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A Global Community of Shared Future: China’s Proposals and Actions (Part V)

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Foreign Language Press Forst Edition September 2023

V. China’s Action and Contribution

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Over the past decade, China has contributed its strength to building a global community of shared future with firm conviction and solid actions.

1. Promoting high-quality Belt and Road cooperation

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a vivid example of building a global community of shared future, and a global public good and cooperation platform provided by China to the world. Since introducing the BRI ten years ago, based on extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefits, China has pursued open, green, clean, and high-standard cooperation to promote sustainable development and improve people’s lives, and advanced high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. It has laid the groundwork and set up the frameworks of BRI cooperation, delivering tangible results and achieving sustainable progress. Together, participants in the initiative have jointly advanced “hard connectivity”, “soft connectivity” and “people-to-people connectivity”, setting up an important platform that has enabled wide participation, built international consensus and pooled the strengths of all parties.

Policy connectivity continues to deepen. By July 2023, more than three-quarters of countries in the world and over 30 international organizations had signed agreements on Belt and Road cooperation with China. China has successfully hosted the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in 2017 and the second in 2019, and will host the third this year, maximizing synergy for advancing high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. Infrastructure connectivity continues to strengthen. A general connectivity framework consisting of six corridors, six routes, and multiple countries and ports is in place. The overall layout of land, sea, air and cyberspace connectivity continues to improve, centered on economic corridors such as the New Eurasian Land Bridge, supported by routes like the China-Europe Railway Express and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and the information expressway, and underpinned by major railways, ports, and pipelines. Trade connectivity continues to increase. According to Belt and Road Economics, a report released by the World Bank, the BRI, when fully implemented, will increase intra-BRI trade by 4.1 percent. By 2030, the BRI will generate US$1.6 trillion in annual global revenues. Financial connectivity continues to expand. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund have been set up, providing financing support for hundreds of projects. People-to-people connectivity continues to strengthen. Roads, bridges and development belts that lead to a happier and better life are constantly emerging in participating countries, and solid progress is being achieved in Juncao, wells, hybrid rice and other small projects that work faster in improving people’s lives, giving local people of BRI countries a stronger sense of gain and fulfillment.

The BRI originated in China, but the opportunities and achievements it creates belong to the whole world. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, since its launch ten years ago, has lent strong impetus to the economic and social development of Pakistan. The China-Laos Railway has realized the long-cherished wish of the Lao people to convert Laos from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub. The Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway has become the first railway in Southeast Asia to reach a speed of 350 kilometers an hour. The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has added more than two percentage points to local economic growth. Malawi’s 600 wells built with Chinese assistance have become “wells of happiness” serving 150,000 local people. The China-Europe Railway Express serves as a “steel camel fleet” between China and Europe. Luban workshops help young people in Tajikistan and other countries acquire vocational skills. Cooperation in the fields of health, green development, digital economy, and innovation is thriving.

The BRI is an initiative for economic cooperation, not for geopolitical or military alliances. It is an open and inclusive process that neither targets nor excludes any party. Rather than forming exclusionary cliques or a “China club”, it aims to help China and the rest of the world to seize opportunities and pursue common development. Rather than a private route for any one party, it is a broad path that can be joined by all interested countries to work together for shared benefits.

The international community speaks highly of the BRI, praising it not simply as some random road or economic belt, but as an initiative to achieve common progress for humanity, an initiative that has opened up new paths for the common development of all countries. The BRI has facilitated the modernization drive of developing countries, leading the world into a new era of transcontinental cooperation.

2. Implementing the three global initiatives

It is widely recognized that peace and stability, material sufficiency, and cultural-ethical enrichment represent the basic goals of human society. Development serves as the material foundation for security and civilization, security acts as the fundamental prerequisite for development and civilization, and civilization provides the cultural-ethical support for development and security. The Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative, and Global Civilization Initiative proposed by China guide the advance of human society across these three dimensions. Resonating and complementing each other, they have evolved into a crucial cornerstone for building a global community of shared future, offering China’s solutions to major challenges pertaining to peace and development for humanity.

