Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Peaceful growth the only path

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-02 07:43

Editor's note: Wu Jianmin, executive vice-chairman of the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy and former Chinese ambassador to France, summarized China's diplomacy in the past year in a recent interview with China Daily reporter Wu Jiao. Excerpts from the interview follow:

Q1: How would you summarize the characteristics of China's diplomacy in the past year and what were the highlights?

A: China's diplomacy has displayed three major characteristics since the new leadership took office.

First, it is multidimensional diplomacy. There are four aspects to the country's diplomacy: its relationships with major powers, neighboring countries and developing nations and its multilateral diplomacy. President Xi Jinping has been active in all these four areas.

The second characteristic is that the country will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, and President Xi has made this strategy quite clear through his speeches and conversations with foreign guests on various occasions.

The third characteristic is that China has given more importance to its relationship with its neighbors.

I think China's diplomacy over the past year was dynamic.

Q2: Why are so many people across the world are so concerned about China?

A: Chinese people should realize that the concerns of some countries, especially our neighbors, have reached an unprecedented level, and the reasons are various.

There are few people in the world who really know about China, and the number who specialize in China and Chinese policies is even smaller.

Most people tend to judge China by the expansion model of the colonial powers and the former Soviet Union, and prejudice against the Communist Party would not end in a short time.

China has its own vocabulary and jargons. When China explains its behavior, it is sometimes difficult for foreigners to understand. Moreover, China is becoming a pluralistic society where there are different voices and ideas. Foreigners have a hard time in telling which one represents China.

Q3: Why should China follow the path of peaceful development?

A: We have entered an era whose theme is peace and development. There is a powerful mega-trend of peace, development, cooperation and win-win results. This is the trend of our time. Any country that dares to counter this trend and wage a war will decline. Peaceful development is the only path to progress and prosperity. China has followed successfully this path over the past three decades. We'll stick to this path.

Q4: How should China deal with the challenges in its neighborhood?

A: Human history has never seen the rise of a country with 1.3 billion people before. China's growth is bound to break the existing pattern of interests, so frictions with its neighbors are, as a result, inevitable.

The US, the only superpower in the world today, announced its pivot to the Asia-Pacific region. China's neighbors, of course, have to strike a balance between the major powers.

China's diplomatic relations with neighboring countries should be considered in the context of the global landscape. I think there are three centers in the world. Europe will remain the center of the financial crisis in the coming years. No prospect of a resolution has appeared in the conflict-ridden Middle East and Northern Africa, which is the center of conflict, confrontation, turbulence and regional war, and has consumed much international communities' time, energy and resources.

However, global economic growth is centered on Asia, especially China and East Asia. The whole world needs to maintain Asia as the global growth center. And no country will make a policy to break the rise of Asia. No one will shoot himself in the foot.

China should manage and control the current frictions with its neighbors.

The approach Deng Xiaoping advocated is to "leave aside the dispute and seek the joint development". This is the best way to defuse territorial disputes and achieve win-win results. I'm happy to notice the progress we made last year with our neighbors along this path. Deng Xiaoping's approach remains the policy of the Chinese government.

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