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Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang Addresses the 19th Annual Session of the China Development Forum

2018/03/26

On March 26, 2018, Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang is invited to address "Major-Country Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era" at the 19th Annual Session of the China Development Forum hosted by the Development Research Center of the State Council. The following is the full text:

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to be invited to this year's China Development Forum. I wish to begin by expressing, as entrusted by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and on behalf of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, warm congratulations on the opening of the Forum.

The organizer asked me to talk about "Major-Country Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era", so let me share with you a few thoughts in this connection.

President Xi Jinping declared in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. This is a new historical context for China's development and for its distinctive major-country diplomacy.

This major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era is underpinned by China's diplomatic practices since the founding of the PRC and in particular by the innovations in diplomatic theory and practice after the 18th Party Congress.

Under President Xi Jinping's guidance and instruction, China has embarked on a path of major-country diplomacy with a distinct vision, style and approach, and has advanced its diplomacy in an all-round and multifaceted way. Our diplomatic endeavors have helped create a favorable external environment for China's development and made new, significant contribution to world peace and development.

A new era calls for new missions and goals. In his report to the 19th CPC National Congress, President Xi Jinping expounded on China's diplomacy in the new era, outlining the blueprint and charting the course forward. He stressed that the new era will be an era that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contribution to mankind. The Communist Party of China strives for both the well-being of the Chinese people and for human progress. Making new and greater contribution for mankind is our Party's abiding mission. Major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era aims to foster a new type of international relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind.

The mission of Chinese diplomacy in the new era is to shoulder the responsibility of the well-being of the Chinese people and progress of mankind. To accomplish this mission, we need to work more vigorously to serve China's own development and provide strong support to the realization of the "two centenary goals" and the Chinese dream of national renewal. At the same time, we also need to be more active in our contribution to the rest of the world by promoting common development through win-win cooperation, acting as a responsible major country in international affairs, and providing more public goods to the international community to the best of our ability.

The overarching goal of this diplomacy is to foster a new type of international relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind. This objective is rooted in China's long history and culture, and reflects what we make of the realities in China and in the world.

Throughout history, the Chinese nation views the world as one big family. We believe that despite certain differences, or sometimes unavoidable frictions among countries, people across all countries belong to one big family as they live on the same planet they call home, with their dreams and futures closely linked.

As we speak, despite the phenomenal progress China has achieved in the past decades and the historic shift in the principal contradiction of its society, the reality that China remains at the primary stage of socialism has not changed, and its international status as the world's largest developing country has not changed. To secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and to develop a great modern socialist country, China needs to make persistent and harder efforts and a peaceful and stable international environment.

The world we live in today has both hopes and challenges. With the ongoing trend towards globalization and a multi-polar world and shifting dynamics in the global landscape and international situation, countries need to act together to meet challenges, and people in all countries want to live in peace and cooperation rather than turbulence and frictions. With a keen sense of justice and compassion, the Chinese people have extended selfless care and support to the countries and peoples suffering from war and turbulence, hunger and poverty, and they are always ready to make their best efforts for peace and development of mankind.

Building a new type of international relations calls for a new approach to developing state-to-state relations based on mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation. It is predicated on mutual respect, observes the norm of fairness and justice, and aims at win-win cooperation. This vision champions communication, not confrontation, and partnership, not alliance. It rejects the Cold War mentality of bloc confrontation, the old thinking of zero-sum game and the law of the jungle. It meets the shared aspiration of people across the world and echoes the call of our time. Forging a new type of international relations will pave the way for building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Building a community with a shared future for mankind, an initiative China advocates in its diplomacy in the new era, answers the important question of where the human society should go. It is to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity. This initiative transcends borders and partisan and institutional differences. It reflects the shared expectation of most countries, serves the common interests of the international community, and is therefore receiving wider recognition and support.

To achieve the vision for a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, China will continue to hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit and uphold its fundamental foreign policy goal of preserving world peace and promoting common development. China remains firm in its commitment to strengthening friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. We will stay on the path of peaceful development and a win-win strategy of opening-up. China remains firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace. We respect the choice of the people of all countries and endeavor to uphold fairness and justice. We believe that countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal. We will never seek hegemony or expansion. No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will always safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, and uphold the international order.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The new era calls for new accomplishments and spurs new progress.

