Understanding China’s Foreign Policy

Published on 2nd April 2024

We stay committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and to peaceful development. We remain firm in pursuing a strategy of opening up for mutual benefit. We call for an equal and orderly multipolar world and universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization, and we are committed to promoting a new type of international relations. We remain firm in opposing all hegemonic, high-handed, and bullying acts and in upholding international fairness and justice. China is ready to pursue the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative with other members of the international community so as to promote the common values of humanity, reform the global governance system, and build a community with a shared future for mankind.”

We are well aware that China’s development is closely linked to the external environment and the future of humanity. The Chinese government is dedicated to pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. It is also dedicated to human progress and world harmony. In this changing and turbulent international environment, China will remain a staunch force for peace, stability and progress of the world. In this connection, let me share with you some of the basic positions and propositions of China’s foreign policy.

First, one lofty objective, that is to build a community with a shared future for mankind. This objective is put forward by President Xi Jinping, presenting China’s approach on what kind of world to build and how to build it. It reflects the Chinese Communists’ worldview, perception of order, and values. It is also the theme of China’s foreign policy. It aims to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity. Over the past decade or so, building a community with a shared future for mankind has developed from a concept to a scientific system, from a Chinese initiative to an international consensus, and from a promising vision to practical outcomes, showing strong vitality.

Second, the two major propositions. In response to the major problems and challenges in today’s world, China advocates an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization. This sets the direction for advancing peace and development in the world and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

An equal multipolar world means equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal rules for every nation. It is unacceptable that certain countries must be at the table while others can only be on the menu. An orderly multipolar world means that all countries should abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, adhere to the universally recognized basic norms of international relations, and act within the UN-centered international system.

Universally beneficial globalization means growing the economic pie and sharing it more fairly, so that all nations, social groups, and communities will be able to take part in economic and social development and share the benefits. 

Inclusive globalization means supporting countries in pursuing a development path suited to their own national conditions. Unilateralism and protectionism must be discarded to keep the global industrial and supply chains stable and unimpeded, and to sustain the robust and dynamic growth of the world economy.

Third, the three major initiatives. China has put forward the Global Development Initiative (GDI), the Global Security Initiative (GSI) and the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI). They are China’s proposals for improving global governance and coping with world changes. They also provide strategic guidance and pathway for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

The GDI focuses on issues related to the survival and sustainable development of humanity as well as the modernization of countries. It aims to address the global development deficit and points the way for global development cooperation.

The GSI focuses on issues related to war and peace, conflict and stability. It provides reference for dealing with global security challenges and feasible paths for solving international hotspot issues.

The GCI focuses on issues related to estrangement and misunderstanding, inclusiveness and mutual trust. It advocates the common values of humanity, seeks the maximum common ground and builds consensus on exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations.

Fourth, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It follows the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and promotes hard connectivity, soft connectivity and heart connectivity of participating countries. It is a practical platform for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Over the past decade or so since its inception, the BRI has benefited more than 150 countries, including Cyprus, and opened up a road of cooperation, opportunity and prosperity with the purpose of achieving common development. It has become the most popular international public good and the largest international cooperation platform in the world.

Last year, the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held. During the Forum, President Xi Jinping announced eight steps to support the high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation. He also proposed that all countries need to work together to realize global modernization with peaceful development, mutually beneficial cooperation and common prosperity. This points the way for the high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation.

Fifth, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which was set out 70 years ago. The five principles are: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. They are the cornerstones of China’s foreign policy. They have also surpassed the differences in social system and ideology and become the basic norms of international relations and the basic principles of international law. They are vital to establishing a more just and equitable international political and economic order, and to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Regarding China-EU relations, last year was the 20th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. The two sides have relaunched exchanges and dialogue across the board at all levels. In fact, China and Europe do not have clashing fundamental interests, or geopolitical and strategic conflicts. Their common interests far outweigh their differences. In the context of China-EU relations, the two sides should be characterized rightly as partners. Cooperation should be the defining feature of the relationship, autonomy its key value, and win-win its future. In today’s world, as long as China and Europe engage in mutually beneficial cooperation, no attempt to create bloc confrontation will succeed; as long as China and Europe stay committed to openness and win-win, deglobalization will not prevail.

By H.E. Liu Yantao

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Republic of Cyprus

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