The year of 2018 was the first year of implementing the principles set forth at the 19th National Congress of the CPC. Summing up great achievements and valuable experiences from 40 years of reform and opening up, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has remained committed to bolstering reform and opening wider to the outside world, and has led people of all China’s ethnic groups on a march toward achieving the Two Centenary Goals.
The past year was also a year of extraordinary achievements for China’s diplomatic initiatives. In June, the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs was successfully convened, during which the guiding position of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy was established. This is one of the most major advances in foreign diplomacy theory since the founding of the People’s Republic of China and is of epoch-making significance; it charts a course for China’s major-country diplomacy in the new era and provides us with a fundamental guideline. Under the correct guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, we calmly responded to complex and profound changes in the international situation and appropriately managed consequent new difficulties and challenges, firmly safeguarded national interests, deepened friendly cooperation, and actively assumed the role of a responsible major country. Through these actions, China achieved a series of major developments and outcomes in its diplomatic work.
diplomatic event hosting in China has taken on a new look.
From the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference early in the year to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, and from the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to the China International Import Expo (CIIE), we held four diplomatic events, each with its own distinguishing features and all mutually complementary. As vibrant real-world actions toward jointly building a community with a shared future for humanity, these events displayed the great forward momentum of China’s major-country diplomacy in the new era. At the BFA Annual Conference we adopted a main theme of reform and opening up, introducing China’s major measures for furthering reform and opening wider in the new era and displaying our more open stance and responsibility as a major country in working together with the rest of the world to create a better tomorrow. Carrying forward the Shanghai Spirit was the main theme of the SCO Qingdao Summit, at which we set new records in scale, level, and outcomes, and voiced our strong determination to jointly build a community with a shared future for humanity. The defining theme of the FOCAC Beijing Summit was solidarity and cooperation. At the summit, China and African countries introduced some 100 cooperation measures organized around eight major initiatives, and strongly signaled to the rest of the world their intention to join hands for common progress, thus representing a historical milestone for China-Africa solidarity, cooperation, and shared development. Adorning a theme of cooperation and mutual benefit, the first ever CIIE attracted participants from 172 countries, regions, and international organizations, with over 3,600 foreign companies setting up booths and the volume of business nearing US$60 billion. This fully demonstrates China’s determination to protect global free trade and our sincere desire to open our markets and share our development opportunities with other countries.
the Belt and road initiative (Bri) has started on a new course.
The CPC Central Committee convened a symposium marking the fifth anniversary of the BRI, at which General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered an important address. Summing up cooperation outcomes and successful experiences, the conference raised the bar for the next stage of BRI development and pointed the way forward. Using the implementation of the principles of Xi Jinping’s speech as an opportunity, we continued to deepen and consolidate the work to jointly develop the BRI. The year 2018 saw another wave of more than 60 countries and international organizations signing cooperation agreements concerning the BRI, bringing the total number to almost 170. With the support of all parties, the spirit of the BRI has been incorporated into the outcome documents of major international institutions, including the United Nations, FOCAC, SCO, and the Asia-Europe Meeting. Steady progress was made in a series of landmark projects, such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the China-Laos,China-Thailand, and Hungary-Serbia railways, and the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway. Several developed countries showed initiative in launching trilateral cooperation with China, and an international commercial dispute settlement mechanism was established for the BRI. Owing to five years of effort in laying the foundation and establishing the framework, the achievements of the BRI have grown in number and it has become increasingly popular, paving a broader path for the bright and extensive prospects of the initiative.
new progress has been made in building major-country relations.
The China-US relationship captures global attention and affects the interests of many other countries. In the face of a negative trend of events, including trade frictions provoked by the US, China withstood pressure and maintained resolve, not only firmly safeguarding our legitimate rights and interests, but also stabilizing the overall state of China-US relations. At the end of 2018, President Xi Jinping met with President Trump during the G20 Summit. In an in-depth strategic discussion, the two presidents agreed to promote a China-US relationship defined by coordination, cooperation, and stability. Plans also emerged from this discussion charting the resolution for existing issues between our two countries and promoting the healthy development of China-US relations. The two sides engaged in constructive talks on economic and trade issues, thus preventing further escalation of trade frictions and returning these disputes to the track of settlement through dialogue and consultation. By defining a common goal of mutually beneficial cooperation, the two sides broadcasted their positive expectations to the rest of the world. The China-Russia comprehensive strategic collaborative partnership continued to develop at a high level. Holding four meetings and exchanging mutual visits to each other’s country, the two presidents drew up a new blueprint for the development of relations between China and Russia. With the smooth implementation of strategic cooperative projects, ever-increasing internal momentum for cooperation, and deepening international strategic collaboration, China and Russia have strengthened world stability. Using the 15th anniversary of the establishment of their comprehensive strategic partnership as an opportunity, China and the European Union strengthened their cooperation across the board, deepened and expanded their trade cooperation, and forged closer bonds of interest. The two sides have reached broad consensus and spoken actively in support of multilateralism and free trade, and addressing global challenges together.