– Through the Global Development Initiative, China has issued a resounding call for commitment to development and reinvigorated cooperation, and made its contribution to resolving challenges to development and advancing global development. The fundamental aim of the initiative is to accelerate the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Its core requirement is a people-centered approach, its foremost philosophy is united, equal, balanced, and inclusive global development partnerships, and its pivotal measure entails results-oriented actions to bolster stronger, greener, and healthier global development and jointly build a global community of development.

China has hosted the High-level Dialogue on Global Development and presented 32 major measures to implement the initiative, such as creating the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund totaling US$4 billion, launching the China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund (Phase III), and strengthening support for the China-UN Peace and Development Fund. Over the past two years, the international community has extensively responded to the initiative and jointly tackled prominent issues including food security, poverty reduction, and energy security as the implementation mechanism steadily improves and practical cooperation delivers progress. The Global Development Promotion Center is running smoothly, and the library of the Global Development Initiative projects is expanding, with over 200 projects achieving good results. At the same time, China has issued the Global Development Report, and established the Global Knowledge Network for Development, contributing Chinese wisdom to the resolution of developmental challenges. Currently, more than 100 countries and international organizations have expressed support for the Global Development Initiative, with over 70 countries participating in the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative established at the UN.

China is committed to propelling global development through its own development. It has thoroughly applied the new development philosophy, with a focus on promoting high-quality development to foster a new development paradigm. Modernization of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people will create a market rivaling the aggregated size of all developed countries. This will open up more opportunities for all countries and stakeholders to partake in China’s huge market. China has also pioneered major expos and fairs, exemplified by the China International Import Expo, China International Fair for Trade in Services, China Import and Export Fair, and China International Consumer Goods Expo. It has encouraged all countries and stakeholders to share the opportunities presented by China’s institutional opening up and steadily expanded institutional opening up with regard to rules, regulations, management, and standards. It has enforced the Foreign Investment Law and its supporting rules and regulations, implemented the new catalogue for encouraging foreign investment, continued to remove items from the negative list of market access for foreign investment, advanced high-quality development of pilot free trade zones, and accelerated the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port.

China is committed to win-win cooperation and common development. As the largest developing country in the world and a member of the Global South, China has made every effort to aid other developing countries and help recipient countries expand their capacity for development. China is actively engaged in international exchanges and cooperation. It has cooperated with almost 20 international organizations, including the UN World Food Programme, the UN Development Programme, the UN Children’s Fund, the UN Refugee Agency, the World Health Organization, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and executed over 130 projects in nearly 60 countries including Ethiopia, Pakistan, and Nigeria. “Small but beautiful”, these projects span fields such as poverty reduction, food security, Covid-19 response, and climate change, and have benefited more than 30 million individuals. China worked actively for the adoption of and has comprehensively acted on the Debt Service Suspension Initiative of the Group of Twenty (G20), contributing more than any other G20 member to its implementation. China has signed agreements or reached understandings on the suspension of debt repayments with 19 African countries, helping Africa alleviate debt pressure.

China is committed to building an open world economy. It has become the main trading partner of more than 140 countries and regions, and signed 21 free trade agreements with 28 countries and regions. It has worked for high-quality implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, actively worked to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, and expanded its globally-oriented network of high-standard free trade areas. It has also promoted the internationalization of the Renminbi, and reinforced financial standards and its level of internationalization, thereby converging its interests closer with other countries.

– Through the Global Security Initiative, China seeks to work with the international community in upholding the spirit of the UN Charter, and calls for adapting to the profound changes in the international landscape through solidarity, addressing traditional and non-traditional security risks and challenges with a win-win mindset, and creating a new path to security that features dialogue over confrontation, partnership over alliance, and win-win results over zero-sum game.

In February 2023, China officially released The Global Security Initiative Concept Paper. The document further elaborates the core concepts and principles of the initiative, elucidates its key avenues for cooperation, and presents recommendations and ideas concerning its cooperation platforms and mechanisms. This has demonstrated China’s awareness of its duty to maintain world peace and its firm determination to safeguard global security. As an international public good, the Global Security Initiative serves the interests of and maintains peace for people throughout the world.

