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New era in global diplomacy

By Chen Xiangyang | China Daily | Updated: 2013-12-24 07:16

Multi-pivot diplomatic strategy marks significant strides toward the realization of the Chinese Dream

China's new leadership has been pressing ahead by taking several new measures, putting forward new ideas, and crafting a new image by rolling out a multi-pivot diplomatic strategy.

The multi-pivot diplomatic strategy has been of special interest in recent months. During his first overseas trip, after assuming office, to Russia in March, President Xi Jinping held extensive discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin on how to advance the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. China and Russia are each other's biggest neighbors and hence important strategic partners for coordination. By issuing a joint statement that emphasizes firm support for each other's core interests like sovereignty, territorial integrity and security issues, the two sides have set an excellent example on how to deepen trust and cooperation in the new era.

In June, Xi and his US counterpart Barack Obama during discussions at the Annenberg Estate in Rancho Mirage, California, United States, agreed to create a new major-power relationship model for China and the US. The core elements of the new model, as Xi elaborated, are no conflict or no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

The new relationship between the two major powers is also expected to end the zero-sum game scenario, something that could ultimately lead to conflict or even war. The groundbreaking and strategic initiative charted by the new Chinese leadership is expected to set the tone for the extremely important but complicated China-US ties.

Diplomacy with neighboring countries has also been receiving paramount importance in China's diplomatic initiatives. Xi paid state visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in September and attended the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, which opened a new chapter in China's relations with the four Central Asian countries. Stressing on the need for enhanced cooperation to thwart the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, Xi called for the creation of a Silk Road economic belt to realize the full potential of Eurasian economic cooperation.

During his maiden trip to Southeast Asia in October, Xi stressed on the need for a more closely knit China-ASEAN community with a shared destiny so that it can bring more benefits to both China and ASEAN and to the people in the region.

In October, a high-level conference on the diplomatic work in neighboring countries was held in Beijing, which elaborated China's peripheral strategy for the next decade. Xi put forth a three-pronged strategic layout for the country's peripheral diplomacy: China will work with its neighbors to hasten regional interconnectivity, establish an Asian investment bank for infrastructure construction and accelerate establishment of free trade zones; advance regional security cooperation on the basis of the new outlook on security, featuring mutual trust, reciprocity, equality and coordination, and enhance cooperation mechanisms and strategic mutual trust; enhance public diplomacy and people-to-people exchanges between China and neighbors for the long-term development of relationships.

Diplomatic overtures aside, China has also been active in safeguarding its legitimate rights and interests and the Asia-Pacific peaceful order established after World War II. The provocative actions by the Japanese government over the Diaoyu Islands dispute have been countered by tit-for-tat responses along with the new air defense identification zone in the East China Sea. Contrary to Philippines' efforts to stoke tensions in the South China Sea, China has been proactive in keeping the humanitarian spirit alive in the region through its speedy responses to the people affected by the super typhoon Haiyan, or Swallow, in the Philippines.

China's diplomatic ties with developing countries has not only been strengthened, but also upgraded. Xi paid state visits to Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of the Congo in March and Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico before attending the Sino-American presidential meeting in California in June. Xi said China will vigorously uphold a new concept of morality and interests by putting morality before interests and continue to promote common development of the developing world and increase assistance to other developing countries, least developed ones in particular, without attaching any conditions so that they can achieve independent and sustainable development.

China has also laid equal emphasis on enhancing strategic coordination and practical cooperation with emerging countries, sending to the international community a positive message of unity, cooperation and win-win results. In March, Xi attended the fifth meeting between the leaders of the BRICS countries in Durban, South Africa, and delivered a keynote speech, expressing confidence at the prospect of greater cooperation among the world's leading emerging economic powers. BRICS leaders also agreed to establish a new development bank and create a Contingent Reserve Arrangement with an initial size of $100 billion.

Multilateral diplomacy also produced fruitful achievements in terms of global economic governance and regional cooperation. Xi attended the 8th G20 Leaders' Summit held in St. Petersburg, Russia in September and in his address said that all countries should take a long view and strive to shape a world economy, where all countries enjoy development and innovation, growth linkage, and interests integration, firmly maintain and develop an open world economy, build a closer economic partnership, and shoulder the due responsibilities. He stressed that G20 members should oppose all forms of protectionism, maintain a free, open and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, and improve the global investment rules, guiding the rational flow of capital in global development.

Xi also attended the 21st APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Bali, Indonesia in October, adding that the APEC is moving into a new development period, and should strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, maintain the stability of Asia-Pacific economy and finance, promote Asia-Pacific economic integration, and maintain and develop an open world economy.

Looking into the future, China's multi-pivot diplomacy shoulders heavy responsibilities and still faces challenges in neighboring regions, including Japan's right-leaning and aggressive politics, uncertainties on the Korean Peninsula, and the volatile situation in Afghanistan in the "post-withdrawal era". China's diplomacy in the new era will exercise a combination of both stability and flexibility, go ahead steadily and surely and make new achievements on the road toward the realization of the Chinese Dream.

The author is deputy director of World Politics Research Institute, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

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