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Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Making Good Use of the Important Period of Strategic Opportunities and Steadily Opening up New Dimensions in China's Diplomacy

7 March 2011

2011/03/07

Recently, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi delivered a report on the current international situation and China's diplomatic work at the lecture series on "Current Hot Issues" jointly sponsored by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, the Work Committee for Offices Directly under the CPC Central Committee, the State Organs Work Committee of the CPC, the Ministry of Education, the General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army and the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee. Following are excerpts from the report which were published in the March 3rd edition of the People's Daily.

Make Good Use of the Important Period of Strategic Opportunities and Open up New Dimensions in China's Diplomacy

Report by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the Lecture Series on "Current Hot Issues" Sponsored by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and Five Other Departments (Excerpts)

At the fifth plenum of the 17th CPC Central Committee, General Secretary Hu Jintao pointed out that China is still in the important period of strategic opportunities when it is possible for us to make great achievements and that China is presented with rare historic opportunities in its development. This important strategic conclusion is of major and far-reaching significance and will guide our diplomacy under the new circumstances. It is incumbent upon us to preserve and make good use of this important period of strategic opportunities through our diplomatic work, and create a peaceful and stable international environment for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. In particular, we need to correctly handle five major questions.

1. How to perceive and get hold of the new opportunities that China faces in this important period of strategic opportunities?

The second decade of the new century is still in the important period of strategic opportunities for China's development. This major strategic conclusion is drawn from an assessment of the overall domestic and external environment and, most fundamentally, from the major development and progress China has achieved. At the same time, the new adjustment and changes in the international landscape have brought China new historic opportunities. First, the trend towards a multipolar world is more evident. Although the combined strength of developed countries will continue to put them in a dominant position for a fairly long period to come, a host of emerging countries with strong growth momentum are rising in succession, which will gradually push the international balance of power toward greater equilibrium. Second, the reform of the global economic governance mechanisms continues to deepen. The G20 summits have become the premier platform for global economic governance. The reform of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund continues to gather momentum. These are all conducive to a more just and equitable international order. Third, global economic restructuring is accelerating. Emerging industries in the fields of new energy and green economy are becoming development priorities. This will provide more favorable conditions for China to leverage its latecomer advantages and achieve leap frog development. Fourth, there is on the whole peace and stability in the world. Despite the fact that traditional and non-traditional security issues are intertwined and security challenges have become more complicated and multi-faceted, the strong interconnection of interests have made the countries of the world more willing to pursue security through cooperation. The new security concept has increasingly become the consensus of countries. Fifth, international exchanges of thoughts and ideas have become more dynamic. More and more countries are paying attention to China's development path and policy thinking, and we face a rare opportunity to enhance China's soft power. Sixth, countries are now more eager to draw on China's strengths through cooperation. To strengthen relations with China is to become an increasing and dominant trend in their policies towards China.

All in all, the development of the international situation has provided us with a golden opportunity to seize and make good use of the next ten years. That being said, we are still confronted with serious risks and challenges, foreseeable or otherwise. We must always bear in mind that China is a developing country. We must stay cool-headed in the face of this basic national reality. We must handle well diplomatic tasks and do a good job in our diplomatic work to achieve the goal of preserving and making good use of the important period of strategic opportunities.

2. How to look at the new challenges facing our diplomatic work?

In the twelfth five-year plan period, China's reform will enter a crucial stage. This will also be a time of more complex interactions and in-depth mutual adjustments between China and the world, bringing new challenges to China's diplomacy.

China's relations with various parties are experiencing a new round of adjustment and interactions. With increasingly intensified political dialogue and ever expanding business ties, new problems have emerged. The rapid pace and strong momentum of China's development has exceeded the expectation of some people, who have raised doubts about the direction of China's policy. At the same time, China's domestic politics and diplomacy are more interconnected and their influence on each other has become more evident. To uphold China's sovereignty, security and development interests remains a formidable task.

These are challenges emerged amid progress and should be addressed by strengthening cooperation and promoting common development. This is a process that China has to experience as it reaches higher stages of development. In meeting new challenges and tackling new problems, our diplomatic work will continue to move forward. We need to be more mindful of both the domestic and the international situations, correctly understand how domestic and external factors interact, think ahead and make every effort to create a favorable external environment. We must unswervingly commit ourselves to the path of peaceful development and win-win progress and strive to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.

