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Keynote Speech by Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng <br>At the Opening Ceremony of <br>2021 Understanding China Conference (Guangzhou)

2021-12-02 19:22

Guangzhou, 2 December 2021

Chairman Zheng Bijian,
Vice Minister Lv Yansong,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to meet friends old and new in Guangzhou, the city of flowers. The Understanding China Conference, now in its fifth year, provides aforum forChinese and foreign participants to renew friendship and promote cooperation, and contribute their ideas and expertiseto enhancing mutual understanding and trust between China and the world.

In his video address, President Xi Jinping stressed that to understand China today, one must strive to understand the Communist Party of China (CPC). TheCPC celebrates its centenary this year. This is a particularly important time for discussing“Whence and Whither—Unprecedented Changes in the World and China and the CPC”,the theme of this conference.

In this connection, I bring the warm congratulations of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the Chinese Foreign Ministry. We wish your conference a complete success.

Three weeks ago, the CPC held the sixth Plenary Session of its 19th Central Committee. The plenary summed up the major achievements and historical experience of the Party over the past century, andlooked back on the great efforts the Party has madefor the happiness of the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It alsoreviewed the dedicated efforts and valuable ideas the Party has contributed to world peace, development and human progress.

History is a mirror through which we can better understand the future. Under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people have set outconfidently on a new journey toward realizing the Second Centenary Goal and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

Diplomacy is an important part of the Party’s lofty cause and epic struggle. Under the strongleadership of the CPC Central Committee, China's diplomacy has traveled an extraordinary journey against great odds. Since the 18th Party Congress in 2012, General Secretary Xi Jinping has kept global and domestic developments in mind and provided overall leadership for the conduct of Chinese diplomacy. By carrying forward our fine diplomatic traditions and breaking new ground in practice, we have forged anunyielding spirit and unique style in diplomacy, and opened up new horizons inmajor-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

In this context, let me share with you four watchwords for understanding China's foreign policy in the new era:

The first watchword is independence.This is thecornerstone of China's diplomacy.

Ancient Chinese philosophers observed that “as heaven maintains vigor through constant movement, a gentleman should continually strive for self-perfection”. In international affairs, China determines its position and policy based on the fundamental interests of the people both in China and around the world, and on the merits of the issue. China never subordinates itself to others or coerces others into submission. China never provokes trouble, but is not afraid of provocation. Even in a complex and challenging international situation, and faced with external pressure and bullying, China never flinches or bends its knees.

We always think on our own, follow our own path and keep our destiny in our own hands. We never stand down when it comes toprotecting our sovereignty, security and development interest. We never trade away our principles. This approach has earned us international understanding and respect; it has also boosted the confidence and courage of other countries and nations that wish to maintain their independence.

In recent months, a disturbing trend may have caught your attention. Some forces in certain countries are trying to contain China by playingthe “Taiwan card”. Publicly and covertly,they are encouraging separatist forces on the island to challenge the red line of “one China”. Let me make this very clear: the one-China principle is the political foundation of China's relations with other countries. It is also theshared consensus, firmposition and common will of the international community. The principle is not to be distorted or altered, still less overturned. On issues concerning China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, we have no room for compromise. No one should ever expect China toaccept any damage to its core interests.

The second watchword is peaceful development.This is the defining feature of China's diplomacy.

Amity and good-neighborliness are invaluable to a country. China’s development has only one goal: to deliver a better life for our people. China is committed to the path of peaceful development. It is developing itself by securing a peaceful global environment and, at the same time, contributing to world peace with its own development.

Some people, though, keep peddling the theory that a rising power is bound to seek global hegemony. They are judging others based on their own experience. What they are doing only lays bare their hegemonic habit and twistedmentality. If history is any guide, itis that a hegemonic country invariably goes into decline. So no matter what stage of development China reaches, it will never seek hegemony or territorialexpansion, or export its ideology.

The third watchword is win-win cooperation.This is the guiding principle of China's diplomacy.

As a Chinese proverb goes, “When people are united with one heart and one mind, success is assured.” Seeing its development as part of the global development, China has opened up to the world in pursuit of common interests and shared opportunities with the worldthrough cooperation. We are committed to upholding the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its heart, and to making economic globalizationmore open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all.

In our view, people who share the same goal can become friends, and peoplewho seek common ground despite their differences can be partners. China has recently put forward a Global Development Initiative. It is designed to foster more robust, greener and more balanced global development andmake bigger the pie of mutually beneficial cooperation.

The fourth watchword is fairness and justice. This is the aspiration of China's diplomacy.

Ancient Chinese philosophy teaches us to “both strengthen ourselves and help others where possible”. China is always on the side of human progress. We try to do our best for the world, and contribute Chinese wisdom, initiative and resources to help solve global problems. In the spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, we believe that global affairs should be discussed by all. We are committed to increasing the representation and voice of developing countries, advancing democracy and rule of law in international relations, and fostering a new type of international relations.

We stand for true multilateralism, and oppose the creation of exclusiveblocs or“a new Cold War”.We are committed to safeguarding the international system that centers around the United Nations, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms governing international relations in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

Our approach is different from some country, which refuses to face and address its own human rights record, and tries instead to pose as an advocate and judge of human rights around the world. As a most recent example, it will convene a so-called “summit for democracy”. People cannot help but wonder: who has given it such mandate? And on what ground can it decide for the over 200 countries and regions in the world? A summit like this is anything but democratic. It is a clear act of hegemony, a futile bluff, a pretext for deflecting attention from its domestic problems, and a tool to serve its geopolitical agenda. The summit will only create new divisions and fuel ideological confrontation, and bring turbulence and instability to the world. The international community must be clear-eyed and say no to this sham.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since the 18th Party Congress in 2012, President Xi Jinping has showna keenunderstanding of the global trends and dynamics and kept the common good of humanity in mind. He has called for building a community with a shared future for mankind, which set the direction and goal for China's diplomacy in the new era.

President Xi's vision is based on the recognition that humanity is an integral community and Earth is our common homeland. No person or country can thrive in isolation. That is why we need to live in peace and can only prosper together. To build a community with a shared future for mankind, all countries must rise above their differences in history, culture, ethnicity, religion and social system, and promote peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are common values of humanity. We must make the best possible efforts to meet the shared aspirations of people around the world for a better life, and work together topreserve the planet Earth, the one and only home we have.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Two weeks ago, President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden had a candid, in-depth and productive virtual meeting and charted the course of China-US relations at a crucial moment. With the future of this important relationship in mind, President Xi set forth the right way for China and the United States to get along in the new era, namely mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. To be specific, mutual respect is the precondition for interactions between countries, peaceful coexistence is the only choice available tothe two countries, and win-win cooperation is the surest path to better China-US relations. President Xi also laid out four priority areas where China and the US should, need to and can work together for the benefit of both countries and the world at large.

It is our hope that the United Stateswill work with China toact on the common understandingand strategic guidance of our presidents, and bring China-US relations back to thetrack of sound and steady growth. This will provide reassurance to our two peoples and set the rest of the world at ease.  

In closing, I wish your conference a full success!

Thank you!

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