery. We would also like to see the Chinese and European markets reinforce each other to boost our respective development and provide fresh impetus to a dynamic, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy.
A more proactive and enterprising China is making important contributions to appropriate resolutions of international hotspot issues. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China knows full well its major mandates and responsibilities, and works hard to address hotspot issues at regional and international levels. In December 2013, China sent peacekeeping troops to Mali, the 24th UN peacekeeping mission it has participated in since 1990. Not long ago, I attended on behalf of China the dialogue of the P5+1 countries and the EU with Iran. The Chinese side upheld justice, made constructive recommendations and encouraged the parties to reach agreement on first-step measures to resolve the Iran nuclear issue. We have also actively supported the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria and decided to provide a naval escort for the Syrian weapons. As two major forces working for world peace, both China and the EU stand for defusing crises with diplomacy. And the two sides should work together to uphold the sanctity of the UN Charter and make still-greater contributions to world peace and development.
A China that is committed to good neighbourliness is injecting ever greater positive energy to peace and development in the Asia-Pacific. With 20 land and maritime neighbours and a land boundary totalling 22,000 kilometres, China has more neighbours than any other country in the world. The neighbourhood where China finds itself is what China depends on for survival, development and prosperity. Therefore, we will commit ourselves to developing amicable relationships and partnerships with our neighbours, fostering an amicable, secure and prosperous neighbourhood and pursuing the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. China and Russia are committed to ensuring peace and friendship along their 4,300-km boundary. From Dandong (on the China-DPRK border) to Manzhouli (on the China-Russia border), and from Horgos (on the China-Kazakhstan border) to Dongxing (on the China-Vietnam border), over 50 Chinese ports are bustling with people doing brisk business. China has worked vigorously to develop a partnership of maritime cooperation with ASEAN countries and its initiative for a Maritime Silk Road of the 21st century has been enthusiastically received. All this stands as convincing proof that peace, development and cooperation prevails in China’s neighbourhood. Admittedly, there are outstanding territorial or maritime disputes between China and certain countries. We have always stood for peaceful settlement of such issues through negotiation and hope the relevant countries will work with us towards the same goal.
What deserves our attention is that 68 years after World War II, Japan remains unwilling to face up to its past of aggression and its leader has gone so far as to pay homage at the Yasukuni Shrine where 14 Class A war criminals of World War II are honoured, and even regard war criminals as “those who had fought for the country and made ultimate sacrifices”. Japan’s attitude towards its past of militarist aggression contrasts sharply with that of Europe, which thoroughly condemned of Nazi crimes. The Japanese leader, by trying to turn back the wheel of history, is leading his country down a dangerous road. The international community needs to stay vigilant and stand firmly for human conscience and the postwar international order.
Today’s China is under a global spotlight, but the international stage belongs to all countries. China is increasingly in need of the world for its development, while the world needs China for its prosperity. Looking to 2014, countries will form a community of shared destinies in which their interests mingle and integrate more closely, while at the same time they will face still more complicated global challenges. In 2014, China will play its role as a responsible major country more effectively. Its diplomacy will display a broader global vision, an enterprising and innovative spirit and more actions to translate the principle of win-win cooperation into practice. We will respond to what the international community has expected of us with a more proactive and vigorous diplomacy and present the world with a better China. Together, we, all of us, will make our world an even better place.
The writer is foreign minister of China