China is a pillar in maintaining world peace. It is committed to handling disputes with relevant countries over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests through negotiation and consultation. It has settled land boundary issues peacefully with 12 of its 14 neighbors along its land borders through negotiation and consultation, and delimited the maritime boundary in the Beibu Bay with Vietnam. China has faithfully fulfilled its responsibilities and missions as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It is the second largest contributor to the UN regular budget and peacekeeping assessment, and the largest contributor of peacekeeping troops among the permanent members of the Security Council. Over the past three decades and more, having sent more than 50,000 personnel to UN peacekeeping operations in over 20 countries and regions, China has become a key force in UN peacekeeping. China has dispatched more than 100 naval vessels in 45 taskforces to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the coast of Somalia to provide escort for over 7,000 Chinese and foreign ships.

Facing constant flare-ups of hotspot issues, China has been committed to fulfilling its role as a responsible major country, pushing for the resolution of international and regional flashpoints, such as the Korean Peninsula, Palestine, the Iranian nuclear issue, Syria, and Afghanistan. On the Ukraine issue, China has actively promoted talks for peace, put forth four key principles, four things that the international community should do together and three observations, and released China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis. China has dispatched the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs to engage in extensive interactions and exchanges with stakeholders on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

Through the mediation of China, Saudi Arabia and Iran have achieved historic reconciliation, setting a fine example for countries in the region to resolve disputes and differences and achieve good neighborly relations through dialogue and consultation, and catalyzing a wave of reconciliation in the Middle East.

China has actively cooperated with other parties in non-traditional security domains such as anti-terrorism, biosecurity, and food security. It has proposed the International Cooperation Initiative on Global Food Security within the framework of the G20, and pushed for the adoption of the Strategy on Food Security Cooperation of the BRICS Countries. It has also officially launched the China-Pacific Island Countries Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Cooperation Center, representing yet another robust action to help developing countries tackle non-traditional security challenges within the context of the Global Security Initiative.

– Through the Global Civilization Initiative, China calls for jointly advocating respect for the diversity of civilizations, jointly advocating the common values of humanity, jointly advocating the importance of continuity and evolution of civilizations, and jointly advocating closer international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. The Global Civilization Initiative makes a sincere call for the world to enhance inter-civilization exchanges and dialogue, and promote human progress with inclusiveness and mutual learning, inspiring the building of a global community of shared future.

China has hosted gatherings including the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting, the CPC and World Political Parties Summit, and the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations. It has engaged in extensive bilateral and multilateral activities for political party exchanges and cooperation, and promoted diverse forms of civil diplomacy, city diplomacy, and public diplomacy. China has continued to deepen cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN World Tourism Organization. It now has 43 items inscribed on the intangible cultural heritage lists of UNESCO.

China has celebrated over 30 large-scale cultural and tourist “years” (festivals), such as the China-Italy Year of Culture and Tourism, the China-Greece Year of Culture and Tourism, and the China-Spain Year of Culture and Tourism. It has promoted the steady development of 16 multilateral exchanges and cooperation mechanisms, such as the meeting of BRICS ministers of culture, as well as 25 bilateral cooperation mechanisms. It regularly hosts cultural activities at home, such as the Arabic Arts Festival and the Meet in Beijing International Arts Festival, and has held “Happy Spring Festival” celebrations outside China for more than 20 years in a row. It hosted approximately 2,000 events across over 130 countries in 2017, and has organized activities around the world under such brands as “Tea for Harmony” Yaji Cultural Salon. It has advanced cultural and tourism exchanges under the Belt and Road Initiative, carried out the Cultural Silk Road program, and established the Silk Road international theater, museum, art festival, library, and art museum alliances. It has also established approximately 3,000 pairs of sister cities or provinces with various countries, and launched the “Nihao! China” inbound tourism promotion program.

The international community has spoken highly of these three global initiatives, acknowledging that they reflect China’s global vision and growing international influence and provide comprehensive solutions to the challenges confronting humanity. The Global Development Initiative is highly compatible with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and resonates, in particular, with the aspirations of developing countries for greater development. The Global Security Initiative upholds the principle of common security, emphasizes comprehensive approaches, pursues sustainable security through cooperative efforts, and makes a valuable contribution to addressing international security challenges. The Global Civilization Initiative calls on all countries to respect the diversity of civilizations in the world, which is conducive to facilitating exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations.

