Remarks by H.E. Yang Jiechi at the Foreign Policy Session of the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club
Sochi, 18 October 2018
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to be with you at this year’s meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, which I must say is one of the world’s foremost forums. Every year, the Valdai Club brings together the great minds of the world to discuss pressing regional and global issues and explore possible solutions. This year, you have selected the topic “The World We Will Live in: Stability and Development in the 21st Century” for the plenary and “Foreign Policy in Uncertain Times: Pursuing Development in a Changing World” for this session. I am glad to join the other distinguished panelists in discussing these important issues that are highly relevant to our times.
Many of us in this room were born in the 20th century, which saw two world wars followed by the Cold War. They have inflicted untold suffering on humanity. In this new century, the world is experiencing yet another round of profound changes and we must make the right choice. We have no reason to allow the tragedies of the last century to repeat themselves. The road ahead may not be smooth, but our commitment to peace and development must be unwavering.
The international community has drawn hard lessons from the catastrophes of the 20th century. We all agree on the need to promote global peace and development, and, indeed, much has been accomplished in this regard. Economic globalization and scientific revolution have made interconnection and interdependence between countries an inescapable reality. These unstoppable trends have contributed to the well-being of all our peoples and must be preserved by all of us. Please allow me to make five observations about the prevailing trends in our world today:
First, we live in an increasingly multipolar world. The rise of emerging markets and developing countries is proving to be the primary engine of the global economy and is making the global distribution of power more balanced. This makes it possible for countries to have their voices heard in international decision-making and for the discussion and solution of various transnational issues. Whether some people like it or not, this more equal state of affairs will be here to stay.
Second, economic globalization is becoming a fact of life. Economic integration makes countries in the world a community of shared interests. The world economy cannot grow sustainably unless all countries have access to prosperity and development. If you recall, it was by sticking together for win-win solutions that we pulled through the global financial crisis in 2008 and put the world economy back on track toward recovery and growth. Both China and Russia, at that time, did their best and made important contributions to global recovery. It must be remembered that development is a universal aspiration, not a zero-sum game where one nation’s gain means another nation’s loss. Every nation must pitch in to create and benefit from greater global prosperity.
Third, there is a growing call for reform and improvement of the global governance system. The current international order, built on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, has ensured over seven decades of global peace. The WTO-centered multilateral trading system has fuelled strong global growth for the last 20 years and more. Mechanisms of international cooperation and coordination, most notably the G20 summit, have enabled the recovery and growth of the world economy and the improvement of global governance in the last decade or so. These are important achievements, but much more needs to be done. Many global challenges, from environment degradation to climate change, from terrorism to poverty, cry out to be met. Thus, the reform and improvement of the global governance system requires hard and sustained efforts.
Fourth, all members of the international community aspire for peace and security. There is general peace in today’s world, major-country relations enjoy stability on the whole, traditional and non-traditional security threats are largely under control. None of these must be taken for granted and must be carefully preserved. Over many years, the UN Security Council has made an irreplaceable contribution to world peace and security. All countries must continue to pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and work together for a world of universal security and lasting peace.
Fifth, dialogue and mutual assimilation between civilizations have become the order of the day. Experience shows that it is possible for different cultures, religions, social systems and values to not just coexist peacefully but also enlighten each other. This will lead to the greater progress of human civilization.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The world we live in is filled with both hopes and challenges. It is caught in a transition where the old international system is being replaced by a new one, where uncertainties and instabilities are on the rise, and where all sorts of new challenges are coming to the fore. Let me give you some examples:
First, there are far too many instances of the Cold-War mentality, bullyism, zero-sum game and military coercion. In many cases, there is not enough fairness, equality or justice. Extortion, pressure campaigns and sanctions are still resorted to all too often.
Second, unilateralism is gaining ascendancy, putting international rules and mechanisms at risk. Often, countries put too much emphasis on their own power and interests, not enough on meeting their responsibilities. As a result, the trust and cooperation between countries are being undermined by bullying tactics and a beggar-thy-neighbour approach.
Third, trade protectionism is running rampant and economic globalization is facing headwinds. No country can escape the challenge presented by a variety of misguided practices in international economic cooperation and multilateral trade.
Fourth, many regions are ravaged by instability, conflict and war. Non-traditional security threats, particularly terrorism, are more menacing than before, eroding security in many cases.
Fifth, the export of values and development models in disregard of cultural diversity is becoming a source of turbulence in many parts of the world. The talk of a clash of civilizations” and the self-styled superiority of a certain civilization all cause growing problems for global harmony and peace.
The direction of world affairs will hinge on the choices we make. The international community should come together with a strong sense of responsibility to embrace opportunities and meet challenges so as to make the world a more harmonious and better place for all.
China is the world’s largest developing country. The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government are striving to live up to our1.4. billion people’s aspirations for a better life, and are committed to realizing world peace and development. Guided by Xi Jinping thought on diplomacy, China seeks peace, development and cooperation, and works actively to build a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation. China is committed to working with other countries to usher in a community of shared future for all mankind. We believe the following to be important:
First, peace and stability is the precondition of prosperity and development. Recognizing this, China will stay committed to its independent foreign policy of peace, the path of peaceful development, and the preference of dialogue over confrontation and partnership over alliance. China will uphold world peace, thus creating the conditions for its development and, at the same time, contribute to world peace through its own development. China sincerely hopes that all countries will likewise choose the path of peaceful development and work together to prevent conflict and war.
Second, opening-up is essential to prosperity. An important experience China has gained from its successful modernization endeavor is to promote reform and development through opening-up. Over the past 40 years, reform and opening-up has brought phenomenal progress to Chinese lives and sea change in urban and rural landscape. By opening its door wider, China has shared its development dividends with others and boosted common development across the world. Early next month, we will host the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai. China will not shut its door; its door will open even wider. China will advance Belt and Road international cooperation under the principle of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits, create new vistas in all-round opening-up, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all.
Third, multilateralism is a basic principle underpinning the global governance system. China will, as always, uphold multilateralism and make active efforts to reform and improve global governance. China will work with others to foster a more fair and equitable international order and global governance system.
Fourth, genuine security cannot be achieved unless there is universal security. China will make continued efforts to increase strategic trust among countries. China believes that disputes should be resolved through dialogue and consultation, and common threats need to be countered through international cooperation. We oppose selfish practices in which one seeks absolute security at the expense of others.
Fifth, inter-civilization dialogue provides an important underpinning for peaceful co-existence. Respect for cultural diversity is crucial for world peace and harmony. Every country is entitled to choose a development path suited to its reality. When it comes to civilizations, we should uphold the principles of equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness, and reject the misguided belief in a so-called “clash of civilizations” or the superiority of one civilization over others.
China is committed to building global partnerships, to advancing coordination and cooperation among major countries, to deepening friendship and cooperation with its neighbors, and to strengthening solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries.
We call for fostering a framework of major-country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development. China is the largest developing country and the United States the largest developed one. There certainly exist differences and sensitive issues, but the two countries also have extensive common interests and shoulder important responsibilities. Cooperation is the only right choice. It is important that China and the US follow the principles of non-conflict and non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and work together for the healthy and steady growth of their relationship. This will meet the common interests of the two peoples and the expectations of the international community.