Forging Ahead on the New Journey toward a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind
– Speech by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang at the Luncheon of the China Development Forum 2023
Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, March 27, 2023
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon. I am delighted to attend the China Development Forum (CDF). As the saying goes, “A good start in spring is essential to a whole year’s success.” Meeting here in Beijing on this beautiful spring day must have given you a chance to feel the dynamism and vitality of China’s development. I met a lot of old friends and established many new contacts in the past two days. They all told me that China is not that different from before the pandemic, and it is still full of vigor and remains committed to reform and opening-up. I believe this impression alone has made their visit worthwhile. China has embarked on a new journey of glory and dreams which belong as much to China as to the world. Here, I wish to address China’s diplomacy: how China sees the world and how it handles its relations with the world.
Ten years ago, facing the profound changes of the world, of our times, and of the historical trajectory, President Xi Jinping put forth the ingenious and important vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, providing the guidance for the thinking and actions of China’s diplomacy.
Over the past ten years, building a community with a shared future for mankind has been turned from a concept into action, and a vision into reality. It has served as a key pillar for world peace and stability and a strong driving force for global development. More and more countries have realized that the future of humanity should be in the hands of all countries, international rules should be written together by all, global affairs should be jointly handled by all, and development benefits should be shared by all. Practices have proved that the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind reflects the common aspiration of the whole world and represents the right direction of human progress.
Ten years on, the world is still not tranquil. We humankind, barely emerging from the pandemic, are confronted again with unprecedented multiple crises and challenges – the faltering economic recovery, a widening development gap, ceaseless hot-spot issues, intensifying geopolitical conflicts, and severe regression in the global development process. There are still over 800 million people living in hunger, 700 million without electricity, 200 million without jobs, and 100 million refugees and displaced. Even more distressingly, some country, in order to maintain its hegemony and out of selfish interests, has been stoking tensions and confrontation along the ideological line, seeking decoupling, disrupting supply chains, erecting high fences around small yards, and even attempting to resurrect the Cold War and tear the world apart.
Faced with these crises, only partnership can save the day. Only solidarity can help us overcome the difficulties. The vision of a community with a shared future for mankind is a clarion call for solidarity, and will pool strength for cooperation and light up the way forward.
The vision of a community with a shared future for mankind provides China’s proposals for addressing the security deficit in the world. In the face of a turbulent international landscape, President Xi put forth the Global Security Initiative (GSI), advocating a new path to security featuring dialogue over confrontation, partnership over alliance and win-win over zero-sum. The GSI embodies the core tenets in the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind. It respects the sovereignty and legitimate security concerns of all countries and the principles of the UN Charter. It opposes the strong bullying the weak, interference in others’ internal affairs, hegemonism and power politics. It endeavors to build a world of lasting peace and common security.
Earlier this month, thanks to the facilitation by China, a historic reconciliation was reached between Saudi Arabia and Iran, setting an example for the efforts of regional countries to resolve disagreements and differences through dialogue and consultation, and realize good neighborliness and friendship. The rapprochement between the two countries might be a small step. But it is a leap in the effort of humanity to rise above conflict and achieve reconciliation.
China recently issued its Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis. At the heart of China’s position is a call for talks to achieve peace and political settlement. Last week, President Xi Jinping paid a successful state visit to Russia. Russia welcomed the constructive propositions in the position paper, and China expressed appreciation over Russia reaffirming its commitment to restarting peace talks as soon as possible. Before the visit, I spoke with the Ukrainian foreign minister on the phone. Ukraine believes that China’s position paper reflects a sincerity for promoting a ceasefire. We are glad to see that the balance of history is tipping, as more and more countries choose to stand for peace, for dialogue, and on the right side of history.
The vision of a community with a shared future for mankind provides a driving force for the world to get out of the development conundrum. Today, the Chinese economy is deeply embedded into the world economy in all areas. China is the main trading partner of over 140 countries and regions, and has contributed over 30 percent of global growth on average for 10 years in a row. Every minute, goods worth 80 million yuan are traded between China and the world; every hour, China makes some 112 million yuan in outbound direct investment; and every day, 3.377 billion yuan worth of foreign investment flows into China. The World Openness Report 2022 shows that through the past 13 years, China’s ranking in the World Openness Index has moved up from the 62nd to the 39th out of 129 major economies of the world.
The vision of a community with a shared future for mankind is about building a world of shared prosperity and promoting common development of all countries through every country’s development. The Chinese economy is stabilizing and picking up with good momentum. In the first two months in 2023, China’s exports hit a record high in year-on-year terms, and paid-in investment rose by 6.1 percent. A number of international institutions have revised up their growth forecasts for China this year. We expect our growth this year to be around 5 percent, significantly higher than other major economies. If we can meet this target, we would contribute one-third of global growth this year. As the dividends of China’s supersize market and domestic demand continue to manifest, new greater opportunities will be created for the recovery and growth of other economies.
