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Spotlight: Xi's new diplomacy: peaceful development in a community of common destiny

(Xinhua)    19:04, September 11, 2015
Spotlight: Xi's new diplomacy: peaceful development in a community of common destiny
State Councilor Yang Jiechi says President Xi Jinping's state visit to the US will address practical cooperation.[Photo by Xu Jingxing / China Daily]

BEIJING, Sept. 11-- With a state visit scheduled to the United States in September, Chinese President Xi Jinping is ready to seek genuine friendship and cooperation across the Pacific.

The significance of the trip extends far beyond the two countries. When the leaders of the world's largest developed and developing countries meet to discuss issues concerning the common destiny of the global community, the effects will be felt in every corner of the world.


Since 2012, Xi has spoken of this "common destiny" dozens of times, putting the notion at the heart of relations with China's neighbors and the international community at large. "In the interest of peace, we need to foster a keen sense of a global community of shared future," said Xi during his V-Day speech on Sept. 3.

Xi's "common destiny" demands peaceful development in a globalized economy. As he puts it: "Mankind, now living in one global village... has become a community of shared destiny. Everyone has within themselves, a little bit of everyone else."

The notion is not an empty slogan. With initiatives such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Belt and Road Initiative, concrete ideas of building a better world are emerging.

China's foreign policy for the coming decade will focus on the common destiny of all peoples. China will strive to be at the center of a good neighborhood, and will work for new, non-confrontation, non-expansionist, peaceful relations with other major powers.

The proposed community is a bold move, but not short of challenges.

For many years, China has actively promoted a "peaceful development," but the message has not been embraced by all its neighbors.

Before China, no major countries in the world ever rose peacefully. Now China is facing the difficulty of convincing the world that peace is possible, let alone desirable.

China's rapid rise and vast scale are so formidable that they preclude the cooperation among its fearful neighbors.

It is especially difficult after the world has been used to China's smiling, often silent diplomacy. When China protects its core interests nowadays, it is often called "overtly assertive."

Whether a "community of common destiny" ultimately succeeds or fails greatly depends on China itself, and it meanwhile depends on the attitudes and acts of the great powers, and the smaller neighbors.

The geopolitical competition of the Cold War still prevails and this legacy threatens development. These entrenched prejudices are impossible to eliminate overnight, so China needs to find a way to balance its security against the clout of these U.S. allies, said Zhao Minghao, a research fellow with the Charhar Institute.

There are reasons to believe that Xi will succeed, said John Ross, who was in charge of economic and business policy with the government of London. The first reason, he said, is that "all countries want equality and mutual benefit."

"President Xi should be credited for initiating the idea," Nathan Gardels, editor-in-chief of the World Post and senior advisor to the Berggruen Institute, told Xinhua. "Now it needs to be worked out."

It is a tough challenge. There is no precedent, no guidebook on the shelf. But China must do it.


Global politics, economics and security demand new world governance in the interests of all countries, big and small.

The zero-sum game of centuries of global politics has brought little but inequality and regional turmoil. The financial crisis in 2008, which reverberates to this day, has demonstrated the perils of questionable economic practices and demanded the urgent need for international coordination.

This is "common destiny": only through cooperation with others can any nation achieve the greatest good for itself.

As Xi puts it, "one plus one can be greater than two." By cooperating, countries achieve higher living standards than they do alone.

"Cooperation and win-win are the core of China's foreign policy," Ruan Zongze, deputy head of the China Institute of International Studies, told Xinhua.

China is the first major power to set cooperation as the basis of its foreign policy, which leads the world's trend of pursuing peace and prosperity in the 21st century, he said.

The "community" is crucial not only to global governance, but for the future of China which is steadfast in its intent of bringing about national rejuvenation.

Domestically, reforms must support economic growth necessary to achieve a moderately prosperous society by 2020. Externally, only a favorable international environment is conducive to the country's lasting development.

China's success is inextricably linked to the growth of others. Without peace, stability and growth on China's borders, there is no way forward. Competition must be secondary to cooperation.


China's recent diplomacy has two wheels: new relations with major powers and equal cooperation with developing countries, said professor Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore.

The axle connecting the two wheels is "neighborhood diplomacy," the priority in China's grand foreign policy, he said.

Among new major power ties, the relationship with the United States is the most significant. Xi wants no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect, cooperation and common prosperity. A complementary and interdependent economic relationship would be an important foundation.

Xi and U.S. President Barack Obama's no-necktie talks in California and Beijing were a strong signal that the two can face the thorniest issues in a relaxed atmosphere.

China also wants equal, mutually beneficial cooperation with developing countries. China plays a leading role in offering aid to Sub-Saharan Africa while many Western countries lag behind on their pledges.

While the two wheels roll on, "good-neighborliness" with countries on China's periphery is in sharp contrast to the conduct of Western powers, who actively controlled and colonized countries or territories along their trade routes.

China has no direct conflict with the United States but U.S. allies in China's hinterland are persistently problematic. China's neighbors are mostly developing economies.

Now, China's neighbors are the main port of call for Chinese leaders.

The Belt and Road Initiative, the AIIB, the BRICS New Development Bank, the Silk Road Fund and China-ASEAN Interbank Association all directly benefit China's neighbors.

They are part of China's framework of regional responsibility - "public good China provides to the world", and an effort to shoulder "greater responsibility," according to Chinese leaders.

The popularity of the AIIB proves that the countries are willing to achieve their prosperity by becoming even more intertwined with China.

Based on two wheels and one axle, Xi said last November that a "global partnership network" can feature equality, peace and inclusiveness.

His ideas have expanded from the sphere of regional squabbles to the globe and mankind as a whole.

The community of common destiny will help China become more popular, said Wu Hongbo, the UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"This new era provides China with an opportunity to establish a grand diplomacy and the leadership has grasped that opportunity," said professor Zheng Yongnian. "Xi's diplomatic strategy has taken shape."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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