Remarks at the Reception Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs

By Yang Jiechi

I am delighted to join so many colleagues and friends in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA).

The founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 marked a new epoch in China’s relations with the rest of the world. It started an extraordinary and historic journey for New China’s diplomacy. Defined by its close connection to the people, New China’s diplomacy includes people-to-people diplomacy as an important component. Over the last 70 years, China’s diplomacy has deeply engaged and benefited the public, demonstrating its unfailing commitment to serve the people. People-to-people diplomacy has thus proven irreplaceable in enhancing friendship between peoples, in building closer ties between countries, in promoting practical cooperation, and in facilitating exchanges between civilizations. In short, it has contributed substantially to China’s overall diplomacy. 

Set up in December 1949 on the initiative of Premier Zhou Enlai, the CPIFA is New China’s first institute dedicated to people-to-people diplomacy. From day one, the Institute has undertaken the noble mission of growing the People’s Republic’s ties with the rest of the world and promoting friendly exchanges between the Chinese people and people of all other countries. Since the launch of the reform and opening-up program and especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPIFA has stayed true to its founding mission and tapped into the unique role of people-to-people diplomacy. It has taken on new responsibilities, opened up new horizon, and taken new steps to better serve the reform, development and stability of the country and support the overall diplomatic agenda. 

The last seven decades have witnessed historic changes in China’s relations with the world. China’s global standing and influence have kept rising, so has its contribution to the world. As General Secretary Xi Jinping aptly puts it, “China cannot develop in isolation from the world just as the world cannot prosper without contribution from China.” 

Since the end of the Second World War, countries around the globe have worked in concert to steer the world from instability to general peace. Economic globalization has given a strong boost to economic and social development and to the progress of human civilization. The international community has established the basic norms of international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and developed an international system centering around the United Nations. Peace and development have become the trend of our times, which translates into a favorable international environment for China’s reform and opening-up. While pursuing its own development, China vigorously upholds fairness and justice in the world, advocates greater democracy in international relations, stays engaged in the reform and development of the global governance system, and works with all other countries for a community with a shared future for mankind. 

While safeguarding its own independence, China actively pursues cooperation and closer friendship with more countries around the world. After the founding of the People’s Republic, with the support of the international community, we established diplomatic ties with other countries and had our lawful seat restored at the UN. With the introduction of reform and opening-up, China opened its door to the capital, state-of-the-art technologies and managerial expertise from the outside. It unleashed the people’s enthusiasm about developing our own country, which would in turn benefit the whole world. What is worth mentioning in particular is how China stood with other countries to tide over the international financial crisis and rise to other global challenges. We have never forgotten the friendship that the Chinese people have received from people of other countries over the last 70 years. In this context, I would like to acknowledge the many foreign friends present at today’s reception. Let me take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to all of you for your longstanding commitment and support to China’s development. 

A review of history can guide us to a better future. In a world of profound changes unseen in a century, emerging markets and developing countries are rising with an unstoppable momentum, and the global balance of power is undergoing a major shift. Yet for quite some time now, unilateralism, protectionism, and bullyism have been growing and adding uncertainties and destabilizing factors to the international landscape. That said, justice will always prevail. There is a growing call in the world for multilateralism and greater international cooperation. Nothing could stop the trend toward a multi-polar world and economic globalization. 

Next year, China will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and attain its first centenary goal. In another 30 years, by the centenary of the People’s Republic, we will have turned our motherland into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful, and achieved the Chinese dream of great national renewal. China will stay as committed as ever to peaceful development, which will certainly bring more opportunities to the world. 

Friendly exchanges between people are a fundamental force for world peace and development and a prerequisite for mutually beneficial cooperation. The future and destiny of the world are in the hands of the people of all countries. We the Chinese people will join hands with other people around the world to create a brighter future for all.

Yang Jiechi is Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs.