Journal

Peace and Sharing Makes the World a Better Place

--Dinner speech at the 6th World Peace Forum

Fu Ying , the Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress


I’m delighted to speak at this dinnermarking the 6thTsinghua World Peace Forum. 

Thanks in no small measure to the professionalism and hard workof Tsinghua University and Professor Yan Xuetongand his team, this forum has significantlycontributed to enhancing mutual understanding between China and the rest ofworld. AndI would like to acknowledgeyour devotion and hard work.  

In late May, the Chinese report fromthe China-US Strategic think tankJoint Report project was launched in Beijing. At the same time,the forum on China-US relations with the theme “exploring a new pathway to a win-win partnership” was also held. While both Chinese and the US academicshad high expectations for China-US relations after the Mar-a-Lago meeting, they also expressed concerns about the uncertaintyinthe world’s future. WithUS scholars also questioning China’s strategic intentions. My observationis that someof thoseinvolvedin international strategic researchare proneto a rather rigid mentality. Often seeinginteractions among countries as a zero-sum game, and creating an atmosphere in debates that can become exhausting.

To provide some fresh air, we invited entrepreneurs of the new economy to speak at the lunch timesession. They were founders or executives fromTencent, JD, Mobike and Kuaishou, who showcased the rapid growth of China’s mobile internet application technologies.The power of innovationleft adeep and refreshing impression on not only the US scholars, but also theChinese. It’s fair to say that the entrepreneurs showed us another way oflooking at today’s world. As they want to pursue happiness and share happiness with others, and so far they seem to have been quite successful.

As scholars ininternational relations, we tend to feel pressuredall the time, beingbound by the imperatives of analysis and prediction. SoI was thinking, whatif the security goals of theinternational playerswerenot about guarding against and opposing each other, but insteadabout creating opportunities and sharinghappiness;Wouldn’t the worldbe a better place? Maybe this is too idealistic, but the experience of the sharing economy should not be lost on us. The success of China’s new economic leaders is evidence of the success of reform and opening-up, withone of the critical conditions for that success beingthat China has managed to maintain a peaceful and stable environment. It is hard to imagine so many excitinginnovations would haveflourished in an environment of conflict or instability. Therefore, peace is in all our best interests and with that, successfuldevelopmentfollows.

Earlier today,the forum had interesting discussions onhow China will play a greaterrole in the world. Indeed, the speed ofindustrialization and modernization of a country the size of China have been unprecedented and will inevitablylead tomanychanges in the world, although some will behard to predict. How canthe existing international order and world structure be adjusted? How will the global markets and resource allocationreact to the new changes? What kind of power will China be, and what role will it play? These are some of the many questions the world needs answered.

People in China are not familiar with discussions like this; butwe can nolongershy away from them. The world is reexamining China, and China also needs to find its new identity. As President Xi Jinping said, “China is closer to the center of the world stage; closer to achieving its goal of national rejuvenation; and more capableand confident about achieving itsgoals than ever before”.And these areexactly what isdefining Chinatoday. 

Professor Yan gave me a rather general topic for tonight: he asked me to talk about anything that I wanted to share with the audience.

So, the first point I wantto share with you is that for the Chinese people, the most important thing remains for usto focus on our own path. This includes achieving the reform and development goals adopted at the 18thParty Congress;carry out the 13th five yearprogram, maintaining social stability and economic growth, improvethe legal system, and strengthening ourcomprehensive governance capacity in order to achieve the  Two Centenary Goals President Xi has laid out.

The Chinese people have longunderstood that“development is of overriding importance.”This is true now, and will remain so in the future. But with this very success in development,the people’s desire for further development also increases. GDP is no longer considered the only goal; rather, higher quality growth that is green and balanced is beingpursued. At the same time, with the accumulation of wealth, society is demanding greater equitable distribution and good governance.  

Currently China’s development is far from balanced, with challenges and difficulties on the way. Therefore,it isessential the government in China actively promotes development and addressesthepeople’s concerns. 