3. Working with more countries and regions

China has proposed a range of regional and bilateral initiatives on building communities of shared future, and is working with stakeholders to build consensus and expand cooperation, thereby playing a constructive role in promoting regional peace and development.

The China-Africa community of shared future was the first regional proposal. It values sincerity and equality, pursues both friendship and interests and puts friendship first, takes a people-oriented approach in pursuing practical and efficient cooperation, and follows an open and inclusive approach to cooperation. It has set a good example of China and African countries building a community of shared future. The China-Arab community of shared future, China-Latin America and the Caribbean community of shared future, and China-Pacific Island Countries community of shared future have all made swift and steady progress. They are vivid illustrations of solidarity, cooperation, and common progress among developing countries.

The community of shared future among neighboring countries has taken firm root. As the China-ASEAN community of shared future continues to make advances, China-ASEAN cooperation has evolved into the most fruitful, dynamic, and substantive cooperation in East Asia. The two sides have seen a steady increase in mutual trust, engaged in frequent high-level exchanges, and established dialogue and cooperation mechanisms in nearly 50 domains and institutions. The community of shared future of Lancang-Mekong countries continues to make progress. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization community of shared future has yielded substantial outcomes. The building of the China-Central Asia community of shared future has made solid steps forward. The first China-Central Asia Summit was a success and a meeting mechanism at the heads-of-state level between China and Central Asian countries has been established. These efforts have contributed to enduring peace and shared prosperity in the region and the wider world.

At the bilateral level, China is building communities of shared future with an increasing number of partners in different forms. China and countries including Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Mongolia, Cuba and South Africa have published action plans, released joint statements, or reached important agreements on building bilateral communities of shared future. China has also implemented the vision of building a global community of shared future on a bilateral level with all the five Central Asian countries. As this vision gains greater traction among the people, substantial outcomes have been delivered, significantly boosting local development and improving people’s lives.

The global community of shared future is a dynamic, open, and inclusive system. However different countries may be in geographical location, history, culture, social system, size of economy, and development stage, alignment with the core idea of a global community of shared future enables them to seek common ground while shelving differences, achieve harmony in diversity, reinforce cooperation, and pursue win-win outcomes. China will work with more and more regions and countries to build a global community of shared future and contribute to the development of all countries and the progress of human civilization.

4. Boosting international cooperation in all areas

The vision of a global community of shared future addresses the deficits in peace, development, security, and governance facing the world today. As China’s unique contribution to solving global problems, it also offers solutions which have been translated into concrete actions in areas such as health, climate change, and cybersecurity.

Confronted by the rampant Covid-19 pandemic, China proposed to build a community of health for all. It has stood in the frontline of international anti-pandemic cooperation, carrying out global emergency humanitarian relief and providing assistance and support to more than 150 countries and international organizations. China has advocated that vaccines must first and foremost be a global public good, and was among the first countries to make a commitment to supply Covid-19 vaccines as a global public good, to support waiving intellectual property rights on the vaccines, and to start joint production with other developing countries. It has also played a pioneering role in the equitable distribution of vaccines, contributing China’s strength to the global health cause through firm commitment and practical actions.

To address disorder in cyberspace governance, China has proposed the concept of a community of shared future in cyberspace. It actively participates in UN cybersecurity processes and supports the UN in playing a core role in global cyberspace governance. China has hosted the World Internet Conference and established the World Internet Conference Organization as a platform for global internet sharing and governance.

To advance the development of a set of rules for global digital governance, it has launched the Global Data Security Initiative, and released the China-LAS Cooperation Initiative on Data Security together with the League of Arab States and the Data Security Cooperation Initiative of China + Central Asia together with the five Central Asian countries. To ensure that rights and responsibilities are shared among all countries, it promotes the improvement of governance rules in the deep sea, polar regions, outer space, and other new frontiers. Efforts are made to ensure that in formulating new rules for governance in new frontiers, the interests and expectations of emerging market countries and developing countries are fully reflected.

