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Forge Ahead under the Guidance of General Secretary Xi Jinping's Thought on Diplomacy

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has, proceeding from an insightful grasp of the changing international environment and the trend of the times and standing at the forefront of world development, laid out a creative new vision and new thinking as well as new strategies for China's diplomatic work. These have formed and established General Secretary Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy. The thought provides the theoretical guidelines for China's diplomacy in the new era, and contributes China's perspectives and wisdom for reforming and improving the global governance system.

The rich connotations of General Secretary Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy

Set in the historical context of China's development and geared toward the goal of realizing the Chinese dream of national renewal, General Secretary Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy defines the guiding philosophy, basic principles, key tasks, strategies and tactics, and institutional guarantees for conducting the external work in the new era. The weighty conclusions and overall planning embodied in General Secretary Xi Jinping's thought give resounding answers to such key questions as what kind of a world China as a leading member of the international community hopes to see, what kind of international relations China expects to build, and what foreign policy serves China best in the new era and how to conduct it. Taken together, these conclusions and answers form a profound system of theories with rich connotations.

1. Charting the course for conducting major-country diplomacy with Chinese features

With keen observation of the historic changes in China's relations with the rest of the world, General Secretary Xi Jinping stresses that China must pursue a major-country diplomacy with Chinese features to fully demonstrate our distinctive vision, style and way of conducting diplomacy. We must uphold the leadership of the CPC, reinforce our confidence in the path, theories, system and culture of socialism with distinctive Chinese features, and make our own contribution to mankind's efforts to explore better social systems. We must stick to peaceful development, pursue China's development in the context of world development and forge ahead by actively engaging all countries for mutual benefit. We must work proactively to serve China's overall economic and social development by fostering enabling conditions for Chinese businesses to go global and by introducing foreign investment. Inspired by the vision of major-country diplomacy with Chinese features, we have worked with a pioneering and dauntless spirit and broken new ground in China's diplomacy and foreign relations.

2. Articulating the objective of building a community of shared future for mankind

With a keen sense of responsibility for China and for the world, General Secretary Xi Jinping has put forward the important initiative of jointly building a community of shared future for mankind, drawing a blueprint for common development and enduring peace for all mankind. General Secretary Xi Jinping first proposed to build a community of shared future in China's neighborhood. He went further to call for building such a community in Asia, and eventually put forth the proposal of building a community of shared future for mankind at the United Nations. He outlined an overarching aspiration and pathway for building this community in five dimensions, namely enduring peace, universal security, common prosperity, openness and inclusiveness, and making our world clean and beautiful. This proposal puts China's diplomacy on a moral high ground in keeping with the trend of the times.

3. Emphasizing the core principle of pursuing win-win cooperation

General Secretary Xi Jinping calls for jointly building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation. He emphasizes that one must not cling to the Cold War mentality or zero-sum game thinking since the times have changed. We must keep pace with new trends in the 21st century and follow a win-win approach in handling external relations in the political, economic, security and cultural fields. Win-win cooperation is China's answer to the question "where should the international relations go in the 21st century". It is about replacing confrontation with cooperation, monopoly with shared benefits, and offers a new perspective for all countries to jointly build a better world.

4. Exploring the pathway for fostering a global network of partnerships

General Secretary Xi Jinping believes that China needs to make as many friends as possible and build a global network of partnerships while upholding the principle of non-alignment. Such partnerships are equal, peaceful and inclusive in nature. They are not dominated by any party, or draw lines of division, still less are they directed against any imaginary enemies or third parties. Springing naturally from China's independent foreign policy of peace, these partnerships are built on a commitment to common purposes or a readiness to seek common ground while setting aside differences. They transcend the Cold War mentality of "either with us or against us" that created confrontation between opposing alliances, and present the world with a new modality for developing state-to-state relations. China has established such partnerships with some 100 countries, regions or regional organizations, blazing a new trail in relations between countries that favor dialogue over confrontation, partnership over alliance.

5. Following the right approach to justice and interests

General Secretary Xi Jinping points out that we must uphold the right approach to justice and interests in our diplomatic work: speaking up for justice politically, pursuing mutual benefit and common development economically, and acting in good faith and valuing friendship in international affairs. General Secretary Xi Jinping stresses that this principle must be upheld in our relations with neighboring countries and other developing countries. More consideration should be given to accommodating the interests of those neighboring and developing countries who have long been China's friends and face daunting development challenges. General Secretary Xi Jinping also puts forward new propositions on security, development and global governance. These propositions have further enriched the core values of China's foreign policy and received wide recognition from the international community, particularly developing countries. They have become a hallmark of the soft power of socialist China.

6. Putting forward the major initiative for Belt and Road development

To advance China's all-round opening-up and the common prosperity and progress of mankind, General Secretary Xi Jinping has put forward the major initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The Belt and Road Initiative follows the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. The initiative links up China's development with the development of other countries along the routes, and the Chinese dream with the dreams of the people in those countries. It imbues the ancient Silk Road with a new spirit of the times and offers the world a plan inspired by Oriental wisdom to achieve common development and prosperity. Under the framework of international cooperation on the Belt and Road development, the participants in this initiative have worked together, in line with the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, to seek new drivers of growth, explore new scope for development, and advance the goal of building a community of shared future for mankind.

