On 8 December 2019, The Sunday Telegraph carried an article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled “China will play a full part to form open world economy”. The newspaper’s website published the article under the title “China is not interested in the competition of ideologies”. The full text is as follows:
China Will Play a Full Part to Form Open World Economy
Recent articles by some Western officials and scholars have labeled China as an even greater security risk and called for Nato members to unite against China. I would like to emphasise the following three points to clear unnecessary misunderstanding and unwarranted concern.
First, China is committed to the path of peaceful development and does not threaten anyone. The 2,500-year-old masterpiece The Art of War opens with these words: “War is the gravest decision a State can make. It is a matter of life and death, a road to either safety or ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.” The essence of this quotation is that one should be prudent on military affairs and try to avoid wars. For thousands of years, peace has become part of the genes of the Chinese nation.
The development of New China from an impoverished country at its founding 70 years ago to the world’s second largest economy is achieved thanks to the diligence, wisdom and hard work of the Chinese people as well as the peace and stability of the world as a whole. China’s development in the future still needs a peaceful and stable external environment.
Both the teachings of ancestors and the experience in modern times determine that China will remain committed to the path of peaceful development, promoting peace through its development and ensuring development through upholding peace.
Therefore, China’s defence policy is defensive in nature. In the past 70 years, China has never started a single war or conflict. It is the only nuclear power in the world which has promised no first use of nuclear weapons. Of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China has the lowest level of per-capita defence spending, only one eighteenth of the US and one ninth of the UK. Following the path of peaceful development is not an expedience but the solemn promise of China to the world.
Second, China upholds the common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept and does not seek confrontation with anyone. The world we are living in is already a community with intertwined interests and a shared future, where peace, development and win-win cooperation are the irreversible trend. It is time for thinking outside the Cold War box and for pursuing peace and security through cooperation.
This requires those who see China’s rise as a threat and China’s development as a risk to cast aside their Cold War mentality and give up their belief in the “Thucydides trap”.
Facts speak louder than words. As the second largest contributor to the UN regular budget and peacekeeping budget, and the largest contributor of peacekeeping personnel among the P5, China is living up to the mission of safeguarding world peace. The Belt and Road Initiative that China proposed follows the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefits and serves as an important platform for exchanges and cooperation between countries of the world.
China is committed to the path of its own choice, will never export its development path, model or values, and is never interested in the competition of ideologies. For anyone with an open and inclusive mind, it is easy to find friends and partners all over the world instead of rivals or threats.
Third, China’s development intention is open and aboveboard and China does not seek to replace anyone. Despite being the world’s second largest economy, China is still the world’s biggest developing country with an average per capita GDP of less than 10,000 dollars, lower than many countries in the world. The challenges of unbalanced and inadequate development remain severe.
Meeting the aspiration for a better life for 1.4 billion people remains a daunting task. Development of the nation and wellbeing of the people remain the focus of all China’s endeavour and the goal is for the Chinese people to live happier, healthier and longer.
China does not believe in the logic that power inevitably leads to hegemony. What China seeks is self-improvement, not challenging or replacing anyone. Achieving development for one fifth of the world’s population is China’s greatest contribution to mankind and the biggest obligation it has fulfilled.
China is pursuing a new round of opening up at a higher level, and wants to work with the other countries to build an open world economy through cooperation, with innovation and for mutual benefit. This will create greater opportunities for the win-win cooperation and common development of all countries in the world.
Countries of the world have come to a crossroads where they should choose peace not war, development not stagnation, dialogue not confrontation, and inclusiveness not estrangement. Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” China is ready to speak and listen, in order to enhance communication, deepen mutual understanding and promote win-win cooperation with other countries. China is committed to the path of peaceful development, and calls on everyone to do the same and join hands with China to safeguard world peace and prosperity.