3. How to promote external relations in all dimensions?

Under the new circumstances, China enjoys more common interests and deeper cooperation with other parties. This provides a favorable condition for us to establish a framework for external relations featuring general stability, relative balance and win-win cooperation.

During President Hu Jintao's successful state visit to the United States in January, the two presidents agreed that China and the United States would work together to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit and push forward the positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-US relationship. The two sides should promptly implement this consensus and usher in a new situation of China-US cooperation as partners.

The strategic partnership of coordination with Russia continues to make headway. The two countries deepened political trust and pragmatic cooperation and stepped up coordination regarding the reform of the international economic system as well as major international and regional hotspot issues. The two countries need to add more substance to their cooperation and further advance bilateral relations.

An all-dimensional, wide-ranging and multi-tiered pattern of cooperation has been established with the EU. The two sides should strengthen dialogue and cooperation to foster a more comprehensive and objective understanding of China in Europe and maintain the sound momentum of China-EU relations.

We highly value our relationship with neighboring countries. We are committed to becoming their friend and partner and to deepening our good-neighborly relations with them. We will take an active part in the ASEAN-China Summit, ASEAN Plus Three Summit, East Asia Summit, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other regional cooperation mechanisms. We will push for the resolution of regional hotspot issues and contribute even more to the building of a peaceful and stable regional environment featuring equality, mutual trust and win-win cooperation.

Friendly relations with other developing countries are an important foundation and valuable resource for China's diplomacy. We will carry on the fine tradition of sincerity, friendship and equality, draw on each other's strengths and conduct mutually beneficial cooperation so as to continue enhancing solidarity and cooperation with fellow developing countries.

We will actively participate in multilateral cooperation and safeguard and strengthen the central role of the United Nations in the international system. We will be an active player in the institution-building of such multilateral mechanisms as the G20 Summit and the BRICS Leaders' Meeting to work for a fairer and more equitable international order.

4. How to advance economic, security, public and cultural diplomacy to serve domestic development and stability?

During the twelfth five-year period, China will open wider to and further expand ties with the world. This means greater responsibility in our diplomatic work, as it carries out the mission of safeguarding sovereignty, security and development interests in the context of all-round opening up.

It is crucial to speed up the transformation of economic development pattern. The country that does so quickly will gain the initiative in the next 10 to 20 years. Our diplomatic work must serve such transformation in China and create good political ties to facilitate economic cooperation with other countries and the implementation of the "go global" business strategy.

We will make every effort to conduct effective security diplomacy, manage well issues related to Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang and firmly oppose any external attempt to interfere in our internal affairs. We will follow the principle of "diplomacy for the people" in our ongoing effort to evacuate Chinese nationals in Libya and continuously strengthen our consular protection ability and institution-building.

We will actively enhance China's soft power and promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges. In an age of globalization when information travels rapidly, we must update our thinking and work in an innovative and pioneering spirit to establish a public diplomacy pattern featuring participation and coordination of all parties and interaction between domestic and foreign actors, thus opening a new chapter in public diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

5. How to conduct diplomacy in a more scientific way?

To conduct effective diplomacy in the new era, we must follow the guidance of socialist theories and diplomatic theories with Chinese characteristics, apply the Scientific Outlook on Development and continuously improve our ability to run diplomacy in a scientific way.

First, we need to properly handle the relationship between scientific development and peaceful development, which are inter-related and mutually reinforcing. Only by creating a sound, peaceful international environment can we achieve scientific development, and only by pursuing scientific development can we have a brighter prospect for peaceful development.

Second, we will remain committed to the win-win strategy of opening up. We will safeguard our own national interests while accommodating the legitimate concerns of other countries. We will expand common interests with others on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and common development.

Third, we will improve our diplomatic capabilities. A coherent approach is fundamental to diplomacy under the new circumstances. We should enhance the awareness, improve the method and focus on the result of this approach to create synergy in diplomacy.

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, we face rare historical opportunities and many new difficulties and problems. With greater challenges come more onerous responsibilities and more glorious missions. We will follow the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of "Three Represents", earnestly implement the Scientific Outlook on Development and the spirit of the fifth plenum of the 17th CPC Central Committee and make new progress in our diplomatic work.

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