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Rise of diplomats speaks to China's global outreach

By Zhang Yunbi | China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-06 07:28
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At the annual two sessions, it is amazing to see so many career diplomats — many of whom have a high media profile and are known to the ordinary public — included among the experts serving as national political advisers.

Zhang Yunbi

As the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top political advisory body, holds its first annual session this month, political correspondents like me have been impressed when comparing the current list of committee members to previous ones due to the significant increase in participation by veteran diplomats.

Just within the CPPCC National Committee group focusing on friendship with foreign countries, there is one incumbent vice-foreign minister, two assistant foreign ministers, ambassadors based in countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom and representatives based at international and regional organizations, including the United Nations.

Also among the lineup are representatives from other agencies and departments working on foreign relations or public diplomacy, including the China International Development Cooperation Agency, a body set up in 2019 to focus on foreign assistance.

For us reporters, the lineup of diplomats registered for a five-year term at the CPPCC National Committee means more interview opportunities, comments and viewpoints to share with subscribers of print and online outlets around the world, because the lineup is more all-encompassing than ever.

Involving more officials from diplomatic missions is a part of China's systematic approach to improving foreign policy deliberation and consultation. The new lineup offers the government more options and resources when it comes to soliciting wisdom and insight as it considers expanding reform and opening-up and interacting more intensively with the rest of the world.

For the world, the list is a manifestation of China's commitment to and sincerity toward global peace and development, and will help reassure partner countries and international organizations, particularly those directly involved.

In addition, China has put forward a series of policy proposals, initiatives and blueprints over the past 12 months.

Autonomous vehicles operate on a road in Boao, Hainan province, in June, 2022. [YUAN CHEN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

This April marks the anniversary of President Xi Jinping's proposal of the Global Security Initiative at the Boao Forum for Asia.

In tandem with the Global Development Initiative — which was proposed by Xi in 2021 at the United Nations headquarters in New York — the initiatives now function like engines powering the twin global agendas of peace and development.

Last week, Beijing issued the Global Security Initiative Concept Paper to assure the world of how countries, including China, can effectively work together to reduce armed conflict, promote peaceful dialogue and tackle nontraditional security threats effectively.

"China is an important player in global affairs," Siyabonga Cwele, South Africa's ambassador to China, told me in a recent interview. "If you isolate China or if you do not involve China, there can be no sustainable peace, either."

Preparations for a new intergovernmental organization are also noteworthy. Last year, China and countries and regions including Asia, Europe and Africa signed a statement on the future establishment of the International Organization for Mediation, the world's first intergovernmental legal organization focused on mediating disputes through peaceful means.

China has played a constructive role by initiating the process of co-founding the organization with the official launch of the preparatory office in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region last month.

These fresh ideas and institutions promoted by Beijing reflect its consistency toward fulfilling its commitments through action when it comes to advancing global governance for greater peace and development.

Both initiatives are powerful tools in China's diplomatic toolbox and are expected to function in a holistic, coordinated fashion as part of its wider policy architecture.

What many partner countries have seen is a trustworthy, major developing country injecting certainty into a global landscape currently clouded by too many uncertainties.

So I for one will not miss an opportunity to talk to the diplomats at the two sessions to find out more about what China can do for the world, and how other countries can work alongside China better.

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