Home OPINIONS Central themes for China’s foreign affairs unveiled

Central themes for China’s foreign affairs unveiled

China’s central conference on work relating to foreign affairs was held in Beijing at the tail end of 2023. President Xi Jinping reviewed the historic achievements and valuable experience of diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

The Chinese leader also elaborated on the international environment and historical mission of China’s new and ongoing external work. The conference noted that since the 18th CPC National Congress, historic achievements have been secured, and historic changes have taken place in China’s advancing the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

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In the decade of the new era, China has opened up new prospects in major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics and gained much more strategic autonomy and initiative in diplomacy, becoming a responsible major country with enhanced international influence, stronger capacity to steer new endeavours, and greater moral appeal.

It was also pointed out at the meeting that a range of valuable experiences have been gained in the new era of Chinese diplomacy. On major issues concerning the future of humanity and the direction of the world, China must take a clear and firm position, hold the international moral high ground and, unite and rally the overwhelming majority in our world.

The meeting said China must advocate the spirit of independence, champion peaceful development, and promote global stability and prosperity. It was highlighted that on the new journey, major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics will enter a new stage where much more can be accomplished.

The conference urged greater focus on the central task of the Communist Party of China and the country, seeking progress while maintaining stability, breaking new ground while upholding fundamental principles, and firmly safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.

China will explore new frontiers in its diplomatic theory and practice, foster new dynamics in the relations between China and the world, and raise the country’s international influence, appeal and power to shape events to a new level.

It was pointed out at the conference that building a community with a shared future for mankind is the core tenet of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and it is how China proposes to solve the questions of what kind of world to build and how to build it based on its deepening understanding of the laws governing the development of human society.

The notion reflects the Chinese Communists’ worldview, perception of order and values, accords with the common aspiration of people in all countries, and points the direction for the progress of world civilizations.

In building a community with a shared future for mankind, the goal is to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and shared prosperity. The pathway is promoting global governance that features extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefit, the guiding principle is to apply the common values of humanity, and the basic underpinning lies in building a new type of international relations.

The strategic guidance comes from implementation of the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, and the platform for action is high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. It was noted that given the series of major issues and challenges facing the world today, China calls for an equal and orderly multipolar world, and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalisation.

To keep the progress toward greater multipolarity generally stable and constructive, the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter must be observed by all, the universally recognized basic norms governing international relations must be upheld by all, and true multilateralism must be practiced.

It is important to resolutely oppose the attempt to roll back globalisation and abuse the concept of security, oppose all forms of unilateralism and protectionism, firmly promote trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation, overcome the structural problems hindering the healthy development of the world economy, and make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.

The meeting stressed the need for identifying the strategic tasks of Chinese diplomacy in a more multi-dimensional and comprehensive manner. It also called on acting with a stronger sense of historical responsibility, and a more vibrant spirit of innovation.

On January 9, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi summed up six highlights of China’s diplomacy in 2023, and stressed that it was a pioneering, fruitful year for China’s diplomacy. He set out the following highlights at the opening ceremony of a symposium on the international situation and China’s diplomacy in 2023.

First, the head-of-state diplomacy was brilliant and created a new monument for major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. Second, the building of a community with a shared future for mankind was solidly advanced. Third, the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held.

Fourth, the BRICS mechanism achieved historic expansion. Fifth, the China-Central Asia Summit was successfully held. Lastly, the historic reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran was promoted.

Stephen Ndegwa
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