Diplomatic policy extends from domestic affairs, withforeign policy reflecting a country’s fundamental objectives. Specifically, China’s foreign policyobjective must be to builda favorableand stableinternationalenvironment which will enable the realization of its national objectives.This willensure China’s future development and make it possible for itspeople topursuetheir dreams for a prosperous life in a strong and stable country.

My second point is that China needs to make a greatercontributions toward world peace and development,byshouldering moreand greaterinternationalresponsibility.Our country and people need to prepare themselves for this bycultivating both theirawareness and capabilities. 

In today’s world, peace and development remain the main trends.China’s action incorrectly identifying and understanding these trendsis one of the key factors in its success.Nevertheless,asthe world has also been witnessing the increaseddesirefor peace and development, they have also seen the risingbacklashagainst them. With major challenges topeace no longer beinglarge-scale wars,due to the existence of nuclear deterrents. However, securitychallenges are becoming more and more complex as the threat of new or hybrid types of challenges, such as terrorism, mixed wars and cool warscontinue to exist.

Against this backdrop, constructing a system tomanage global security has become a huge challenge, as it is hard to createsynergy among the existing international security mechanisms, which areoftenalreadyflawed. The UN peacekeeping mechanism is by far the best embodiment of common security interests, yet it is unabletocope with all challenges. On the other hand, the US, which has the strongest defense capabilitiesin the world, insists that its military alliance should remain the global security pillar. However,this alliance isan exclusive circle. It is not able to accommodate or be concerned withthe security interest of non-allies, much less address themany security concerns intoday’s world. As a matter of fact, some of the US’s strategic miscalculations haveinstead aggravated security challenges.Faced with a new security environment, it is imperative for both the USand theemerging powers like Chinatoexplore new paths. The recently held China-US diplomatic and security dialogue covered many important security issues, and such dialogues are evidenceof both countries’ efforts in seeking coordination and collaborationon international security.     

From a historical perspective, the rise ofemerging powers is often accompanied by readjustments in the existing global governance. This readjustmentinevitably comes with a certain typeof “tension.” The lesson of history is that conflicts may occur as result of the way major countries dealt with this tension. 

To avoid thishistorical trap, China must strive to build a new paradigm of peacefuldevelopment and sharedinterests.Just as individuals benefit from the sharing of bicycles so can countries benefit from sharing peace and the fruits of win-win cooperation.

President Xi Jinping proposed the building of a new model of international relations featuring win-win cooperation. Calling on all nations to forge a communitywith ashared future for mankind and embrace a new era of win-win cooperation and common development, not least through theimplementationof the Belt and Road initiative.These propositions and initiatives highlight the ideal that the projects should be “jointly built through consultation to meet the interests of all,”and form the pillars of the Chinese philosophy on international relations and represent China’s response to a changing world. This vision can be seen as one of the most important theoretical innovations of this era and is well-tailored to the needs of our times.

Naturally, problems and difficulties will be encountered during the implementation of the initiatives, but they will continue and be revised and improved along the way to deal with any unforeseen challenges.

My third and lastpoint is that China must constantly improve the way it interactswith the rest of the world. The great visionary MrLee Kuan Yew once said,small and medium sized countries will face a “giant that has never before existed in human history.” In recent years, our neighbors and other countries have been watching China’s policies and movesclosely. We must be sensitive to external reactions and respond in a timely mannerto promoteand ensure understanding.

When a country grows strong, it should be capable of understanding and working with public opinionand maintain multi-level and cogent communication with the international community. To this end, we must constantly review andimprove our capabilities in diplomacy, international law, public opinion and economic development to prepare us for our participation in international affairs and global governance. I believe that in such a fast-changing era, it is imperative thatChinastays modest and prudent as we continue to learn. 

So, when China’s interests run upagainst those of other countries, how should we make decisions? How should we explain our viewsto the international community? The traditional powers may tend to impose on others, but how to manage the unavoidable consequences will be thechallenge. History judges the success of a country not only onhow it exercised power, but also onhow it promotes the common good.    

When carrying out President Xi’s vision and propositions, we must be down to earthand ensure weexplore and accumulate experience. 

These are my humble opinions on the relationship between China’s growth and peace. AndI look forward to our continuedsharing ofthoughts. 

(24 June 2017, Beijing)
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