IV. Direction and Path
The vision of a global community of shared future is the outcome of China’s wisdom in handling contemporary international relations from the perspective of world peace and development – a Chinese plan for improving global governance, and a Chinese proposal to address various challenges in the 21st century. Vision guides action and direction determines the future. The international community should work together to turn the grand blueprint into a roadmap, and a beautiful vision into reality step by step.
1. Pressing ahead with a new type of economic globalization
Economic globalization is an irreversible trend of global economic development, and is in line with the desire for development and cooperation held by people of all countries. Economic globalization has greatly facilitated trade, investment, flows of people, and technological advances, making an important contribution to global economic development.
However, problems and drawbacks also accumulated in the process, and there are attempts at retreating from it. The current model of economic globalization fails to reflect the demands or represent the interests of developing countries. The law of the jungle, zero-sum game, and the “win-or-lose”, “winner-takes-all” mindset have exacerbated the divide between the rich and poor, as evidenced by the widening gap between developed and developing countries, and that within developed countries. Some countries blame their problems in domestic governance on economic globalization or other countries, and resort to unilateral, protectionist, and bullying actions. This has damaged global industrial, value, supply and consumption chains, and caused turbulence and even conflict in the current international trade order.
Promoting a new type of economic globalization is essential for building a global community of shared future. Countries need to pursue a policy of openness and explicitly oppose protectionism, the erection of fences and barriers, unilateral sanctions, and maximum-pressure tactics, so as to connect economies and jointly build an open world economy. Countries should strive to build a system of fair, reasonable, and transparent international economic and trade rules, press ahead with trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and promote further global economic openness, exchange, and integration in order to form an economic globalization that is open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all, so that people of all countries can share the fruits of economic globalization and world economic growth.
Opening up should be a two-way journey, not a one-way street; one cannot demand the opening of other countries while closing its own doors. Some countries are seeking to decouple from and break chains with China, enclosing themselves in “small yards, high fences”, which will ultimately only backfire on themselves. Some people overstate the need to “reduce dependence” and “derisk”, which is essentially creating new risks. Risk prevention and cooperation are not mutually contradictory, whereas non-cooperation is the biggest risk and non-development is the biggest threat to security. Pursuing de-sinicization in the name of derisking and reducing dependence undermines opportunities, cooperation, stability, and development.
The current revolution in science and technology marked by artificial intelligence will have a profound impact on the new round of economic globalization and social development. Relevant rules and standards should be established to support scientific and technological innovation and guard the red line of human security. The interests of all countries, especially developing ones, should be taken into account in a balanced manner, to ensure that technological innovation is placed under the rule of law and internationally recognized norms, and ensure that innovation is steered by and works for humanity, and is consistent with human values.
2. Following a peaceful development path
History tells us that for a country to develop and prosper, it must understand and follow the trend of global development; otherwise it will be abandoned by history. The trend now is the pursuit of peace, development, cooperation, and win-win results. The old path of colonialism and hegemonism leads to a dead end and those who follow it will pay a heavy price, whereas the path of peaceful development is the right one for the world to follow.
The pursuit of peace, amity and harmony is deeply rooted in the cultural realm of the Chinese nation and runs in the blood of the Chinese people. For a long time in the past, China was one of the most powerful countries in the world, but it does not have any record of colonization or aggression against other countries. China’s adherence to the path of peaceful development is an extension of the millennia-old cultural tradition of the peace-loving Chinese nation.
China always adheres to an independent foreign policy of peace and has always emphasized that the goal of China’s foreign policy is to maintain world peace and promote common development. China opposes all forms of hegemonism and power politics, and does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. It will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion. These principles are stated in China’s policies, incorporated in its systemic designs, and always adhered to in its practices.
The world needs peace, just like a human being needs air and living things need sunshine. The path of peaceful development is beneficial to China and the world, and we cannot think of any reason not to stay on this path. China follows the path of peaceful development, and hopes that other countries will take this path as well. Only by working together to pursue peace, safeguard peace, and share peace can countries achieve their development goals and make greater contributions to the world. Only when everyone follows the path of peaceful development can countries coexist peacefully, and can there be hope for building a global community of shared future.
3. Fostering a new type of international relations
The new type of international relations is different in that it has created a new path for interactions between countries, opened up a new chapter of world history where different civilizations and countries with different systems coexist in peace and seek common development, and paved the way for building a global community of shared future.
A new type of international relations should be built on the principles of mutual respect, equity and justice, and mutually beneficial cooperation. Mutual respect means treating people with sincerity and equality, and opposing power politics and bullying practices. In upholding equity and justice, countries must discard extreme materialism and overemphasis on competition, and ensure that all countries have equal rights and opportunities for development. Mutually beneficial cooperation means that countries should reject the maximization of self-interest, address the legitimate concerns of other countries while pursuing their own interests, and promote common development of all countries alongside their own development.
