|Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi takes questions on China's foreign policies and foreign relations at a press conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 8, 2018. [Xinhua/Li Xin]|
China on Thursday gave outsiders an inside look at how the country intends to tackle diplomacy as its global influence grows.
Taking questions at an annual press event, Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a rough sketch of "major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics," which embodies championing peace, being non-threatening, standing up for the small and weak, and sharing development opportunities.
The two-hour press conference, held on the sidelines of the annual session of the national legislature, is known for explaining China's take on the latest world issues.
Major-country diplomacy rose to prominence under President Xi Jinping's leadership. The concept involves building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for humanity to truly benefit the world.
Xi the Architect
Wang credited Xi as being the chief architect of the major-country diplomacy concept and said the president had been personally involved in planning and conducting "brilliant" head-of-state diplomacy.
Wang said head-of-state diplomacy was the highest form of international exchange and had irreplaceable advantage and strategic value over other forms of diplomacy.
As top leader, Xi has visited 57 countries and received more than 110 foreign heads of state, deepening the world's understanding of China, enhancing China's profile and influence, and helping find solutions to many global problems.
Xi's concept of building a community with a shared future for humanity has received worldwide recognition and plaudits. It was even included in a number of United Nations resolutions.
Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, pointed out the significance of the concept and what it could achieve.
"The notion has enriched the theoretical system of international relations and provided a new, Chinese perspective on how countries get along with one another," he said.
This year, Xi will host four global events in China: the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference in April, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in June, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in September, and the First China International Import Expo in November.
He will also attend the BRICS summit in South Africa, the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Papua New Guinea and the G20 summit in Argentina.
"President Xi's leadership and charisma have earned him and the country many good friends, among foreign leaders who represent a diverse range of cultures and social systems," Wang said.
Big, Not Threatening
This year, Wang met the press at a time the term "sharp power" has been conjured up to invoke concern about the growing influence of China and Russia in the world. On being asked about this term, Wang did not mince his words.
"It is time that the China threat theory was laid to rest," Wang snapped. "Those who do not have bias or practice double standards will see China's development as an opportunity instead of a threat."
He said China's contribution to the global economic growth was bigger than that of the United States, Japan and the euro zone combined, and that China accounted for more than 70 percent of poverty reduction worldwide.
On whether China posed a challenge to the United States, Wang was clear. Brushing off such anxieties, he said China had "no need or intention of replacing the United States" in its international role, and that it was "fundamentally wrong" for anyone to say that China would replace America's role in the world.
Despite some elements of competition, Wang said that China-U.S. ties were defined more by partnership than rivalry.
He also noted the steady improvement in China-Japan relations, calling for mutual trust with India, and saying that the "sky is the limit" for China-Russia cooperation.
There is a hard-won tranquility in the South China Sea. China has strong resolve and deep commitment to maintain peace and stability there, Wang said.
The de-stabilizing factor, Wang noted, comes from outside the region with frequent show of force with fully-armed aircraft and naval vessels.
He said after the "China collapse theory" collapsed, various forms of "China threat theory" were now losing steam.
China's major-country diplomacy is not about dealing only with the developed and the powerful. China is still the world's largest developing country, and it stands up for the weak and small, playing a constructive role in solving regional problems.
Wang pointed out that China today was in a much better position to help resolve various regional and international issues.
On the Korean Peninsula, China's suspension-for-suspension proposal has proven the best way to create the basic conditions for improving the peninsula situation.
Last year, China proposed a three-phase solution to help settle the issue in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Beijing also held a Palestine-Israel peace symposium and a meeting to improve Afghanistan-Pakistan relations.
He said Beijing would respect the wishes and sovereignty of other countries, not meddle in their affairs, nor impose its views on others.
China's major country diplomacy is also about helping the least developed.
Even as it has rapidly developed, China remains a good brother and partner of Africa.
"Africa's concerns are China's concerns. Africa's priorities are China's priorities," Wang said, adding that African countries are welcomed to board China's fast train of development.
This year, a focus of the FOCAC summit will be sharing the opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative.
Into its fifth year, the initiative aims to benefit the world using trade and infrastructure cooperation. More than 80 countries and organizations have signed deals with China.
Wang said the initiative was a transparent one that followed the "golden rule" of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.
"Everything is in the open. There are no backroom deals and every step is transparent," Wang said.
China had been a strong advocate of trade liberalization.
"The more China develops, the more it can contribute to the world," he said.
Envisioning a community of shared future for humanity, Xi has said China is committed to building an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.
William Jones, Washington Bureau chief of the U.S. publication Executive Intelligence Review, said Xi's proposal is an attempt to overcome and replace the traditional notion of "geopolitics", in which there are always "winners" and "losers", and in which the principle of "might makes right" tends to predominate.
"In this new concept, everyone plays a role and the benefits achieved by any one nation can be shared by all," Jones added.
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