- We will promote coordination and cooperation with other major countries and work to put in place a framework for major country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development. Shouldering special, important responsibilities in maintaining world peace and development, major countries must co-exist in harmony and cooperate with each other in the interest of world peace and development.

China and the United States are the largest developing and developed countries in the world respectively. Sustained, sound and steady growth of China-US relationship not only serves the fundamental interests of our two peoples, but also meets the common aspiration of the international community. Our shared interests far outweigh our differences, as evidenced by the fact our cooperation in so many areas far outweighs our competition in certain areas. China and the United States will both benefit from a harmonious relationship and lose from confrontation. China has all along valued its relationship with the United States and is ready to work for a relationship featuring no conflict or confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. It is only natural for our two countries to have disagreements. One simply cannot always blame the other side for its own problems or make fundamental mistakes of strategic misjudgment. That will hurt both sides and destabilize the world. The right thing to do is to be objective and reasonable, put oneself in the other's shoes and accommodate each other. Most importantly, both sides must strictly observe the three joint communiqués and the one-China principle, respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and resolve and manage our differences to prevent any damage to the overall interests of China-US cooperation.

The economic relationship between China and the United States is, in essence, mutually beneficial, delivering many tangible benefits to people of both countries. In the course of rapid growth of our economic cooperation, it should come as no surprise that there have been such problems as trade imbalances. Efforts ought to be made to find a mutually acceptable solution through consultation. Nevertheless, the United States has recently announced the result of the Section 301 investigation against China that it unilaterally initiated. This move is against WTO rules and the desire of the Chinese and American business communities for cooperation. China's position on this is very clear. We don't want a trade war, but we are not afraid of it. We are firmly determined and fully prepared to respond resolutely in defense of our national interests. China hopes that the US side will calm down and work with China on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit to seek a proper solution. This is a better approach for both countries and the rest of the world.

China and Russia are comprehensive strategic partners of coordination. Under the current circumstances, the role of China-Russia relationship as an anchor of international balance and strategic stability is all the more important. With the personal guidance of the two presidents, the relationship has entered its best period in history. China is ready to work with Russia to advance the bilateral cooperation across the board, take our strategic coordination to an even higher level, and see that China-Russia relations go from strength to strength.

China and Europe share extensive common interests. China has all along valued Europe's strategic standing and role. We will continue to firmly support the European integration process, enrich the strategic dimensions of the China-EU partnerships for peace, growth, reform and inter-civilization exchange, and usher in greater progress in China-Europe relations.

-We will deepen our relations with neighboring countries in line with the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendship and partnership in our neighborhood. "Having a close neighbor is more important than having a distant relative." This Chinese saying suggests how important relations with one's neighbors can be. Overall, situation in China's neighborhood is in good shape. The two major events that will be held in China this year, the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Qingdao Summit, will be good opportunities to build regional consensus on mutual support and lend new impetus to regional cooperation. This year will also mark the 15th anniversary of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership. We will use this opportunity to upgrade our cooperation with ASEAN members. Committed to both the implementation of the DOC and consultations on a COC, China stands ready to work with other regional countries to safeguard stability in the South China Sea and advance maritime cooperation. We will also push forward the negotiations on the RCEP and work for early consensus to open a new chapter in Asia-Pacific cooperation.

-We will deepen win-win cooperation with fellow developing countries in keeping with the philosophy of striking a proper balance between friendship and interests and the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, both put forward by President Xi Jinping. In complementing each others strengths and pursuing common development, China endeavors to help fellow developing countries enhance their capacity for self-generated development. Over the years, China has provided a large amount of selfless assistance to other developing countries, especially the LDCs, without any political strings attached. The assistance has met the development needs of the recipient countries and delivered real benefits to their peoples. In the past 60 years and more since China started foreign assistance, we have trained over 12 million personnel of various professions for other developing countries and sent over 600,000 professionals abroad on assistance programs. The latest State Council institutional reform plan envisages the establishment of an international development cooperation agency. Once established, it will better organize China's foreign assistance efforts and enable China to contribute even more to international development. Earlier this year, China, together with the Latin American and Caribbean countries, successfully held the China-CELAC ministerial meeting. Later this year, we will hold the FOCAC summit and a ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Through these gatherings, we will keep the cooperation mechanisms between China and the aforementioned regions relevant and vibrant.