I see in today’s audience friends from the United States, Europe and Asia. The China-US relationship is at a low point since the diplomatic ties began. The root cause of this difficult situation is the US perception of China as its primary strategic competitor and most consequential geopolitical challenge, as well as its extensive actions of economic decoupling and technological suppression. Those blocking the path of others will get themselves in a dead end, and containing China’s development will halt the progress of the US and even the world. History stands as proof that China and the US should and can help each other succeed and achieve development together.
Take two factories as an example. The first, Tesla’s gigafactory in Shanghai. A car rolls off the assembly line every 45 seconds. The factory delivered 74,000 cars in February alone, selling more new energy vehicles in China than most automakers. The second is Fuyao Glass America, which I visited during my posting in the US. It is the biggest auto glass manufacturing plant in the world, and has created close to 2,000 direct local jobs and 6,000 supply chain jobs. In these two factories, we don’t see a zero-sum game of “Made in China” vs. “Made in USA”. Instead, through interactions on manufacturing technologies and management philosophies, we see a highlight of mutual learning, mutual benefit and win-win between China and the United States.
The vision of a community with a shared future for mankind offers Chinese wisdom on preventing clash of civilizations. The Chinese realized as early as thousands of years ago that “All living things grow in harmony without harming one another; and all ways run parallel without interfering with one another,” and advocated that “A man pursuing his own success should also help others succeed.” With an inclusive mindset, China always promotes exchanges and mutual learning in this increasingly divided world to break down barriers of prejudice and selfishness. With an open mind, China always draws on the strengths of other civilizations. And with a broad vision for the common good of mankind, China always shares with others its experience in promoting Chinese modernization.
Just weeks ago, President Xi Jinping put forth the Global Civilization Initiative, calling for joint efforts to advocate the respect for the diversity of civilizations, the common values of humanity, the importance of inheritance and innovation of civilizations, and robust international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. The Initiative has further diversified and expanded practical pathways toward a community with a shared future for mankind. It is a strong rebuttal to notions such as superiority of certain civilizations and clash of civilizations. The Initiative serves as an important guide for advancing unity, harmony, mutual respect and mutual understanding among different civilizations.
Democracy is an important value of human civilization. It is not a prerogative of a certain country, there is no one-size-fits-all system or model for democracy, and every country is entitled to choose a development path suited to its national conditions. Hyping up the so-called “democracy vs. authoritarianism” narrative is in itself undemocratic, and will only create division and confrontation in the world.
This year is the first year for fully implementing the guiding principles set out at the 20th CPC National Congress. Earlier this month, China has concluded the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. A new leadership was elected, and plans were made for our various undertakings in 2023. China will keep its policies consistent and its development steady to provide new opportunities and energy for building a community with a shared future for mankind.
China will stay firmly committed to mutual respect, pursue coordination and sound interactions among major countries, and grow friendship and cooperation with all countries. We firmly oppose unilateralism, the Cold War mentality, and all exclusive and bloc-based “small circles”. We will fully implement the Global Security Initiative, and take an active part in the making of global security rules. We will facilitate talks for peace, provide good offices and mediation, offer Chinese solutions to hotspot issues, and work with all sides to put in place a security architecture in the region and around the world that addresses the aspirations and accommodates the interests of all sides.
China will stay firmly committed to win-win cooperation, press ahead with high-quality development and high-standard opening-up, and keep global industrial and supply chains stable and smooth. We will better advance cooperation under the Global Development Initiative to foster the greatest synergy for developing countries to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This year, China will host the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. We will use this opportunity to renew friendship and advance development with Belt and Road partners and to expand and extend this “road to happiness” that benefits the world and humanity.
China will stay firmly committed to fairness and justice, follow the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in global governance, uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, defend the dignity of international law, promote greater democracy in international relations, increase the representation and say of developing countries in the international community, and work for fairer and more equitable global governance. We will also provide more international public goods, and cooperate and coordinate with people of all countries to address global challenges.
China will stay firmly committed to openness and inclusiveness, carry forward humanity’s common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom. We advocate respect for the development paths and social systems chosen independently by people of different countries, reject the imposition of a country’s own values on others, and oppose the so-called superior model of “democracy and freedom” and the self-important “universal values”. We will work with all sides to implement the Global Civilization Initiative, advocate exchanges, communication, inclusiveness and mutual learning among civilizations, and bolster mutual understanding and affinity among people of all countries, to let all flowers bloom in the big garden of world civilizations.
People often say that in a world full of uncertainties, you never know which comes first, tomorrow or accidents. China provides strong certainty for the world with its new development. But if you ask me, what is the future of the world? I’d like to answer by quoting Chinese poet Ai Qing, “Go ask the defrosting land, go ask the thawing river.” The shadow of conflicts and the Cold War will not linger, and the spring of development is blooming. Let us join hands for a shared future, and forge ahead together on the new journey toward a community with a shared future for mankind.
To conclude, let me extend my heartfelt congratulations on a successful CDF, and welcome all friends here today to visit more places in China and more often in the future, to “go ask the defrosting land, and go ask the thawing river.”