The foundations for building a new type of international relations lie in broader and deeper global partnerships based on equality, openness, and cooperation. China adheres to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in pursuing friendship and cooperation with other countries. It works to reinforce coordination and positive interaction with other major countries in order to build major-country relations featuring peaceful coexistence, overall stability, and balanced development. Acting on the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness, and the policy of forging friendships and partnerships with its neighbors, China strives to increase friendly ties, mutual trust, and converging interests with its neighboring countries. Guided by the principles of sincerity, real results, amity, and good faith and with a commitment to the right approach to friendship and interests, China endeavors to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries and safeguard the common interests of the developing world.
Major countries are key actors in building a new type of international relations. The international status of a country is measured by its openness of mind, breadth of vision, and sense of responsibility rather than its size, strength or power. Major countries should direct their primary efforts to the future of humanity and assume greater responsibility for world peace and development, rather than wielding their power to seek monopoly over international and regional affairs. Major countries should strengthen coordination and cooperation, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, consider the perspectives of other parties and value mutual understanding, and treat smaller countries as equals. By building a global community of shared future, emerging countries and established powers can avoid falling into the Thucydides trap, find the right way to get along in mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, and build common ground and achieve common development for different civilizations and countries with different social systems.
4. Practicing true multilateralism
Building a global community of shared future requires practicing true multilateralism. Building cliques in the name of multilateralism is no more than bloc politics. Seeking supremacy in the name of multilateralism is still unilateral thinking. “Selective multilateralism” is practicing double standard. The world should be fair and free from domineering practices. China opposes all forms of unilateralism and the formation of camps and exclusive cliques targeting specific countries, and opposes actions that undermine the international order, create a new Cold War or stoke ideological confrontation in the name of the so-called rules-based order.
China firmly upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, as well as the authority and status of the United Nations. The various confrontations and injustices in today’s world do not arise because the purposes and principles of the UN Charter are outdated, but rather because these purposes and principles are not effectively followed. China maintains that for the world, there is only one system, which is the international system with the United Nations at its core, that there is only one order, which is the international order based on international law, and that there is only one set of rules, which is the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
China actively participates in and leads the reform of the global governance system. It follows the vision of global governance featuring extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefits, that is, global affairs must be discussed by all, governance systems built by all, and benefits of governance shared by all, so that every country is a participant, contributor, and beneficiary of world peace and development.
5. Promoting the common values of humanity
China advocates peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, the common values of humanity. With an open mind, China understands that different civilizations have different understandings of the nature of these values, and respects the efforts of people in different countries to explore their own development paths. It goes beyond the narrow historical limitations of the so-called universal values, and promotes the common values of humanity embedded in Chinese civilization. These are the values embodied in pursuing a global community of shared future.
Peace and development are a common cause. A tree of peace cannot grow on barren land, nor can it bear the fruits of development amidst the flames of war. The fundamental solution to various global challenges lies in seeking peace and achieving development. Equity and justice are common ideals. No country should act as it pleases, or ride roughshod over others. Democracy and freedom are the common goals of humanity. There is no single model of democracy that is universally applicable, far less a superior one. Democracy is not Coca-Cola, tasting the same across the world as the syrup is produced in one single country. Democracy is not an ornament, but a solution to real problems. Attempts to monopolize the “patent” of democracy, arbitrarily define the “standards” of democracy, and fabricate a false narrative of “democracy versus authoritarianism” to provoke confrontation between political systems and ideologies are practices of fake democracy. Promoting the common values of humanity is not about canonizing the values of any particular country, but about seeking common ground while reserving differences, harmony without uniformity, and fully respecting the diversity of civilizations and the right of all countries to independently choose their social systems and development paths.
The more advanced human society becomes, the more important it is to strengthen exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations. All countries should treat each other with respect and as equals, discard arrogance and prejudice, deepen understanding of the differences between its own civilization and others, and promote dialogue and harmonious coexistence between different civilizations. Every country should value its own civilization, appreciate others, and facilitate their common progress. We should keep our own civilizations dynamic and create conditions for other civilizations to flourish. Together we can make the garden of world civilizations colorful and vibrant. All countries should be open and inclusive, promote mutual learning, strive to remove all barriers to cultural exchanges, and seek nourishment from other civilizations to promote the common development of all civilizations. All countries should progress with the times, explore new ground in development, take in the best of the present age, and sustain the development of civilizations through innovation.