We made new breakthroughs in China’s neighborhood diplomacy. With one solid performance after another in building relations with neighboring countries in 2018, China’s surrounding environment is becoming increasingly favorable. The first unofficial meeting between Chinese and Indian leaders was highly successful, increasing trust and under-standing between our two countries and leading China-India relations onto a track of healthy and stable development. In response to the strong will of the Japanese side to improve relations with China, a series of high-level exchanges were launched, putting China-Japan relations back on track. Chinese and DPRK leaders met three times in 2018, pouring new vitality into the traditional friendship between our two countries. China-South Korea relations have taken on a positive new look, while the trilateral cooperation of China, Japan and South Korea resumed positive momentum. President Xi Jinping visited Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines, while Premier Li Keqiang attended the East Asian Leaders’ Meetings on Cooperation. China-ASEAN relations were upgraded, and the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation evolved from the stage of cultivation to that of mature development. Discussions on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea entered the fast lane, while maritime cooperation made new progress; the situation in the South China Sea is stabilizing as a result. Guided by high-level exchanges, with the SCO as our platform and pragmatic cooperation binding us together, Chinese relations with Central Asian countries have entered a new phase, one that is arranged around a deeper level of partnership.
south-south cooperation was elevated to a new level.
It may be said that 2018 was “the year of South-South cooperation” in China’s foreign relations. The China-CELAC Forum, China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation were held successively; we now enjoy established mechanisms for collective dialogue with most developing countries. In his first overseas trip of 2018, President Xi Jinping visited the UAE, Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa, and Mauritius, strengthening China’s solidarity and cooperation with the Middle East and African countries. The president’s visits to Argentina and Panama at the end of the year provided guidance for the development of China’s relations with Latin American countries in the new era. President Xi also attended the BRICS Leaders’ Meeting in Johannesburg, where a blueprint was jointly drafted for future cooperation. The president also met in Papua New Guinea with leaders from the Pacific Island countries that have diplomatic ties with China, beginning a new chapter of relations. Over the past year, our diplomatic activities have strongly promoted friendship and cooperation between China and other developing countries, opening up new prospects for working together to realize shared development.
We assumed greater responsibility in global governance.
Facing the spread of protectionism and anti-globalization, China stands firmly on the right side of history for development and progress. Committed to building a community with a shared future for humanity, China resolutely defends multilateralism and free trade and promotes a more just and equitable direction of devel-opment for the global governance system, becoming an important source of stability in a very unstable world. At events such as the G20 Summit, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, and the BRICS Summit, President Xi Jinping unequivocally expressed opposition against protectionism and unilateralism. The president called for upholding the international order and system founded on the tenets and principles of the UN Charter, and for safeguarding the rules-based multilateral free trade system, thus guiding the summit meetings to generate a series of innovative and institutional outcomes to lead the world forward. These actions demonstrate that China is a responsible major country able to shoulder heavy burdens and instill positive energy into a highly uncertain global environment.
We contributed to the development of world peace.
Last year saw a turnaround in the situation on the Korean Peninsula, while the US-North Korea summit in Singapore broke the impasse with regard to the nuclear issue. This achievement was the result of hard efforts from all parties, in which China played a constructive role. We encouraged the North and the South to seize the opportunity to improve their relations and pushed for the US and DPRK to begin the resolution process based on common goals. Meanwhile, we continued to call for the simultaneous denuclearization of the Peninsula and establishment of a peace mechanism there, with the ultimate aim of lasting stability and peace. While the US unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the Iran nuclear issue, China and various other parties resolutely upheld its effectiveness, clearly expressing our standpoint of preserving the JCPOA and opposing unilateral sanctions. China proposed a three-phase approach to the issue regarding Myanmar’s Rakhine State, and held two informal trilateral meetings with Myanmar and Bangladesh to facilitate their reaching a consensus of principles on the returning of displaced persons. China also continued to actively participate in the resolution process for the issues regarding Afghanistan, northern Myanmar, Syria, and Palestine, making great efforts for world peace and justice.
We accomplished new outcomes in safeguarding national rights and interests.
In 2018, China established or restored diplomatic relations with Dominica Republic, El Salvador, and Burkina Faso, further winning international support for the One-China Policy. We resolutely opposed foreign intervention in Hong Kong and Macao affairs, initiated diplomatic activities concerning Tibet and Xinjiang, and boosted cooperation in the fields of counterterrorism and law enforcement security. We rigorously installed procedures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens traveling overseas, worked on legislation concerning consular protection and assistance, and stepped up preventive consular protection for the most vulnerable Chinese people abroad, including tourists, students, and employees of overseas companies. In order to further facilitate the flow of travel for both Chinese and non-Chinese people, and improve the public availability of consular services, we launched “Foreign Ministry 12308” mobile phone app, and greatly lowered the fees for consular authentication of documents for Chinese citizens. In an effort to support opening up and development of China’s local regions, we held global promotion activities for five provinces and the Xiongan New Area, Hebei Province.
