Braving Waves and Sailing Forward with Resolve
– Address at the Opening of Symposium on the International Situation and China’s Foreign Relations in 2019
H.E. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Beijing, 13 December 2019
Members of the academia,
Good morning! It gives me great pleasure to join you again at the turn of the year.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of this symposium on the international situation and China’s foreign relations. Over the past three decades, the symposium has witnessed the changes in the international landscape and the extraordinary journey of Chinese diplomacy. Thanks to your active participation and strong support, the symposium has enjoyed growing influence both at home and abroad. It has evolved into an important platform for discussions on international developments and China’s diplomacy and a valuable source of insights and suggestions for China’s foreign policy. For this, I wish to express my sincere thanks to all the experts and scholars present today.
For China, 2019 is a year of national celebration and of building on past achievements to forge into the future. We warmly celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Looking back on the momentous journey China has traversed in the past seven decades, we understand better than ever how New China has come a long way to what it is today. This has made us even more determined to follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and more confident about achieving the two centenary goals and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
We successfully held the fourth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The Plenum made a full exposition of the core tenets, achievements, and remarkable advantages of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and China’s governance system. It put forward for the first time the overarching goal of upholding and improving the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance, thus laying a stronger institutional foundation for realizing national rejuvenation. A stable, secure and prosperous China is standing tall and proud in the east of the world, poised to make new contributions to the cause of peace and development of humankind.
For the world, 2019 is a year of turbulence and mounting challenges. Multilateralism and unilateralism are locked in a bitter contest, protectionism and populism have been on the rise, and the world is seeing a rampage of power politics and bullying. Big power rivalry has intensified, global governance is confronted with more difficulties, and global growth remains sluggish. From Asia to the Middle East, from Europe to Latin America, flashpoints keep flaring up, countries are plunged into turmoil, and traditional and non-traditional security threats are becoming more intertwined. All these are posing severe challenges to global governance.
That said, we must also see that peace and development remain the prevailing trend of our times. Globalization and multipolarization are moving forward despite twists and turns. And a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is gathering momentum. Whether countries make the right choice between cooperation and confrontation, multilateralism and unilateralism, openness and isolation will largely shape the future of human society.
In 2019, facing the complex international situation, China has forged ahead with its foreign relations under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core. We comprehensively summed up the successful experience and fine traditions of the past 70 years, and reaffirmed our original aspirations to bring happiness to the Chinese people and contribute to progress for humanity. Charting the course forward and overcoming difficulties and challenges, we achieved new advances and new outcomes in China’s foreign relations in wide-ranging areas. Such progress has not only bolstered China’s development but also made important contributions to world peace and progress.
Over the past year, China has vigorously developed its relations with other major countries, injecting positive energy into overall global stability.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Russia. During President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to Russia, the two Presidents reached important agreement on further deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, and signed a joint statement on strengthening global strategic stability. Smooth progress has been made in synergizing the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union and in implementing major strategic projects in areas of energy, aviation, space and connectivity. Early this month, the two Presidents witnessed via video link the launch of the east-route natural gas pipeline between the two countries. Under the watch of the two Presidents, the China-Russia relationship is entering a new era of mutual support, deep convergence, continuous innovation and mutual benefit, playing a more crucial role in maintaining world peace and stability.
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and the United States. Over the past 40 years, China and the US have become deeply inter-connected through shared economic interests, and thriving exchanges in all areas. Internationally, there is ever greater need for the two countries to jointly address global challenges. At the same time, there exist some deep-seated issues between the two sides that need to be tackled head-on. These issues have presented growing challenges to the future of China-US relations. Acting in the interest of the two peoples and as a responsible member of the international community, China has continued to pursue constructive dialogue with the US this year. We have also taken firm actions to counter US bullying and uphold the principles enshrined in the three China-US joint communiqués. At their meeting in Osaka, the two Presidents expressed a clear-cut commitment to advance China-US relations based on coordination, cooperation and stability.
This year has also witnessed close interactions between China and Europe. Europe was the destination of both President Xi Jinping’s first and last overseas visit this year. Premier Li Keqiang attended the China-EU Summit and the China-CEEC Heads of Government Summit. The membership of China-CEEC cooperation was enlarged for the first time. China and the EU concluded negotiations on an agreement on geographical indications as scheduled and signed the agreements on civil aviation cooperation smoothly. Leaders of Germany, France and Italy visited China respectively. China and the EU also reached extensive consensus on major issues from strengthening global governance, upholding multilateralism to safeguarding free trade. This has sent a clear message of China and Europe enhancing strategic cooperation and jointly addressing global challenges.