Building a world of peace and prosperity
By Wang Yi (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-03-06 07:25
Building a harmonious world, the brainchild of the Chinese leadership headed by President Hu Jintao, sets a long-term goal that everyone should work together to build a world of lasting peace and common prosperity.
Such a philosophy is in response to questions raised by the international community on where China is headed.
The basis of China's foreign policy is independence, self-reliance and peaceful coexistence. This serves as the foundation for a harmonious world. It also requires every nation not to interfere in the internal affairs of others.
The philosophy involves respecting and learning from each other, and to draw on each other's merits for common development.
New elements have been added to the philosophy, such as active interaction among different countries and powers. The transition from peaceful to harmonious coexistence is the showcase of China's foreign policy that moves forward with the times.
Since 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded the country has put forward a series of important diplomatic strategies according to the international environment, and its own fundamental interests. China proposed to build a new international political and economic order, solve the problems of peace and development, promote multi-polarization in the world, the democratization of international relations, and diversity in development approaches.
I think that the harmonious world philosophy is more inclusive and progresses with the times. It comprises of values that are applicable to the whole world. The report delivered by General Secretary Hu Jintao to the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) last year proposed to promote democracy, harmony, coordination and a win-win spirit in international relations. This has made the philosophy of a harmonious world more acceptable to people outside China.
The philosophy contains the essence of traditional Chinese culture, which highlights harmony. This is the first strong signal the philosophy sends out.
The philosophy might bring a fundamental change to the doctrines on international relations practiced for hundreds of years. It could pave the way for us to develop theories on international relations under new circumstances.
The philosophy highlights a new world outlook with Chinese characteristics. Analyzing the five basic elements of a harmonious world - politics, economy, culture, security and environmental protection, Hu's report adds new elements - order, civilization and environment.
A new world outlook with Chinese characteristics is beginning to take shape.
The philosophy has heralded the beginning of China's soft power building. Both hard and soft power is needed for any nation that has a seat in the big powers' club.
At this stage of the country's development, we should make painstaking efforts to develop our soft power.
Our philosophy on building a harmonious world has been understood and accepted by an increasing number of countries and their people. It shows that we have a bigger influence in the world.
The CPC report makes clear how to build a harmonious world. It declares that China will always take the peaceful road unswervingly.
The prerequisite for a harmonious world is that all countries - big ones in particular - pursue peaceful development. Otherwise, a harmonious world is impossible.
Committing itself to peaceful development, China has made it clear to the outside world that it will not follow in the footsteps of the traditional big powers.
China's declaration should set a good example for the rest of the world, especially other big powers.
China's development in the past decades has always been peaceful, and the country is an important force in safeguarding peace in the world.
China has underlined it will adopt a mutually beneficial and win-win strategy. This is the path that leads to a harmonious world.
So far no country has declared to the world that it will pursue a win-win foreign policy as the CPC in its political doctrine.
We have done what we said we will do. The country's reform and opening up to the outside world marked the beginning of its mutually beneficial and win-win strategy.
China has paid a cost for opening to the world, but the policy has made the country's speedy growth possible and helped remove obstacles in its revitalization.
In this sense, China has the very right to talk about mutual benefits and a win-win strategy.
Also, China has moved such a strategy to a higher level, declaring it will pay attention to and support impoverished and developing countries.
In reality, the strategy has been implemented far beyond the economic sphere and has included humanitarian concerns.
China should start with its neighboring countries and regions when promoting its philosophy of building a harmonious world. It shares many common interests with these countries and regions.
One of the characteristics of a harmonious world is pursuing "harmony with differences". It means all countries with different social systems, historical and cultural backgrounds, and development modes - be they are big or small - should be respected.
The author is vice-minister of foreign affairs. The article was originally published in World Affairs magazine
(China Daily 03/06/2008 page9)