-We will continue to advance international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) following the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. The BRI is a major step China has taken to further open itself up to the rest of the world. It is a concrete example of China's commitment to building a community with a shard future for mankind and has become an important new platform for international cooperation. To date, we have signed BRI cooperation agreements with 80-plus countries and organizations and institutionalized our production-capacity cooperation with more than 30 countries. A new landscape of opening-up under the rubric of BRI has taken shape. Looking ahead, we will deliver on the commitments made at the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), develop follow-up mechanisms, and ensure the success of key ministerial meetings to prepare the ground for a second BRF in 2019. We look forward to reaching consensus with more countries on the Belt and Road development to forge greater synergy between development strategies, complement each other with respective strengths, and deliver solid progress on key projects. By doing so, we will make the BRI a symphony of all participating countries where all can gain from cooperation and share in the dividends of China's reform and opening-up.

-We will play an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system. China's participation in global governance reform is not meant to overhaul the system or start a new structure, but to improve the current system in keeping with the times to make it more fair and equitable and to increase the representation and voice of developing countries. China maintains that issues in the world must be resolved through consultation by people of all countries and that the benefits of global governance must be shared by all countries and people of different social strata and groups. We stand for multilateralism, resolutely uphold the authority and stature of the United Nations, and support the UN in playing an active role in international affairs. We support the multilateral trading regime and will work to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. We firmly oppose protectionism in trade and investment. For emerging areas like ocean, polar regions and cyberspace, China maintains that countries should work together to establish new mechanisms, new rules and new platforms for win-win cooperation.

-We will continue to play an active role in addressing hotspot issues. There are still many regional hotspots around the world that jeopardize peace and stability. Properly resolving these issues is a shared responsibility of the international community. In recent years, China has been actively involved in the efforts to address hotspot issues, including the Iranian nuclear issue, South Sudan and Afghanistan, and become a major troop and fund contributing country of UN peacekeeping missions. Based on our experience, we have developed a Chinese approach to resolving hotspot issues, which can be summed into three words, i.e. peaceful, justifiable and constructive. To be more specific, we call for political settlement, and reject the use of force; we believe one should not meddle in others internal affairs or impose one's will on others; we do our best to be fair and objective and reject pursuing private ends. The situation on the Korean Peninsula is showing signs of de-escalation. We urge all relevant parties to seize the opportunity to advance denuclearization by showing greater sincerity for dialogue and negotiation and doing more things to facilitate positive interactions.

-We will step up efforts to better serve domestic development and protect our overseas interests. Serving domestic development is a central task of China's diplomacy, and serving the people is our abiding goal. In keeping with the new vision of development and the needs for high quality development, we will work to create more enabling conditions for external cooperation and a better international environment for domestic development. We will continue to present Chinese provinces, regions and cities to the world, help promote the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province, and make our contribution to the planning and building of the Xiongan New Area and the hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics. We will also do our share of work for winning the battle against poverty. Taking a people-centered approach, we will deepen the reform of consular work, continue to improve consular mechanisms and build a system for the safety of Chinese nationals overseas to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of overseas Chinese citizens and companies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up and kicks off the implementation of the decisions of the 19th CPC National Congress. Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we in the diplomatic service will take new steps, get on a new look and endeavor to write a whole new chapter of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, to the greater benefit of the people of China and beyond.

Confucius taught us that a helpful friend is upright, honest and knowledgeable. The China Development Forum, with the purpose of heeding the voice of the world and exploring the development path of China, has become an important window for the international community to know more of China, an important platform for exchange and mutual learning between China and the rest of the world, and an important source of friendly forces for China's reform, development and external cooperation. I am confident that this year's forum will make new contribution to enhancing the mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation between China and the rest of the world. China looks forward to strengthening exchange and cooperation with other countries to realize the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Thank you.

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