Source: Global Times Published: 2019-9-23
The People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), published an article written by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday which summarized China's diplomatic achievements in the 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, and also introduced China's diplomatic goals in the new era.
Wang said the Chinese nation has achieved a tremendous transformation in the past 70 years - it has stood up, grown rich, and is becoming strong, and China has also continuously made significant contributions to the world.
"In the past 70 years, the diplomacy of the new China, as an important part of the new China's development process, has promoted the historic turn for the destiny of the Chinese nation and also realized the historic change in relations between China and the world," Wang said.
He wrote in the article that "Especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core…the major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era."
Jin Canrong, associate dean of Renmin University of China's School of International Studies, said "stood up, grown rich, and is becoming strong" means three periods that modern China has experienced in its journey - fighting for survival, realizing development and seeking dignity.
In the new era, China's diplomacy will undergo some major changes to serve the new mission, Jin noted. "China can no longer keep a low profile and will act more decisively since its strength and economic size provide new conditions to use different approaches to deal with others."
"China used to be more reactive in diplomacy, waiting for the US to take the lead and propose initiatives, and then react to US moves. But China's style has started to change from being reactive to proactive," Jin said.
The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative is an example of this, Chinese experts noted, and they believe this is probably the first time that a China-proposed initiative will have a huge global influence closely related to many countries' future development, and significantly reform the unbalanced West-led globalization.
"Unfortunately our US friends find our new style assertive, even aggressive. But if we give them some time, they will probably get used to it," Jin said.
Clifford A. Kiracofe, an educator and former senior professional staff member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, told the Global Times "China's realistic and constructive diplomacy has focused quite successfully on peace and development. China's leadership astutely and prudently manages foreign relations and staunchly defends China's core interests."
"The so-called China Threat theory was adopted by Western politicians to hide their own countries' shortcomings and to mask Western imperialism, particularly Washington's obsessive hegemonism," Kiracofe said.
Danilo Türk, former Slovenian president, told the Global Times in an email on Monday that "Ever since the establishment of the People's Republic, China was understood as the great power of the world which will sooner or later have a decisive influence on global development. This has started to materialize, in a very visible way, in the era of opening up and reforms of China."
Success of this policy was spectacular - at the global level, success of the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) was to a large extent a result of development of China, he said.
At present China is an ever more important actor in all issues of international peace, security and development. In the future the role of China will be decisive for the success in overcoming the dramatic threat of climate change. This is a challenge of existential importance for the world and a worthy priority for China, Türk noted.
In an address at the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs in Beijing on June 22 and 23, 2018, Chinese President Xi called for efforts to break new ground in major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, with the guidance of the thought on diplomacy of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.
Xi stressed the importance of keeping in mind internal and international imperatives, focusing on realizing the Chinese nation's rejuvenation, promoting human progress, and making contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for humanity, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Wang said in his article that the CPC leadership is the soul of China's diplomacy and also the fundamental political guarantee of the major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.
Lü Xiang, an expert on China-US relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said another crucial difference between major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics and other major countries' diplomacies is that China has never used its power to build political or military alliances, or seek a sphere of influence.
During the Cold War, the US and the Soviet Union used their power to build alliances and engage in competition, arm races and proxy wars, which is the traditional great power diplomacy, Lü noted.
But China only builds inclusive partnerships with other countries rather than exclusive military or ideological alliances, and implements innovative ideas to foster a new type of international relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind, he said.
At the June 2018 meeting, Xi also urged efforts to firmly safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests, take an active part in leading the reform of the global governance system, and build a more complete network of global partnerships.
Lü said that now China faces an unprecedented situation in which "we and the US are becoming two superpowers which are getting much more powerful than other countries, building a win-win relationship with the US is a challenge, because it is hard to make the US accept superpower coexistence."
Danilo Türk was president of the Republic of Slovenia from 2007 to 2012. He is currently a nonresident senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. Jin Canrong is associate dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China.