Since the establishment of the People's Republic of China, the country's foreign affairs have gone through two general stages--the 30 years before, and the 20 years after, the reform and opening up program which was introduced in 1978. During these periods, China has been always pursuing a foreign policy of independence and peace.

     This basic foreign policy principle was worked out by Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. Since the introduction of the reform and opening up policy, some important readjustments concerning some aspects in international strategy and foreign policy have been made under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory. This is the current foreign policy that continues to be carried out by the third generation of collective leadership with Jiang Zemin at the core.

     China's foreign policies have three striking characteristics as follows:

     First, uphold the principle of self-independence and absolutely safeguard China's national sovereignty and national dignity. In international affairs, China determines its position and policies by proceeding from the fundamental interests of the people of China and other countries and judging each case on its own merits. China does not yield to any outside pressure or enter into an alliance with any big power or group of countries.

     Second, establish and develop normal relations with other countries according to the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. That is to say, China carries out the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence in dealing with international relations with all other countries, whether or not they have the same social system with China. The five principles conform to the principles of the United Nations Charter and reflect the trend of the times to seek peace and development, and are the basis to formulate a fair and rational international political and economic new order.

     And third, strengthen solidarity and cooperation with the developing countries, oppose hegemonism and safeguard world peace. China maintains that disputes between nations should be settled peacefully through consultations instead of resorting to force or the threat of force. China opposes imposing one's social system and ideology upon others. No country should interfere in the internal affairs of another country under any pretext, still less bully the weak, invade or subvert other countries.