The significance of General Secretary Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy

General Secretary Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy embodies the Marxist position, viewpoints and approaches. It is a continuation and further development of the major policies and fine traditions of the diplomacy of New China in the past 60-plus years. It has also made innovations on and transcended the traditional Western theories of international relations for the past 300 years. The thought is an essential component of the governing vision and strategy of the CPC central leadership and the guide of action for China's diplomacy in the new era.

1. Broad and profound understanding of historical trends

From the angle of historical materialism and with a deep understanding of the trend of the times, General Secretary Xi Jinping has drawn the visionary conclusions that China has never been so close to the center of the world stage, so close to fulfilling the Chinese dream of national renewal, so confident and able to realize this goal, and so inter-connected with the rest of the international community. These judgments provide effective guidance for analyzing situations and formulating policies. They require us to adopt a global perspective and grasp the underlying trend of the times in order to understand where China stands today in the broader context of the history of the Chinese nation and the shifts of global power. We should neither take rash action nor sit by and be reactive. Rather, we should boldly seize opportunities and rise to challenges to pursue our own needs and strategic objectives in line with the conditions of the Party, the country and the world.

2. Big-picture and strategic thinking

With the broad vision of a statesman and strategist, General Secretary Xi Jinping thinks and plans in big-picture terms and has personally presided over the top-level design and strategic planning of China's diplomatic work. He stresses that China must stay firmly committed to peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit and that its diplomatic work should take into account both the domestic and international situations and serve the two overarching priorities of development and security. Oriented to the recurring themes of peaceful development and national renewal, China's foreign policy should help foster a more favorable international environment for China's peaceful development and provide strong support for the realization of the two "centenary goals" and the Chinese dream of national renewal. General Secretary Xi Jinping calls for integrated planning, coordination and advancement of China's relations with major countries, neighboring countries, developing countries, and its multilateral diplomacy. Under such an approach, our diplomatic work made an impressive start and moved forward in a comprehensive and balanced way, enhancing China's strategic position in the complex and volatile international environment.

3. An enterprising and innovative spirit

With the boldness of a reformer and a trail blazer and responding to the call of the times and the needs of the people, General Secretary Xi Jinping has built on the solid foundation of the diplomatic theories and practices of New China, and put forward a series of new thoughts and practices, enriching China's fine diplomatic traditions with new progress and opening a new vista for the application of Marxism in China.

4. The dauntless spirit of a major country ready to shoulder its responsibilities

General Secretary Xi Jinping, with the vision befitting a leader of a major socialist country, has underscored China's role and contribution to world peace and development and to upholding the international order. The Chinese love their country; they also care deeply about world affairs and have a global perspective. We do all we can to assume greater international responsibilities and obligations and work with other countries to uphold what is right and just in regional and international affairs. Guided by General Secretary Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy, we have made proactive efforts to communicate China's views and exert its role in the international arena. A growing number of Chinese initiatives have become international consensus; a growing number of Chinese propositions have been translated into global actions; and a growing number of opportunities generated by China have been shared by other countries around the world.

Great achievements of General Secretary Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy

Since the 18th National Party Congress, guided by General Secretary Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy, China has forged ahead on the diplomatic front. By maintaining a favorable external environment for its development and by gaining greater standing and influence in the ever-changing world, China has blazed its own path to strength and prosperity, a path that has distinctive Chinese features and differs from the one followed by traditional powers in history. This has opened a new chapter in China's diplomacy.

1. Making China's efforts for forging a new type of international relations

We have been working to establish a framework for sound and stable relations with other major countries. General Secretary Xi Jinping met then President Barack Obama many times to bring about important outcomes in building a new model of major-country relations between China and the United States. Now with a new US administration in office, General Secretary Xi Jinping has had successful meetings with President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago and in Hamburg to set out the direction and principles for growing China-US ties in the new era, achieving a stable transition of the bilateral relations. China and Russia have maintained close high-level exchanges, deepened strategic mutual trust and made breakthroughs in practical cooperation, maintaining the strong momentum of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. China and the EU have committed themselves to building partnerships for peace, growth, reform and progress of civilizations. Cooperation between China and other BRICS countries and major developing countries has scaled new heights.

We opened up new vistas for enhancing friendship and cooperation with our neighbors. The CPC Central Committee held a meeting to make top-level design and all-round planning for neighborhood diplomacy, the first of its kind in the history of New China. In a spirit of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, China has proposed a "2+7" framework for its cooperation with ASEAN, established a Lancang-Mekong cooperation mechanism and steered its relations with ASEAN toward greater maturity. China has established strategic partnerships with all Central Asian countries and has notably increased its cooperation with South Asian countries.