Concerning the fundamental issues in global nuclear security governance, China proposes to build a community of shared future on nuclear security. It firmly safeguards the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and upholds a rational, coordinated and balanced approach to nuclear security. In response to the increasing risk of nuclear conflict, China has pushed for the conclusion of a joint statement among the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states, reaffirming that “a nuclear war cannot be won, and must never be fought”. China actively advocates the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, and it is the only nuclear country that has publicly committed to no-first-use of nuclear weapons, and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-weapon-free zones.

Faced with increasingly complex maritime issues, China has proposed to form a maritime community of shared future and has always been committed to peaceful resolution of territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests disputes through dialogue and consultation. China has signed and fully and effectively implemented the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea with ASEAN countries, and continues to advance consultations on the code of conduct in the South China Sea. China has proposed to jointly build a partnership on blue economy and strengthen maritime connectivity. It adheres to the path of pursuing joint development while setting aside disputes, and actively explores joint resource development with maritime neighbors at sea.

Faced with the severe and growing global climate challenge, China has proposed important concepts such as building a community of life for humanity and nature and a community of all life on Earth. China actively promotes economic development and transformation, and undertakes to strive to achieve peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. It has introduced a “1+N” policy system for carbon peaking and neutrality. China has built the world’s largest clean power generation network, contributed 25 percent of the world’s newly added green area since 2000, and enabled an annual economic growth rate of over 6 percent with an average annual energy consumption growth rate of 3 percent. It has the largest installed capacity of hydropower, wind power, and solar power in the world. It actively participates in global environmental governance, advocates the comprehensive and effective implementation by the international community of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, and adheres to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”. China tries its best to help developing countries improve their ability to address climate change, and vigorously supports their green and low-carbon energy development. It has inked 46 South-South cooperation documents with 39 developing countries to address climate change, and trained approximately 2,300 officials and technical personnel in the field of climate change for more than 120 developing countries. Holding the presidency of the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), China made every effort to ensure the success of the meeting, taking the lead in funding the establishment of the Kunming Biodiversity Fund and contributing to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Whether dealing with the current crises or creating a better future together, all countries need to unite and cooperate. Faced with profound changes unseen in a century, China has proposed the building of a global community of shared future, calls on all countries to uphold the concept of a shared future, fully communicate and consult with each other, share governance responsibilities, and form broad consensus and take concerted actions to address global issues, so as to inject confidence and momentum into humanity’s drive towards a bright future.

Conclusion

All good principles should adapt to changing times in order to remain relevant. A broad consensus of solidarity and cooperation has developed in the international community behind the proposal and the implementation of the concept of a global community of shared future to address the challenges facing humanity. Looking to the future, it is bound to shine as a pioneering thought with the power of truth that transcends time and space, opening up a beautiful prospect of common development, long-term stability, and sustained prosperity for human society. The future of humanity is bright, but it will not come without effort. Building a global community of shared future is both a salutary vision and a historical process that calls for generations of hard work.

To realize this goal, confidence and determination are of foremost importance. The trend of our times for peace, development and win-win cooperation cannot be halted. Building a global community of shared future is the way forward for all the world’s peoples. However, it is not a goal to be accomplished overnight, and there will be no plain sailing. We need to make unremitting efforts and forge ahead with perseverance. We should never give up on our dreams because of harsh realities; we should never stop pursuing our ideals because they seem out of reach.

To realize this goal, a broad mind and a global vision are central as we live in great times. In the face of common challenges, no person or country can remain isolated. The only response is to work together in harmony and unity. Only by strengthening coordination and cooperation, and ensuring that the interests of the people of every country will be kept in line with those of all others, can all countries move forward towards a global community of shared future.

To realize this goal, a sense of responsibility and a will to act hold the key. The key to success is simple and boils down to action. Building a global community of shared future depends on the joint actions of all countries. All countries should take a sense of responsibility that treats the task as a bound duty, and take concrete actions instead of being bystanders. We should strengthen dialogue, build consensus, promote peace and development, improve governance, and carry out global actions, global responses, and global cooperation.

Our journey ahead will be a lengthy and arduous one. But as long as we press ahead with perseverance, there will be much to expect. Successes and setbacks await us, but hopes abound. When all countries unite in pursuing the cause of common good, plan together, and act together day by day towards the right direction of building a global community of shared future, we can build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and shared prosperity, and jointly create a better future for all of humanity.

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