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Commentary: Build a community of shared future for humankind through ‘Belt and Road’

By Fu Ying (People's Daily Online)    19:22, May 18, 2017

The Belt and Road Forum on International Cooperation, which concluded on May 15, has deepened the world’s understanding of Chinese foreign diplomacy. The forum will have a far-reaching influence on the world, as the process of economic globalization proceeds.

Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out at the forum that China will not resort to outdated geopolitical maneuvering, but rather hopes to achieve a new model of win-win cooperation. The country has no intention of forming a small group detrimental to stability; instead, it wants to create a big family that can coexist harmoniously. The president has previously expounded on these goals at various other international occasions.

The president’s remarks fully manifest the Belt and Road Initiative’s role in building a community of shared future for humankind. This concept of a shared future was created in accordance with China’s thinking about a variety of issues that confront humankind in the 21st century. It offers solutions to a slew of issues, challenges and risks, such as global security and imbalanced development.

China recognizes the current international order, a global framework devised by the victors of WWII, placing the UN at its center along with other international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and World Bank. The order reflects the progression of history.

However, the order has now been extended. The new version of the world order advocated by Western countries overlaps with the current one, yet also contradicts it in many ways. The U.S.-led international order puts the security interests of U.S. allies above those of non-allied countries. There is also disproportionate emphasis on changing the political systems and values of non-Western countries to emulate those of the West. The U.S. and other Western countries have made mistakes again and again, resulting in instability around the globe.

As an active global governor, China has accepted its role in the economic globalization led by Western countries. However, China’s national security interests are ignored by the U.S.-led world order. Some countries even regard China as a challenge to the current world order, as it grows and exerts more influence over global order and rules.

There are ups and downs in the evolution of any international order, and a good one must acknowledge the interests of all member countries under its framework. The current world order, though not perfect in terms of efficiency and implementation, nevertheless comes quite close to humankind’s vision of equality.

Solve security issues through consultation and mutually beneficial cooperation

The essence of China’s traditional strategic security is non-expansion, stability and ideas based on morality. Cooperative security is a response to the increasingly complicated international security environment. Cultural advancement, the integration of diverse interests and the development of multilateral security mechanisms has restrained traditional conflicts between major alliances. As a result, large-scale regional warfare is generally avoided.

In the mean time, new challenges such as terrorism, extremists and cyber security are becoming the biggest threat. No country is able to independently defeat such challenges, which means the world must shake off the shackles of Cold War and zero-sum mentalities, seeking security through active cooperation.

Cooperative security is different from the collective security promoted by the U.S.-led military alliance system. The latter essentially harnesses a zero-sum mentality, which exaggerates the security demand of allied nations while trampling that of non-allies. To seek one's own absolute security by damaging the security of others can never result in universal security.

Another disadvantage of the American approach is that allied countries are limited in the decisions they can make since their security interests and foreign strategies are all bound together. Breaking the boundary between absolute enemy and friend, the concept of cooperative security aims to protection all humankind.

Promote common development of countries through implementation of Belt and Road Initiative

Development is a prerequisite for security. History has taught us that imbalanced development yields a hotbed for extremism.

The center and southern edges of the Eurasian continent, which used to boast splendid civilizations in ancient times, have now transformed into underdeveloped regions.

Xi proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, explaining that China will thrive through the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment while its neighboring countries benefit from being prioritized in the plan. The initiative has become a major movement in the international community, especially among developing countries in Europe and Asia.

Xi further stressed in his speech at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that, guided by a vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development, China will adapt to and steer the new normal of economic development, seizing whatever opportunities present themselves. The country will actively promote supply-side structural reform to achieve sustainable development, inject strong impetus into the Belt and Road Initiative and create new opportunities for global development.

To sum up, China will work to build a community of shared future for humankind through “Belt and Road” construction, help facilitate more balanced development in Europe, Asia and Africa, and create a new era of common prosperity.

Promote mutual learning about different national systems

Building a community of shared future for humankind cannot succeed without political inclusiveness. Different countries have carried out extensive trials to find their ideal governing mechanisms, and there is no universal approach that can be perfectly applied to every nation. Countries with different systems must nevertheless respect each other, as this is a crucial basis for mutual learning.

In order to develop a system that suits China's national conditions, the country has been actively learning and testing its governance since the dawn of modern times. The most important lesson learned so far is that one must be brave enough to learn and also to stick to one’s own ideas. China has never stopped learning from the positive achievements of human civilization, and has been consistently exploring a better path for development since its reform and opening-up.

China has already found a development path that suits its national conditions, and it will keep fighting to build a community of shared future for humankind through that practice.

This article is edited and translated from 携手构建人类命运共同体(一带一路论坛)

Source: People's Daily

(The author is the chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, and a chief expert at the National Institute of International Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.)

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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