We upgraded our cooperation with other developing countries. General Secretary Xi Jinping has outlined the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith in growing relations with Africa and proposed ten plans to boost cooperation with Africa, taking China-Africa cooperation to a new level. With the establishment of a strategic cooperative relationship with Arab states, a strategic partnership with Pacific island countries having diplomatic relations with China, and a five-dimensional relationship with Latin American and Caribbean countries underpinned by the China-CELAC Forum, we have put in place cooperation mechanisms covering all other developing countries.

2. Playing China's role in advancing the reform of the global governance system

With the personal commitment and guidance of General Secretary Xi Jinping, China has performed a "trilogy" with great success in the course of its participation in global governance. The three milestones are: China's hosting of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting 2014 in Beijing and the G20 Hangzhou Summit in 2016, and General Secretary Xi Jinping attending the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting and visiting the United Nations Office at Geneva early this year. China has thus played a leading role in the Asia-Pacific cooperation, the G20's transformation and the course of economic globalization, injecting strong and positive energy into a world beset by uncertainties and anxiety. China has promoted the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund and the BRICS New Development Bank, and has taken an active part in the formulation of rules governing such emerging areas as marine and polar affairs, cyberspace, nuclear security and climate change. These efforts have given China a bigger voice and greater influence in the international arena.

3. Contributing China's part to development for all

Thanks to the concerted efforts of all participants, the Belt and Road Initiative which was put forward four years ago has evolved into an open and inclusive platform for international cooperation and a warmly-received global public good. More than 100 countries and international organizations have actively supported and taken part in the initiative, and a great number of flagship projects have been launched. Substantial complementarity has been identified between the development strategy of China and those of many other countries. Between 2014 and 2016, total trade between China and other Belt and Road countries exceeded US$3 trillion, and Chinese investment in these countries surpassed US$50 billion. In May this year, China successfully hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was attended by over 1,600 delegates representing more than 140 countries and 80 international organizations. The 270-plus deliverables under 76 categories in five key areas have created a strong momentum of broad participation in the Belt and Road Initiative by the international community. The initiative has been widely commended for lending impetus to global growth and boosting confidence in economic globalization. This illustrates how a Chinese initiative, with the support from across the world, can deliver benefits to all.

4. Putting forward Chinese proposals on tackling regional and international hotspots and global issues

China's successful hosting of the events marking the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-fascist War has sent a strong message of upholding the victorious outcomes of the Second World War and safeguarding world peace. Committed to a political settlement of regional and international hotspot issues, China is playing a constructive role in bridging differences and promoting dialogues for peace. Dedicated to achieving denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, China has put forward a dual-track approach and a suspension-for-suspension proposal to advance the negotiated settlement of the Peninsula nuclear issue through dialogue. These efforts by China have made important contribution to easing tensions on the Peninsula, reviving engagement and dialogue, and maintaining peace and stability in the region. We have taken an active part in seeking solution to issues as diverse as Afghanistan, the Iranian nuclear issue, Syria and South Sudan and worked with other countries to tackle global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cyber security and refugees. By so doing, China has demonstrated its sense of responsibility as a major country.

5. Showing Chinese resolve in defending its interests and the common interests of all countries

General Secretary Xi Jinping points out that the Chinese people are not to be bullied, nor will we give in to coercion. No country should expect China to trade its core interests away or tolerate any infringement on its sovereignty, security and development interests. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee, we have drawn a clear red line on issues concerning national sovereignty, security and other core interests, and have taken firm actions to defend our rights and interests on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. With regard to the Diaoyu Islands, we have held our ground and fully demonstrated the will and resolve of the Chinese government and people to defend our territorial sovereignty. We have presented our case with sound reasoning and solid evidence against the so-called arbitration case on the South China Sea that undermines China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests and adhered to the approach of settling disputes through dialogue and negotiation between parties directly concerned, which has helped to promote general stability in the South China Sea. In an effort to safeguard national security and unity, we have unequivocally upheld the one-China principle, opposed attempts to create "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan", and fended off foreign interference in the affairs of Hong Kong and Macao. We vigorously conducted Tibet- and Xinjiang-related diplomacy and enhanced international cooperation against terrorism, separatism and extremism. Our cooperation with the international community to repatriate corrupt fugitives and recover proceeds has yielded important results.

Following the fine Chinese tradition of helping others to succeed while seeking our own success, we were the first to help the Ebola-infected African countries and their neighbors. Our offers of help also included the establishment of a one-billion-dollar China-UN Peace and Development Fund, a 20-billion-yuan South-South Climate Cooperation Fund, and an Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation. We joined the UN peacekeeping standby mechanism and formed a peacekeeping police unit and an 8,000-strong standby force for peacekeeping. We advocated the formulation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and became the first country to release its national plan on implementation. All these are global public goods provided by China to advance world peace and development.

With our future course clearly charted, we will set all out to attain even greater success. All our comrades in the foreign service must study and implement General Secretary Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy in real earnest to greet the successful convocation of the 19th Party Congress with outstanding achievements and open up new prospects for the conduct of major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features. Let us work together to make new and greater contribution to realizing the Chinese dream of national renewal and achieving lasting peace and common development of the world.

(The article was carried on the front page of Study Times on 1 September.)

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