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Nation's wisdom on foreign relations shared globally

By Harald Bruning | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-03-20 08:58
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The 90-minute news conference by veteran Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the two sessions in Beijing was a master class about foreign policy in general, and China's in particular, full of thought-provoking remarks and bon mots.

At the news conference, Wang reaffirmed Beijing's stance that "China will remain a staunch force for the peace, stability and progress of the world", based on President Xi Jinping's vision of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Wang also underlined China's ongoing external policy goal of promoting international solidarity and cooperation. He also noted that in a report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2022, Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, pointed out that "although this is an era fraught with challenges, it is also an era brimming with hope".

Based on Xi's vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, which has been enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China since 2018, China "will remain firm in pursuing its independent policy of peace, and resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty and dignity", Wang told the dozens of journalists from all over the world at the news conference.

Wang also pledged that China will continue to promote win-win cooperation and "offer more solutions with Chinese wisdom to regional hot spot and global issues, and provide more public goods in the interest of world peace and development".

With more than five millennia of recorded history, China, the world's oldest continuous civilization, has been able to collect a treasure trove of wisdom.

According to the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, wisdom is the daughter of experience. China certainly offers the world, much younger nations in particular, lots of wisdom as far as foreign relations are concerned.

"Building a community with a shared future for mankind is the core tenet of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and it is China's solution to the question of what kind of world to build and how to build it," Wang said. He also pointed out that Xi "has stressed many times that humanity lives in the same global village and travels in the same boat", because of which countries should "work together to protect the Earth, the only inhabitable planet for us all, and make it a better place".

Wang emphasized that the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind "goes beyond the obsolete zero-sum game mentality" and "points the right direction for humanity at a historical inflection point where accelerated transformation unseen in a century is unfolding across the world".

Zero-sum thinking in the political arena is the misguided belief that one side's gains can only be obtained at the expense of another side's losses. Much to the detriment of progress in international relations, the misconception continues to rear its ugly head here and there again and again.

Wang said, "The future of humanity should be decided by all countries together." Expressing both realism and optimism, he added that "the road ahead may be tortuous, but the future is bright".

The foreign minister reaffirmed the critical importance of China-United States relations to our troubled planet. "The China-US relationship is critical to the wellbeing of the two peoples, and to the future of humanity and the world," Wang said. He reiterated that Xi's three principles — mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation — are needed to put China-US ties back on an even keel.

The China-US relationship needs to be developed in a particularly wise manner, based on experience since the mid-20th century, when the two sides began to engage with each other.

Wang also insisted that "an equal multipolar world means equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal rules for every nation", because of which countries "with the bigger fist should not have the final say". And he was quick to add that "it is definitely unacceptable that certain countries must be at the table while some others can only be on the menu", a reference to remarks by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Munich Security Conference in Germany that "if you are not at the table in the international system, you are going to be on the menu".

Multipolarity with the United Nations framework is, of course, what Beijing promotes, and Wang was adamant that "multipolarity doesn't mean multiple blocs, or fragmentation, or disarray".

What China wants, Wang emphasized, is "cooperation under global governance with the UN-centered international system". He also reaffirmed that "universally beneficial globalization means growing the economic pie and sharing it more fairly", adding that "inclusive globalization means supporting countries in pursuing a development path suited to their own national conditions". Furthermore, he warned that "no one should impose one single development model onto the whole world".

That's what the West tried during hundreds of years of colonialism in what is nowadays known as the Global South. It turned out to be an utter failure and damaged or even destroyed a multitude of local economies and cultures.

Wang underlined that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. He said that the principles are a contribution by the East to the whole world and that "they are even more relevant and vibrant than ever".

The five principles, as enshrined in the Sino-Indian Agreement of 1954, are mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty; mutual nonaggression; mutual noninterference in each other's internal affairs; equality and cooperation for mutual benefit; and peaceful coexistence. Wang also reiterated China's involvement in the development of the Global South concept, which includes the Belt and Road Initiative and the growing BRICS community, its solid links with Africa and its historical connection with the UN considering that it was the first country to have signed the UN Charter.

Nearing the end of the news conference, Wang said: "My message is this: China carries out diplomacy for its people. Serving the people and meeting our compatriots' expectations is our abiding mission."

This is an apt message by one of the world's most seasoned diplomats wrapping up a news conference that offered a great deal of invaluable information and ideas about China's foreign policy as well as the current state of international relations and global governance.

The author is director of the Macau Post Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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