Looking back over the past year, we are fully aware that our effective responses to new issues and challenges and the brilliant outcomes in our diplomatic work are fundamentally due to the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core, the sound guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and the correct blueprint and clear direction mapped out at the 19th National Congress of the CPC.
The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of both the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the beginning of its diplomatic work. With commitment to our original aspiration, we willingly shoulder our mission. We will continue to deeply study Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and thoroughly review the glorious journey and valuable experiences of China’s diplomacy. By doing so, we will not only carry forward the fine traditions and distinguished features of our diplomatic initiatives, but also write a new chapter for China’s ma-jor-country diplomacy in the new era.
We will expend great effort to ensure the success of the second Belt and road forum for international Cooperation (BrfiC).
This will be the most important international diplomatic event hosted by China in 2019 and also a major milestone marking a new stage in the Belt and Road Initiative. We will solidly push forward all preparatory work, focus on project implementation, policy interlinkage, and the development of mechanisms, attain a higher level of consensus, and expand the scale of outcomes, so as to improve the quality, standard, and performance of BRI projects. We will further refine the details of the BRI on the basis of the excellent established framework with a view to inject vitality into all countries’ efforts to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation and achieve common prosperity. We also plan to successfully hold the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), continue to open up China, and make concrete efforts to advance the establishment of an open world economy. We will work together with all other countries of the world to expand common interests and share opportunities through openness and cooperation.
We will continue to develop China’s network of global partnerships.
China has established partnerships in many forms with 109 countries, regions, and organizations on the basis of equality, peace, and tolerance. The next step is to increase the value of our partnerships, thus increasing the drive to foster a new type of international relations and firming up the foundation for building a community with a shared future for humanity. We are willing to work with the US to implement the important consensus reached between the leaders of China and the United States, and promote a China-US relationship defined by coordination, cooperation, and stability, a relationship of no-conflict or no-confrontation, that enjoys mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation. Seizing the opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, we will comprehensively enhance high level China-Russia strategic collaboration. We will work with European countries to uphold multilateralism and improve global governance. We will strengthen political trust, pragmatic cooperation, and the integration of shared interests with neighboring countries. We will deliver on the agreed outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, and the Ministerial Meeting of the China-CELAC Forum, and jointly build a community with a shared future for all developing countries.
We will continue to firmly safeguard world peace and stability.
We will adopt a Chinese approach to resolving hot-spot issues, and in order to address these issues in both international and regional contexts we will give full play to our role in contributing a Chinese solution. We will fully implement the resolutions of the UN Security Council on the Korean issue, while pushing the US, DPRK, and other parties concerned to find a dual-track approach moving forward, so as to achieve denuclearization of the Peninsula and the establishment of a permanent peace mechanism as soon as possible. We will also join hands with the rest of the international community to uphold the JCPOA, actively mediate in the Rakhine situation, and work for the resolution of the Afghanistan and Palestine flashpoints as well as other issues.
We will take an active part in shaping global governance.
Remaining committed to a global governance philosophy featuring consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, we firmly uphold multilateralism, defend a rules-based international order, support strengthening the status of the UN system as a key platform of global governance, and support necessary reform and improvement of the WTO in line with its core values and fundamental principles. We also stand ready to strengthen cooperation with all parties within such frameworks as the G20, APEC, the SCO, and BRICS, jointly advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and push for the Paris Agreement to come into force.
We will take greater initiative in serving China’s domestic agenda of reform and development.
The year 2019 is a crucial year for China to achieve comprehensive poverty alleviation by 2020, and reach its first centenary goal of securing moderate prosperity throughout society by 2021. Focusing on the broader picture of domestic development, we will properly defuse the various risks and challenges and spare no effort in creating an overall favorable external environment. We will give full play to diplomatic advantages and mobilize our diplomatic resources to explore diversified overseas markets. We will continue to launch global outreach promotional activities for Chinese provinces and cities, and attend to major tasks such as the planning and construction of the Xiongan New Area and hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2022. We will steadily advance dedicated support to poverty-stricken areas, thus making a determined contribution to the fight against poverty.
When the road becomes hard, we must become brave. A global perspective shows us that despite the incessant rise of uncertainties and destabilizing factors, the trends of world peace and cooperation cannot be reversed. Similarly, China has taken steadfast and clear-cut steps toward its own development and rejuvenation. We will unite closely around the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core and follow the correct guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. We will remain confident and tenacious, and will not be intimidated by risks or hindered by difficulties. We will walk a new path for China’s diplomacy in the new era, create new prospects for China’s major-country diplomacy, and make a greater contribution to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and to peace and development for humanity.
Wang Yi is State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China.
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 1, 2019)